Wednesday, May 4, 2011

CRIMES INVOLVING FIREARMS - PENNSYLVANIA

Crimes being committed with firearms has been a hot topic in the news lately but what does it actually mean for someone who has been charged with one of these crimes? 
Prosecutions commonly arise following the arrest on scene for alleged violations of the Pennsylvania Crimes Code which may include crimes involving firearms such as carrying a firearm without a license.  Individuals who are charged with one of these crimes could face serious penalties if found guilty.  This is why it is extremely important that people actually understand crimes they are being accused of. 

Throughout this post, I hope to help the reader (who may or may not be facing criminal charges for allegedly committing a crime with a weapon) better understand how Pennsylvania explains these alleged crimes.

In Pennsylvania, Crimes committed with firearms is listed under:

18 Pa.C.S. § 6103 but what does this actually mean if you're being charged with violating this section? 

  • As indicated under this Section, if any person commits or attempts to commit a crime enumerated in section 6105 (relating to persons not to possess, use, manufacture, control, sell or transfer firearms) when armed with a firearm contrary to the provisions of this sub-chapter, that person may, in addition to the punishment provided for the crime, also be punished as provided by this sub-chapter
Another very common topic that you've been hearing about in the media and throughout the nation is when someone commits a crime with a firearm but they were not allowed to have one in their possession.  So what exactly does this mean if you are accused of this?  This is explained by -
18 Pa.C.S. § 6105 -Persons not to possess, use, manufacture, control, sell or transfer firearms:
(a)(1) A person who has been convicted of an offense enumerated in subsection (b) of this section {see below}, within or without this Commonwealth, regardless of the length of sentence or whose conduct meets the criteria in subsection (c) of this section, shall not possess, use, control, sell, transfer or manufacture or obtain a license to possess, use, control, sell, transfer or manufacture a firearm in this Commonwealth.

(b) Enumerated offenses.--The following offenses shall apply to subsection (a):

Section 908 (relating to prohibited offensive weapons).

Section 911 (relating to corrupt organizations).

Section 912 (relating to possession of weapon on school property).

Section 2502 (relating to murder).

Section 2503 (relating to voluntary manslaughter).

Section 2504 (relating to involuntary manslaughter) if the offense is based on the reckless use of a firearm.

Section 2702 (relating to aggravated assault).

Section 2703 (relating to assault by prisoner).

Section 2704 (relating to assault by life prisoner).

Section 2709.1 (relating to stalking).

Section 2716 (relating to weapons of mass destruction).

Section 2901 (relating to kidnapping).

Section 2902 (relating to unlawful restraint).

Section 2910 (relating to luring a child into a motor vehicle or structure).

Section 3121 (relating to rape).

Section 3123 (relating to involuntary deviate sexual intercourse).

Section 3125 (relating to aggravated indecent assault).

Section 3301 (relating to arson and related offenses).

Section 3302 (relating to causing or risking catastrophe).

Section 3502 (relating to burglary).

Section 3503 (relating to criminal trespass) if the offense is graded a felony of the second degree or higher.

Section 3701 (relating to robbery).

Section 3702 (relating to robbery of motor vehicle).

Section 3921 (relating to theft by unlawful taking or disposition) upon conviction of the second felony offense.

Section 3923 (relating to theft by extortion) when the offense is accompanied by threats of violence.

Section 3925 (relating to receiving stolen property) upon conviction of the second felony offense.

Section 4906 (relating to false reports to law enforcement authorities) if the fictitious report involved the theft of a firearm as provided in section 4906(c)(2).

Section 4912 (relating to impersonating a public servant) if the person is impersonating a law enforcement officer.

Section 4952 (relating to intimidation of witnesses or victims).

Section 4953 (relating to retaliation against witness , victim or party).

Section 5121 (relating to escape).

Section 5122 (relating to weapons or implements for escape).

Section 5501(3) (relating to riot).

Section 5515 (relating to prohibiting of paramilitary training).

Section 5516 (relating to facsimile weapons of mass destruction).

Section 6110.1 (relating to possession of firearm by minor).

Section 6301 (relating to corruption of minors).

Section 6302 (relating to sale or lease of weapons and explosives).


Any offense equivalent to any of the above-enumerated offenses under the prior laws of this Commonwealth or any offense equivalent to any of the above-enumerated offenses under the statutes of any other state or of the United States.

Throughout my many years of representing clients who have been charged with crimes such as the ones mentioned above, I have come to find that most individuals do not understand the rights that they have.  It is very common for a person accused of a crime to start "talking" when they are asked questions in connection with a crime that has occurred.  The best thing to do in a situation like this is to request that your Attorney be present before answering any questions or giving incriminating statements.