Facing a federal gun charge can be a very frightening and overwhelming experience, particularly if this is your first time you have been charged in federal court. Federal authorities take firearms violations seriously, especially in Northwest Indiana, where law enforcement officials commit staggering resources to try to stop the flow of firearms from Indiana to Chicago street gangs. Federal gun laws carry tough sentences and are among some of the most complex federal laws. Violations are aggressively prosecuted and potential offenders are investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), often in tandem with the FBI or DEA, local law enforcement, and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). A Lake County gun lawyer can help defend you against these types of charges.
The Stracci Law Group is committed to representing individuals accused of firearm violations throughout Northwest Indiana. Our criminal defense lawyers in Lake County will create a strategic legal defense that will reduce or possibly eliminate the charges you are faced with. When you need superior legal representation, we are there for you. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.
What Happens When You Are Charged With a Gun Violation in Indiana?
Whether you are charged with selling an illegal firearm, using a firearm during the commission of a crime, or are convicted of a federal firearms offense, your life may never be the same. The federal government generally seeks maximum penalties in these types of cases. Additionally, if you used a firearm in the commission of a violent crime or drug trafficking, your punishment can be significantly enhanced. At this point, you probably don’t know what you should do and are likely to have many questions about the charges you are facing, such as:
- What happens if the gun is not mine but was in my house or car?
- How do you get out of jail? Can I get a bond?
- How likely is it that I will be convicted?
Oftentimes individuals can face false accusations or may have their constitutional rights violated as a result of an illegal search and seizure in connection with a gun-related offense. The Stracci Law Group has successfully defended clients charged with all types of federal gun law violations. If you have been accused of using another person to buy a gun for you, buying a gun for someone who could not do so on their own, sold or manufactured firearms without a license, been caught with a gun when you were prohibited from possessing a firearm under federal law, or have been charged with any other federal gun offense, an experienced Lake County gun lawyer at our firm will work to resolve your case as quickly as possible.
Our lawyers will protect you from overreaching and unconstitutional law enforcement practices. We will evaluate your case from every angle to determine whether the police followed proper procedures. Should we discover that the evidence against you was illegally obtained, we will fight to have it suppressed at trial, and in some cases, we may even be able to get your charges dismissed.
Understanding the Charges Against You
Federal gun laws are complex, and it is very common for individuals to be confused about the charges they are facing. If you have been arrested for a gun law violation, our firm will make certain that you understand the charges and the potential penalties and fines that you may be subject to if you are convicted. Our firm represents clients in all types of federal gun crime cases, with some of the more common offenses we defend against including:
- Straw Purchase of Firearms (18 U.S.C. §§922(a)(6), 924(a)(1)(A)). A straw purchase takes place when the actual buyer of a firearm uses another person (a “straw purchaser”) to buy firearms from a federally licensed firearms dealer. Typically in these cases, the actual buyer is prohibited under federal law from purchasing firearms and uses a "straw purchaser" to fill out federal forms and buy single or multiple guns for the actual buyer. The actual buyer may be a convicted felon, fugitive, illegal alien, or fall into another class of persons prohibited from possessing a firearm. Review the 924(c) mandatory minimum chart.
- Possession of a Firearm by a Prohibited Person ((18 U.S.C. §§922(g)). Federal gun laws prohibit certain classes of people from possessing or receiving a gun. For instance, under federal law, a convicted felon may not possess or receive a firearm. Also prohibited are fugitives from justice, illegal users of or those addicted to any controlled substance, anyone adjudicated as a mental defective or committed to a mental institution, illegal aliens, dishonorably discharged veterans, people who have renounced their United States citizenship, anyone convicted of a misdemeanor or felony domestic violence offense, and individuals restrained by a court order. It is also a federal crime to knowingly sell or give a firearm to any individual who falls within one of the prohibited classes.
- Possession of a Stolen Firearm (18 U.S.C. §§922(i)-(j). It is illegal under federal law to receive, possess, conceal, store, barter, sell, pledge, accept as security for a loan or transport across a state line any stolen firearm or explosive material.
- Using Firearms to Commit Federal Crimes, 18 U.S.C. §924(c).
The penalties for federal gun law violations depend on the specific offense(s) you are charged with. Some firearms offenses, like those involving straw purchases and prohibited persons, typically carry no minimum penalty and a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment. Federal firearm penalties greatly increase when a gun is used in connection with another federal crime or if an offender has prior convictions involving violent crimes or serious drug offenses.
If you are charged with possessing or using a firearm while committing a crime of violence or a drug trafficking crime, mandatory prison terms come into play. If a firearm is possessed during the commission of a crime of violence or drug trafficking crime, the minimum prison sentence is 5 years - if brandished, the minimum term is 7 years - and if discharged, the minimum term is 10 years. There are also mandatory minimum sentences of 25 years for each subsequent conviction. In these types of situations, the sentence for the gun enhancement runs consecutively to the underlying violent crimes or drug trafficking crime.
- The Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA), 18 U.S.C. §924(e):
Persons convicted of prohibited person offenses under 18 U.S.C. §922(g) who have a prior violent felony or serious drug convictions may also face enhanced penalties. The ACCA mandates a minimum 15-year prison sentence for anyone convicted of a 922(g) offense who already has three previous convictions for either a violent felony, a serious drug offense, or both. Review the 924(e) chart.
The Stracci Law Group also defends clients charged with state gun law violations as well as less common federal gun offenses, including:
- Importing, producing, or conducting firearm transactions without a valid license
- Transporting of certain destructive devices,
- Delivering, transporting, or accepting firearms with serial numbers that have been removed, altered, or destroyed
- Possessing or discharging a firearm in a school zone
- Selling, delivering, or transferring a firearm to a juvenile
- Knowingly possessing or manufacturing illegal firearms and weapons, such as fully automatic firearms, sawed-off shotguns, and rifles of certain barrel or overall lengths
Prepared to Handle High-Profile Cases
The Stracci Law Group has significant experience defending law enforcement officials and others charged in high profile gun cases - all the way from federal charges against law enforcement officers alleging abuse of regulatory laws to obtain and sell firearm parts and restricted laser sites to state court charges alleging a Chief Deputy Sheriff stole weapons from his department. We also regularly represent everyday people struggling to understand and defend themselves against dizzyingly vast and complex gun laws.
No matter what your position may be or the type of gun offense you have been accused of, the Stracci Law Group is fully prepared to help you fight the charges you are facing. We understand how the government investigates and prosecutes federal gun offenses and know what tactics to use to build a solid and persuasive defense. Our team will walk you through your charges and keep you fully informed every step of the way. We will answer your questions and explain complex legal proceedings so that you have the information you need to make sound and informed decisions about your case and your future.
Contact an Experienced Lake County Gun Lawyer Now
If you have been charged with a federal firearms violation, you should speak with a Lake County gun lawyer as soon as possible. The Stracci Law Group is comprised of experienced criminal defense attorneys in Northwest Indiana who know how to build the right defense in federal gun cases. Police officers, judges, and other public officials choose our firm when they or the people they care about the most are facing high-stakes criminal charges. We are a dedicated team of legal professionals who will do everything we can to make the legal process as easy and pain-free as possible for you. Our lawyers will address your concerns and keep you completely informed at every stage of your case. We provide free, thorough, and confidential consultations – reach out to the Stracci Law Group today at (219) 525-1000 or contact us online.