Federal Firearms Offenses
If you are facing federal firearms charges, hiring a skilled and experienced defense attorney can be the difference between a favorable outcome and a devastating one. Josh Kolsrud can help you understand your charges, build a strong defense, negotiate with the prosecution, and protect your rights in court.
During Josh’s 14 years as a state, international, and federal prosecutor, he tried over 100 cases to verdict. As an Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA), Josh handled 3,528 cases, and many including federal firearms charges. Josh and his team will work tirelessly to defend your rights and protect your interests throughout the legal process. We have a deep understanding of federal laws and can provide the expert guidance you need to build a strong defense and achieve the best possible outcome in your case.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help you.
What are Federal Firearms Charges under 18 USC 924?
18 USC 924 is a federal law that sets forth various firearms offenses. The law establishes criminal penalties for individuals who engage in the illegal use, possession, or transfer of firearms.
These offenses include the following:
Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon
It is illegal for anyone who has been convicted of a felony to possess a firearm. This prohibition extends to firearms owned by another person but in the convicted felon's possession.
Under U.S.C. Title 18, Section 922(g)(1), it's unlawful for anyone convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year to possess any firearm or ammunition.
The ramifications of this offense can be severe. Federal law prescribes a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. However, under the Armed Career Criminal Act, if a felon has three or more convictions for violent felonies or serious drug offenses, the penalty increases to a minimum of 15 years to life in prison.
Possession of a Firearm by an Illegal Alien
It is illegal for anyone, not a citizen or legal resident of the United States to possess a firearm.
U.S.C. Title 18, Section 922(g)(5) prohibits an illegal or unlawful alien from possessing any firearm or ammunition. The enforcement of this law is stringent, with the potential penalty upon conviction being a hefty fine and/or imprisonment of up to 10 years.
Arizona state law, too, is clear about prohibiting firearm possession by non-U.S. citizens who don't possess appropriate immigration documentation. As stated in ARS 13-3101(A)(7)(b), aliens unlawfully present in the United States don't have the right to possess a firearm.
Possession of a Firearm in a Federal Facility
It is illegal to possess a firearm in a federal facility, such as a courthouse, prison, or post office.
U.S.C. Title 18, Section 930 prohibits the possession of firearms in federal facilities, with very limited exceptions. A violation of this section is a felony punishable by up to one year in prison or up to five years if the possession was intended to be used in the commission of a crime.
The law further extends the prohibition to public establishments and events in Arizona, as specified under ARS 13-3102(A)(10).
Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Crime of Violence or Drug Trafficking Offense
It is illegal to possess a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence or drug trafficking offense.
Under the U.S.C. Title 18, Section 924(c), a defendant who carries a firearm during a violent or drug trafficking crime faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years in addition to the punishment for the underlying crime. The minimum prison sentence is 7 years if the firearm is displayed threateningly. Furthermore, if the firearm is fired, the minimum imprisonment term increases to not less than 10 years.
Unlawful Transfer of a Firearm
It is illegal to transfer a firearm to someone not legally permitted to possess it.
According to U.S.C. Title 18, Section 922(a)(1)(A), engaging in the business of dealing firearms without a license is a federal offense. The punishment for such an act can be severe, including a fine, imprisonment up to five years, or both.
Arizona's laws also consider the unlawful sale or transfer of firearms a serious offense. ARS 13-3102(A)(9) stipulates that selling or giving a firearm to a person prohibited by law from possessing one is an act of misconduct involving weapons.
Unlawful Receipt of a Firearm
It is illegal to receive a firearm from someone not legally permitted to possess it.
In the federal context, U.S.C. Title 18, Section 922(a)(3) prohibits anyone (except a licensed dealer) from receiving a firearm brought into their state by another person. Violation of this law can lead to imprisonment of up to five years.
Possession of a Firearm with an Obliterated Serial Number
It is illegal to possess a firearm with an obliterated serial number.
U.S.C. Title 18, Section 922(k) makes it unlawful for any person knowingly to possess a firearm with the serial number removed, obliterated, or altered. This federal offense can be punished by a fine, imprisonment up to five years, or both.
Under Arizona law, possessing a defaced firearm is also a criminal offense. ARS 13-3102(A)(4) holds that a person commits misconduct involving weapons by possessing a defaced deadly weapon knowing it was defaced.
Possible Federal Firearms Penalties
The penalties for violating 18 USC 924 can be severe. The exact penalty will depend on the specific offense, the offender's criminal history, and other factors. Some of the penalties that can be imposed for violating 18 USC 924 include:
Depending on the offense, an offender can face a sentence of up to 10 years in federal prison.
Offenders can also be fined up to $250,000 for each offense.
In addition to imprisonment and fines, offenders can have their firearms and other assets seized by the government.
Defending Against Federal Firearms Charges
When confronted with federal firearms charges, the assistance of an expert federal criminal defense attorney becomes crucial.
The Kolsrud Law Office prides itself on effectively managing such cases. Our legal team, with an extensive understanding of both Arizona and federal laws, designs a defense strategy tailored to the specifics of your case.
A few of the strategies we employ include:
Challenging the Prosecution's Evidence
It's not uncommon for evidence in firearm cases to be challenged. Our attorneys critically examine the evidence for any procedural errors, possible contamination, or credibility issues. For instance, if a firearm was found in a shared property, we might argue that it doesn't necessarily belong to the accused.
Questioning the Legality of the Search or Arrest
We scrutinize the circumstances of the arrest or search to ensure that your constitutional rights were not violated. For example, if a law enforcement officer discovered a firearm during a search without a valid warrant, we could argue that the evidence obtained infringes upon your Fourth Amendment rights.
Negotiating Plea Bargains
When appropriate, we negotiate plea bargains to reduce potential penalties. This could involve pleading guilty to a lesser charge to avoid a more serious charge. For instance, you might accept a plea deal for a misdemeanor offense to avoid a potential felony conviction.
Additionally, according to Arizona Revised Statute ARS 13-205, the onus is on the prosecution to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.
Hence, part of our defense strategy often involves:
Casting Doubt on the Prosecution's Case
We diligently work to highlight inconsistencies in the prosecution's case or illustrate that critical elements of the offense can't be definitively proven. For example, if you are accused of possessing a firearm as a convicted felon, we could challenge the validity of the prior felony conviction.
Speak to a Federal Firearms Defense Attorney
If you or someone you know is facing charges for violating 18 USC 924, it is crucial to seek the advice and guidance of an experienced federal criminal defense attorney. They can help you understand your legal rights and options, build a strong defense strategy, and work to minimize the potential consequences of a conviction.
At our law firm, we have a proven track record of successfully defending clients against firearms offenses and other federal criminal charges. We understand the complexities of federal law and have the experience and resources needed to protect our clients' rights and interests.
If you are facing charges for violating 18 USC 924 or any other federal crime, contact us today to schedule a free consultation. We are ready to provide the legal guidance and representation you need to navigate the federal criminal justice system and achieve the best possible outcome in your case.
Contact us today to schedule
A FREE CONSULTANT and learn more
about how we can help you.
An award-winning criminal defense attorney Since 2006
Why Choose Josh Kolsrud
With over 100 trials to his name, and years of experience as a state and federal prosecutor, Josh understands the law, the legal process, and your rights. Josh is also committed to representing every client with utmost integrity and dedication
Josh has prosecuted major crimes on the state and federal level, led a successful anti-human sex trafficking operation that saved lives, and argued before countless juries and justices for his clients
Josh is an expert in both Arizona and federal criminal law, and is ready to put that expertise to work for you.
As a prosecutor, Josh saw far too many defendants lose their livelihood due to poor representation. Josh will always give every client his complete attention and effort