Building a Defense for DC Gun Cases

Anytime someone is charged with a criminal offense, they need to hire a DC gun attorney to start building a defense for their DC gun case. There are numerous different gun crimes in DC that require knowledge of a number of strategies for defending the gun charges.

There is the possibility of having a much better outcome when negotiating with the prosecution depending on the tactics and strategies used in litigating the case. When a person is charged with a gun offense, it is critical that they seek qualified counsel as early as possible.

Proving Gun Offenses

When the government alleges that a person possessed and/or used a gun in a commission of an offense, the prosecution must prove that the person possessed the gun knowingly and/or intentionally possessed or used that gun.

During the course of police investigations or conduct on the street, the police sometimes encounter a firearm in a car or lying on the ground. They must establish who specifically possessed the gun, knew it was there, and intended to have control over it even when the gun is not physically on their person.

It is much easier for a prosecutor to prove possession if a firearm is found directly on a person. However, that is usually not the case. The government must prove that the person possessed the firearm and knowledge of possession.

Knowledgeable Possession Without Registration Defense

In any case, the government must show that the individual knowingly possessed the gun and did not register it in the District of Columbia and therefore, they were not allowed to possess it. If the person did not realize there was a gun nearby, they cannot be convicted of knowingly possessing the gun in the District of Columbia. For example, if someone accidentally brings a firearm that is completely legal in Virginia into the District of Columbia but did not realize they brought it into DC, it can be a powerful DC gun defense.

Different types of gun offenses require different types of evidence. For example, when someone is charged specifically with carrying a pistol outside of the home or business, the government must prove that the individual was knowingly in possession of that pistol.

When someone is charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm in the District of Columbia, the government must prove not just the knowing and possession of the gun, but also that the individual was previously convicted of a crime where the punishment exceeded one year so that they were not allowed to have a firearm. Building a defense for DC gun cases around this aspect of the gun charge may depend on contacting a local gun lawyer.

Definition of a Firearm Defense

The District of Columbia defines a firearm as any weapon designed to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive. The gun does not have to be in operable condition if it was designed and made or has been turned into something that can expel a projectile, commonly known as a bullet or a cartridge, by the action of an explosive.

An important portion of building a defense for DC gun cases is having an understanding of the definition of a firearm. While this is a very broad definition, it does capture guns such as pistols, revolvers, shotguns, and rifles. Each of these is a weapon designed to expel a bullet by the action of an explosive, meaning gun powder.

If there is a possibility that the item in question was not actually designed and cannot expel a projectile by the action of an explosive, it would not necessarily meet the definition of a firearm. That can be and should be looked at in any kind of a gun case. It is rare for a prosecution of a gun case to proceed when the item in question is not a gun. In a situation where the item is not a firearm, it may be some type of weapon, but it would not be a gun charge.

Diversion Agreement Defenses

Building a defense for DC gun cases may involve the use of diversion agreement defenses. There are different types of diversion agreements. In general, a diversion agreement is when a person performs community service, completes some other programs or steps, and stays out of trouble with the law for a length of time such that the prosecution is satisfied. This indicates the person learned their lesson and gave back to the community which allows them to walk away from the case with no conviction.

Until very recently, diversion agreements were not an option in a gun case. It is still not an option in felony gun cases that are prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office. However, for misdemeanor gun cases prosecuted by the Office of the Attorney General of DC, in certain circumstances, the prosecutors have recently been willing to consider offering a diversion agreement instead of seeking a conviction.