The Real Effects Of A Weapons Charge In North Carolina
While the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution does offer citizens the right to bear arms, some people are prohibited from carrying or owning a firearm. If you are undocumented or a convicted felon or have a restraining order or domestic violence charge against you, you cannot possess a gun. Weapons charges are serious and carry severe penalties which can include 15 years to life in prison. Most weapons charges are felonies. Convicted felons have a harder time getting a job and securing housing, and they cannot qualify for many types of federal aid.
At Vavonese Law Firm, PC, we handle gun and weapons charges in North Carolina and federal courts. If you are facing a weapons charge, it is in your best interest now and in the long run to immediately speak with a North Carolina criminal defense attorney. Call 919-891-8832 to speak with attorney Jamie Vavonese. Do not leave your case to chance.
Common Types Of Weapon Charges
Possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime in violation of 18 USC 924 (c): In federal court drug and gun charges often go hand in hand. A 924 (c) violation has serious consequences and penalties including a requirement of a consecutive, mandatory minimum sentence ranging from 5 years in prison to life in prison.
Possession of a firearm by a prohibited person in violation of 18 USC §922 (g): Possessing a firearm after having been deemed a prohibited person is one of the most common charges in federal court. There are a number of reasons that a person may be prohibited from possessing a firearm, including having been convicted of a felony, being a fugitive from justice, being addicted to drugs, having a mental defect, or being subject to a domestic violence protective order or convicted of an act of domestic violence. The penalties for this federal gun charge range from zero to ten years in prison.
Possession of an unlicensed firearm: All guns must be registered in North Carolina. This includes guns that were purchased in private sales. It is the responsibility of the gun owner to make sure their firearm is registered. Failure to do so can result in criminal charges. Speaking of private sales, removing the serial number of a gun is a Class H felony punishable by up to 20 months in prison.
Violations of local gun laws: While open carry is legal in much of North Carolina, there may be local jurisdictions with stricter laws surrounding gun ownership, possession and carry. For example, it is unlawful to open carry in the city of Chapel Hill, and it is illegal to have a gun visible near a school (see Possessing a weapon on any school property below for more information).
Carrying a concealed weapon: In North Carolina, you must have a permit to carry a concealed weapon. This includes stun guns, brass knuckles and bowie knives. You must have a North Carolina Concealed Handgun Permit to carry a concealed firearm. In order to qualify for a permit, you must be at least 21 years old, meet all federal requirements for gun ownership, complete an 8-hour training course and be a U.S. citizen, among other requirements. A conviction can mean 30 days to six months in jail or longer if this is not the first conviction. Carrying a concealed weapon without a proper permit is a Class 2 misdemeanor punishable by 30 days to 6 months in jail. If this is your second offense and the weapon in question is a firearm, the charge is elevated to a Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail.
Buying or possessing a gun while under a 50B restraining order: A protective order can temporarily suspend your right to possess a firearm. Buying or possessing a firearm during such circumstances is a Class H felony that can result in a punishment of up to 20 months in prison.
Possessing a weapon on any school property: The charges for this range from a Class 1 misdemeanor to a Class 1 felony, with prison time. School property means elementary schools to colleges and can mean on the campus, in a building or at an event.
Carrying weapons into establishments where alcohol is sold: It is illegal in North Carolina to carry a firearm into a place that charges for admission (e.g., concerts, live performances at bars or outdoors, and other events) or any establishment where alcohol is being consumed and sold. If you are accused of carrying a concealed weapon into an establishment where alcohol is sold, you could be facing a Class 1 misdemeanor and up to one year in jail.
Other state and federal weapons offenses and gun charges include, but are not limited to:
- Illegal sale or purchase of a gun or gun trafficking
- Possession of a firearm in relation to a drug trafficking crime or crime of violence
- Possession of prohibited firearms such as machine guns or short-barreled rifles or shotguns
- “Straw purchases” of firearms – using someone else to buy a gun
Weapons charges and convictions can leave a permanent stain on your record. Call Vavonese Law Firm, PC, for a free meeting with an attorney who can help you best protect your future.
The Help You Need For A Better Future
As the founder of Vavonese Law Firm, PC, in Raleigh, attorney Jamie Vavonese is skilled in working with clients who have been accused of a weapons offense in both state and federal courts. Jamie will work with you to help you understand your rights, to help you understand the charges against you and to build a strong defense for your case. Give yourself the chance at a brighter future. Call 919-891-8832 or send a confidential email to Jamie at the firm. Jamie serves clients facing gun law violations throughout Raleigh-Durham and central and eastern North Carolina.