Refuting Evidence in a DC Gun Case

Every DC gun statute has something different about evidence in a case and any defense attorney who wants to successfully defend a gun charge in the District of Columbia must know exactly what elements of evidence the government must establish and how to challenge them.

A distinguished DC gun lawyer will be by your side if you are refuting evidence in a DC gun case. A gun lawyer will have an understanding of local laws and the understanding that not every firearm defense is the same.

Determining Gun Offenses

The police report identifies which officers are involved and their claims about what they did, observed, and found in their investigations and in their interaction with the person who was arrested. Other gun charges have different requirements. For example, someone may be charged with the unlawful possession of a firearm and is alleged to have a prior conviction where the penalty exceeded one year.

By definition of felony, they have a penalty that exceeds one year versus when it is caught in their possession. If the government proceeds with that specific felony gun charge against a person in a DC case; the government must prove that the person has the criminal conviction before the current firearm charge. It is easier for the government to do so when the conviction is recent and in one of the nearby jurisdictions.

Establishing Evidence to Build a Defense

There are sometimes avenues for the defense for gun charges to challenge their information. However, there are firearm cases where the government brings the charge and the prior offense is 10 years ago in another state. When refuting evidence in a DC gun case, it is important to acknowledge that the government must procure the correct records that establish the prior offense occurred and was tied to this specific person. There are sometimes avenues for the defense to refute the evidence.

The government in DC does not have to provide the identifying information of witnesses in most instances. That includes the name, address, and telephone number for the witnesses. When witnesses are called at trial or if they testified before a grand jury in a felony case, the defense lawyer can expect to receive that information before the trial starts.

The government’s case must establish that the person knowingly possessed the firearm as an initial basis to proceed with a firearms charge against the person. The defense attorney examines the government’s evidence that establishes the person possessed the firearm. That can be actual gun possession on their person or constructive possession, meaning in the car, the backseat, on the ground, in their backpack, or in their home.

Refuting Possession

Mere presence next to a firearm does not establish that a person had possession of it. A defense attorney may try to determine what evidence the government has that theoretically establishes possession to challenge that evidence. This is the first step towards refuting evidence in a DC gun case/ The attorney can determine whether there are witnesses to the possession and whether the police and alleged witnesses saw or heard what is being claimed. The defense attorney wants to verify that they were in a position to make a determination as to possession.

Challenging Evidence

Possession is the number one area of the prosecutor’s evidence that is called into question. If there is not truly a firearm, that is challenged based on the definition of firearm in the statutes. Depending on the specific charge, there are other elements that must be challenged. Someone is alleged to have a rifle in their home and is charged with possession of an unregistered firearm. If it is a misdemeanor, the government must prove that the rifle was unregistered.

That is not a difficult process because the Metropolitan Police Department in the District of Columbia maintains the records. Nonetheless, the government must prove the gun is not registered. A defense attorney can challenge the foundation for bringing in any records to refute evidence that is coming in.