Maine Criminal Defense Lawyer Discusses Firearm Charges

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Maine Firearm Defense Lawyer

A firearm charge may be brought by either state or federal prosecutors depending on seriousness of the allegations or what investigative agency handled the investigation. Maine statutes contain both misdemeanor and felony firearm provisions and ultimately the prosecutor will determine whether you will face state or federal charges.

Unlawful Possession of a Firearm Charge

Under Maine’s statutes, specifically Title 15, §393 there are rules governing who may legally possess a firearm. Some prohibited persons include those who have been found guilty of domestic violence, residents who have been dishonorably discharged from the military, and convicted felons.

It is important to keep in mind that this statute also has rules pertaining to ownership of a firearm by persons who may have been convicted of certain crimes as a juvenile.  Simply because a criminal record has been sealed because of a defendants age does not automatically mean they will be legally able to own or possess a firearm.

Those who are charged with unlawful possession of a firearm may face misdemeanor or felony charges depending on how they are classified. This means a possible jail sentence of up to five years and substantial fines. It is imperative that anyone facing an unlawful possession charge work with an experienced Maine criminal defense attorney.

Concealed Carry Rules in Maine

Maine permits residents, and non-residents, who are duly authorized to own or possess a firearm, to carry a concealed weapon without a permit. There are specific requirements including age and the type of weapon.  There are also restrictions on where you may carry a firearm on your person. Some of the prohibited locations include schools, bars and Acadia National Park. All persons who are carrying a concealed weapon must inform any law enforcement professional they encounter that they have a weapon in their possession.

Concealed carry applies only to handguns. If you are in violation of any concealed carry rules in Maine, you need to contact a criminal defense attorney immediately. Firearms charges are serious, and should not be taken lightly. Your future ability to own a firearm or carry a concealed weapon may depend on a successful defense.

Firearms and Domestic Violence

Anyone who has been convicted of domestic abuse/violence crime in Maine, or in another state may face federal charges if they are found in possession of a firearm. Maine residents who have such a conviction are not legally allowed to own a firearm. Additionally, anyone who has a restraining order placed against them for domestic violence may not possess a firearm.  Surrender is voluntary but if you are found in possession of a weapon, concealed or not, you could face felony weapons charges under both state and federal law.

Under federal statutes anyone who is convicted of a ” misdemeanor crime of domestic violence”  or a felony may not own or possess a firearm.  Anyone so convicted who possesses a firearm could  face very serious federal charges.  Although certain Maine statutes appear to permit the possession of firearms 5 years from the date of certain convictions,  there is no such exception under federal law which trumps the potential relief provided by the state.

Firearms Possession and Other Charges

The  accidental discharge of a firearm that results in injury to another may  result in your facing criminal charges if it alleged that the discharge was due to negligence or recklessness .  Threatening a person with a firearm will in most cases result in a charge of criminal threatening since the evidence need only demonstrate that the alleged victim was in fear of suffering bodily injury.

Discharging a weapon in a residential or commercial area may also result in  criminal charges. In fact, any discharge of a weapon on or near private property, whether residential or commercial may  result in criminal prosecution. The relevant statute states that discharging a firearm within “100 yards of a building or residential dwelling” without the permission of the property owner is a Class E crime. While this class of crime is a misdemeanor, it may effect your ability to own or possess  a firearm in the future.

Aggressive Firearms Defense

Firearm charges are very serious and require the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney who will mount an aggressive defense. Convictions of such charges have  devastating consequences including substantial jail time and steep fines. A guilty verdict may also impact your ability to own a firearm for the rest of your life.

Maine Firearm Defense Attorney

An experienced defense attorney is your best option when you are facing firearm charges. An attorney who is well versed in both federal and Maine statues is most capable of mounting a successful defense.

If you are facing a firearms charge in Maine, particularly in the Portland area, contact the Law Office of Richard Berne immediately. Your freedom and your future are at stake. The sooner we become involved in your defense, the more likely you are to have a satisfactory outcome.