April 15, 2013
For many of my clients, the most alarming consequence of any criminal conviction is the loss of the right to possess firearms. There are many misconceptions regarding the rights of convicted criminals to own or carry guns. It is important for anyone charged with a crime to understand the consequences of a conviction. Both Federal and Pennsylvania law impose lifetime bans on the ownership of firearms by defendants convicted of certain offenses.
Federal law prohibits anyone convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year to possess a firearm. In Pennsylvania, such crimes include all felonies plus misdemeanors of the first and second degree. Furthermore, anyone who has been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence -- regardless of the potential penalty -- is prohibited from possessing a firearm. The punishment for violating this law is up to ten years in federal prison.
In addition to the federal statute, Pennsylvania law also prohibits possession of firearms in a number of circumstances, including, but not limited to the following:
- People convicted of a crime under the Pennsylvania Controlled Substances Act punishable by more than two years;
- People convicted of three or more DUIs in a five-year period may not own guns;
- People convicted of the following offenses:
- 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).
Criminal convictions can follow you for the rest of your life. Don't be caught unaware by the ramifications of your conviction. Before you go to court, make sure that you contact Kope & Associates to speak with an experinced criminal defense attorney.
March 1, 2012
Generally, police may ask you to identify yourself or question you briefly without arresting you. They may also issue a citation to you for a summary offense (such as a moving violation or minor non-traffic offense such as public drunkenness). If an officer takes you into custody or otherwise deprives you of your freedom, informs you of your rights or tells that you are under arrest and/or indicates that you are being held for a crime, you have been arrested.
While it is true that you are not required to talk to the police if you are not under arrest, it is a crime to resist arrest by the police. The officer may use reasonable force if necessary to make the arrest. As such, you should not resist an officer arresting you or interfere in the arrest of another person. Once arrested, you should refuse to speak with the police until consulting an attorney. In addition, if you think your rights are being violated, remember exactly what is being done and consult an attorney about it as soon as possible.