In Georgia, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon or first-time offender on probation is a serious crime. Many people are unaware that this crime carries such harsh and life-altering penalties. Defendants with a felony conviction cannot receive, possess, or transport a firearm. The simple act of possessing a firearm can result in a conviction that carries a prison sentence between one and five years. When defendants use a firearm or knife in the commission of a felony, they face even harsher penalties.
If you or your loved one are facing a possession of a firearm charge in Georgia, you need an experienced lawyer on your side. The Atlanta criminal defense lawyers at Carter/Pilgrim have significant experience defending clients against gun possession charges. We use our negotiation and courtroom skills to achieve the best possible outcome. Contact us today to learn how we can fight for your rights.
Possession of a Firearm While on Probation in Georgia
A person on probation after being convicted of a felony cannot receive, possess, or transport any firearm under Georgia law. Purchasing a firearm, receiving a firearm as a gift, or simply possessing a friend’s firearm are all illegal acts for convicted felons. Defendants convicted of possessing a firearm while on probation will serve a prison sentence between one and ten years. Second or multiple convictions of this crime carry a five- to ten-year prison sentence.
Attempting to Purchase a Firearm After Conviction of a Forcible Felony
Attempting to obtain or purchase a firearm after being convicted of a forcible felony is a felony-level crime. Forcible felonies include any felony-level crime that involves using or threatening to use violence or physical force against another person. Forcible felonies include the following types of violent crimes:
- Robbery and armed robbery
- Home invasion
- Aggravated child molestation
- Aggravated stalking
- Aggravated sexual battery
- Arson in the first degree
The penalty of attempting to obtain a firearm after committing a forcible felony is a prison sentence between one and five years. Second or subsequent convictions for this crime result in a five- to ten-year prison sentence. The following people are prohibited from attempting to obtain or purchase a firearm:
- A defendant who has been convicted of a forcible felony
- A defendant who is on probation as a first offender of a forcible felony
- A defendant who is under conditional discharge for a forcible felony
When Can a Convicted Felon Legally Possess a Firearm in Georgia?
If you are unsure whether you can legally purchase or possess a firearm, it’s best to speak to an experienced lawyer about your case. There are a few exceptions that allow convicted felons to possess a firearm in Georgia. If you’ve received a pardon for your felony, you may possess a firearm legally.
Additionally, those defendants convicted of specific white-collar felonies can submit an application showing that their record and reputation are in such good standing that possessing a firearm wouldn’t present a safety threat to Georgia citizens. This exception applies to criminal convictions for antitrust violations, unfair trade practices, and restraint of trade practices.
Penalties for Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon or First-Time Offender on Probation
The penalty for possession of a firearm or knife during the commission of or attempt to commit certain crimes includes a five-year prison sentence. Second convictions carry a ten-year prison sentence that cannot be replaced by probation or suspended by the court.
The defendant will also undergo sentencing for the underlying crime he or she committed, as the underlying crime is a separate offense. Suppose the defendant commits a robbery while in possession of a firearm. In that case, the defendant will receive a 5-year prison sentence for possession of a firearm and an additional penalty for committing a robbery.
When we begin working with our clients, we will come through their case, looking for flaws in the prosecution’s evidence. In many cases, we discover that Georgia prosecutors lack the evidence they need to prove that our client had possession of a knife or firearm. We know how to effectively file motions on behalf of our clients to get their cases dismissed.
Arguing that the defendant lacked possession of a firearm is one of the best legal defenses to the charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. When a prosecutor cannot prove that the defendant actually or constructively possessed the weapon, the court will dismiss the charges.
In other cases, law enforcement officials violate the defendant’s constitutional rights through the search and seizure process. When law enforcement officials do not have the probable cause to search a defendant’s vehicle, the defendant can petition the court to eliminate any evidence gathered from the search. In other cases, law enforcement officials identify the wrong suspect. The victim may incorrectly identify the defendant as the person who committed the crime.
The Importance of Hiring a Criminal Defense Lawyer
In addition to serving jail time, dealing with a felony conviction can carry other types of consequences. Finding housing, employment, or obtaining credit can be difficult when you have a felony charge on your record. When you’re facing criminal charges, hiring the best possible defense lawyer is of critical importance.
Every case is different, and it takes an experienced lawyer to discover all of the weaknesses in the prosecution’s case and exploit them for the benefit of his or her client. Speaking with an experienced lawyer is essential when your freedom and future are at stake.
Contact an Atlanta Criminal Defense Lawyer
The skilled lawyers at Carter/Pilgrim advocate fiercely on behalf of our clients so they can achieve the best possible results in their cases. Contact our Atlanta criminal defense lawyers today to schedule your initial consultation.