Prosecution of Gun Crimes in DC

If a firearm is recovered in a DC gun case, the prosecution must prove it is a firearm and that the person knowingly possessed that firearm. For example, when someone is charged with the felony possession statute, the government must prove that there is a prior conviction that triggers the statute. In short, the government must prove every single element of the specific gun statute, the specific criminal statute they are charging in the gun case.

If you are facing gun charges in DC, a skilled gun possession lawyer can assist you in the preparation of your defense. A DC gun lawyer can clarify what other elements of the gun case, the government would need to prove.

Prosecutors Office

Felony gun cases are handled by the United States Attorney’s Office or federal prosecutors. In general, federal prosecutors are more skilled and more experienced compared to a prosecutor of the same experience level or age at some other agency.

Securing a position with the United States Attorney’s Office is highly sought after by many attorneys. The competition is high so the attorneys working gun cases for the United States Attorney’s Office are skilled, bright, and dedicated.

Some gun cases are handled by the Office of the Attorney General in DC. Those are gun cases that involve only misdemeanor charges like possession of an unregistered firearm such as a rifle that was unregistered and found in a home or possession of unregistered ammunition. Unlawful possession of ammunition in DC gun cases is prosecuted by the Office of the Attorney General.

Contested Issues

There are certain elements that are always contested in any gun case. The possession and, more specifically, the knowing possession of the firearm is by far the most hotly contested issue in any gun case. The vast majority of gun cases do not involve the gun being found on the body of a person. It is found in their car, on the ground, in a home, in a backpack, or on a car seat.

The issue of whether someone knew the gun was there and intended to possess that gun is always contested. That includes whether the person actually possessed the gun or constructively possessed, meaning it was somewhere else but they intended to exercise dominion and control over the gun. In a gun case the government must prove that beyond a reasonable doubt and in every gun case, it is an issue that is carefully examined.

Presenting Evidence of Gun Possession

Because the vast majority of gun cases do not involve someone possessing a gun literally on their person, the government must present evidence to establish that the person knowingly possessed the gun. In a gun case, that could be in the form of circumstantial evidence such as where the gun was located in relation to the person and perhaps the fact that there were no other law enforcement or individuals in the area. By process of elimination, the prosecution could try to prove that the gun was not present before the person was found at that location. The person must have dropped it there.

If the gun is found in a car or on the trunk of the car, the prosecution may try to establish that the car belonged to the person. They might establish through witness testimony during the gun case that the person borrowed the car or was using it from someone else and that someone else did not have a gun on them. Gun case prosecutors bring in whatever they need to establish that the specific individual knowingly possessed the firearm even though it was not found on their person.

Lawful Possession of a Firearm in DC