Unlawful Possession of a Firearm

As in most states now, Massachusetts makes it a crime if you carry a gun except certain circumstances. Massachusetts gun laws are tough, and fairness does not always come into play when someone is charged with carrying a firearm. There are two pertinent aspects of this law in Massachusetts. One portion of the Massachusetts gun law requires a mandatory eighteen (18) month sentence and the other has no minimum mandatory sentence.

You should not be charged with a gun law violation in Massachusetts if you are properly licensed or if you possess the gun at your place of business or at your residence; however this is not always the case. Prosecutors in Massachusetts take all gun cases seriously, and if you have been charged with firearm possession, you should act quickly and hire a good Massachusetts criminal lawyer who has handled gun cases.

What Is The Difference Between Possession Of A Firearm And Carrying A Firearm?

Carrying a firearm loaded or unloaded, on a person or in a motor vehicle, is governed by Massachusetts General Law Chapter 269 §10 (a). The technical charge is possession of a firearm without a license outside home or place of business. In legal circles, this is often referred to as a “10 (a)” case. The District Attorney must prove that a defendant possessed a firearm beyond a reasonable doubt to secure a conviction. Keep in mind that possession is not only if the “firearm” is found on somebody but if it is found somewhere where the defendant had knowledge of it and the ability to control it. Thus, if a car is pulled over and a “firearm” is found in the glove compartment or trunk and the defendant is not the owner of the car or is a passenger, then there is always a viable defense that the defendant did not possess the firearm. Additionally, the firearm must be a firearm under the statute and be capable of firing. For this reason, if there is any question that the alleged firearm did not work, it is important to have the alleged firearm examined by an unbiased firearm expert, particularly if the alleged firearm is an antique. If convicted of this crime a defendant faces a mandatory minimum sentence of eighteen months in the house of correction.

The related portion of the statute is Massachusetts General Law Chapter 269 §10 (h), referred to as illegal possession of a firearm. In legal circles, this offense is often referred to as a “10 (h)” violation. This section usually applies to situations in which a firearm is found in a person’s home or work and the person does not have a license or a firearms identification card. This is NOT a lesser included offense of the carrying charge.

Kathleen McCarthy has the experience necessary to defend you on Massachusetts gun and firearm cases. She understands the severity of these cases. Attorney Kathleen McCarthy has tried and won gun cases in Massachusetts. She understands the distinction between mandatory and non-mandatory features of the law and knows when each should be applied.

If you have been charged with a gun or firearm violation in Massachusetts, it is critical that you retain a competent Massachusetts criminal defense lawyer such as Kathleen McCarthy. Often times your lawyer can negotiate a modification of the complaint to charge the non-mandatory component. With the advice and counsel of a competent Massachusetts criminal attorney experienced with gun charges, there always exists the possibility that the case can be resolved without the defendant having a criminal record.

Attorney McCarthy has successfully handled Massachusetts gun cases for more than twenty (20) years. If you have been charged in Massachusetts with a firearm offense, you should contact Attorney Kathleen McCarthy online or call 978-975-8060 today.

Case Results » Unlawful Possession of a Firearm
  • Out Of State Defendant Avoids A Prison Sentence And Convictions For Illegally Carrying And Improper Storage Of Two Firearms

    Out of state defendant was in the Boston area repairing water tanks. The defendant stayed at a local motel with a number of colleagues during the project. A motel employee found two firearms in the defendant's rented room. He was ultimately charged with two counts of illegally carrying a firearm and two counts of improper storage of a firearm.

    Attorney McCarthy filed a number of pre-trial motions including a motion to suppress evidence, a motion to suppress the defendant's statements and a motion to dismiss. The motion to dismiss was based on the fact that because the firearm was confiscated from the defendant's motel room, he was not "carrying" a firearm for purposes of the statute. Eventually, the prosecution agreed that the motel room was in effect the defendant's residence and amended the illegal carrying a firearm charge to the non-mandatory possession of a firearm. Following arguments of both sides, the judge continued the defendant's case for two years at which time all charges will be dismissed provided the defendant does not get rearrested.

  • Attorney McCarthy Secures Dismissal of Gun Charges Against Lynn Woman For Commonwealth's Failure To Timely Disclose Exculpatory Evidence And Failure To Comply With Court Orders

    Attorney McCarthy successfully litigated a Motion to dismiss gun charges against a female defendant due to the Commonwealth's failure to timely disclose exculpatory evidence and failure to comply with court orders. The charges stemmed from an incident that occurred on April 17, 2008. According to the police report, the police responded to the area of Route 1 in Peabody for a call of a woman being run down by a motor vehicle. After responding to the scene, the police spoke to the involved parties, and transported the female defendant back to her residence. When the police arrived at the residence the defendant's boyfriend was also there. The defendant was ultimately arrested on an outstanding default warrant.

    The defendant was transported in a cruiser to the State Police Barracks in Danvers, MA. After she was taken from the cruiser and into the police station the Trooper searched the car and claimed that he found a loaded handgun in stuffed behind the rear seat of the cruiser. No-one ever identified the defendant as in possession of this weapon.

    Attorney Kathleen McCarthy timely filed a number of pre-trial motions requesting for copies of any notes, logs or other documentation generated as a result of the transportation of any individual in the cruiser that the defendant was transported in for a period of one week prior to this incident. In Massachusetts, the prosecution must also provide facts of an exculpatory nature. M.R.C.P. 14 (a)(1)(iii). It was clear that the intent of requesting the information relative to individuals transported in the cruiser was to determine whether anyone else was in the cruiser that was involved in a "firearm" related incident.

    On the day of trial the defense was informed for the first time that the trooper had responded to an earlier call on the day of the defendant's arrest concerning occupants of a pickup thought to be in possession of a handgun. The trooper that arrested the defendant responded to this stop and one of the three occupants of the truck was put in the trooper's cruiser. Although no handgun was recovered the driver was arrested and charged with illegal possession of a Class D substance, illegal possession of ammunition and illegal possession of alcohol. Based on the late disclosure of the requested exculpatory evidence, Attorney Kathleen McCarthy filed a motion to dismiss the case.

    Almost fifteen months after the incident the named caller could not be located and the 911 tape had been destroyed. The cell phone number no longer belonged to the individual that made the initial call. After an extended hearing the district court judge held that the late disclosure caused irremediable harm to the defendant's case and dismissed the charges against the defendant.

Boston Criminal Defense Lawyer Blog - Firearm Offenses