Charlotte Gun Possession Lawyer

Charlotte Gun Possession Lawyer

America has provided the right for citizens to purchase, own, and use firearms through the Second Amendment to the Constitution. Enforcement of this right, however, is left to each state to decide through its own statutes and laws surrounding gun ownership. Because these vary from state to state, the confusion surrounding such laws can leave individuals to face gun possession charges that may result in heavy penalties. If that gun is used in the commission of another crime, the penalties further stack, and that individual could be left with heavy fines or serious prison time.

At The Law Office of Kevin L. Barnett, our team understands the consequences of these penalties. Although North Carolina has some of the least restrictive gun laws, convictions for gun possession charges can significantly alter your life. Our team is focused on fighting for you and your rights. We review the details of your case to build the unique defense you need to defend or challenge the charges against you. No matter the details of your case, you should have an experienced and skilled criminal defense lawyer familiar with North Carolina gun possession on your side.

Charlotte Gun Possession Lawyer

What Is the Gun Law in Charlotte?

For many who face gun possession charges, they simply lack an understanding of the state laws in place. The most important aspect of North Carolina gun laws is that you must have a permit to purchase or carry a concealed weapon. The weapon must also be licensed. These two requirements are a part of both public and private sales of guns.

It is illegal to own an unlicensed weapon, whereas it is legal to open carry legally licensed guns throughout the entire state. However, you may not have a gun visible on any school property or within the property and building of the State Capitol. To carry a concealed weapon, you must have a Concealed Handgun Permit. The requirements for this permit include:

  • Meeting all necessary federal gun law requirements
  • For those outside of the military, being 21 years of age
  • Completing an approved 8-hour handgun training course
  • Proving residency in North Carolina for a minimum of 30 days
  • Be a resident of the county in which you are applying
  • Be a U.S. citizen or permitted as a legal resident alien
  • Be free of mental or physical impairments that may prevent the safe handling of a gun
  • Be free of any DWI convictions for a minimum of three years prior to applying
  • Have legally been evaluated and determined to be free of mental illness and mentally competent to possess a gun

These requirements to gain a concealed carry permit are also accompanied by a list of restrictions. These could prevent an individual from not only obtaining a permit but also from owning a firearm. Some of the restrictions in place include:

  • Criminal Record: In addition to the three DUI restrictions, any felony conviction on an individual’s criminal record will prevent their ability to obtain a concealed weapons permit.
  • Medical Record: There must not exist any physical or mental limitations that would prevent them from safely carrying or handling a firearm.
  • Standing Court Orders: Certain court restrictions may be in place, such as for an individual who is the subject of a domestic violence restraining order, is on probation for any criminal offense, is a fugitive from justice, or suffers from any type of substance abuse disorder.
  • Military Discharge Status: Military service for those under 21 years of age can allow them to apply for a permit. However, if an individual has been dishonorably discharged from military service, they are ineligible to obtain a concealed carry permit.

While the right to carry a firearm is for individual protection, the permit establishes that the person who is carrying is also aware of their responsibility toward public safety.

Common Firearm Charges

Although North Carolina has lenient gun laws, you could face charges for a number of violations related to possession. Here are some of the common charges you could face:

  • Carrying a concealed weapon. Without the proper permit to carry a concealed weapon, you can be charged for illegal possession of not just firearms but also knives, slingshots, metallic knuckles, stun guns, razors, or any other weapon that is deemed to be deadly. This rule also applies if the weapon is concealed within your vehicle and discovered during a traffic stop.
  • Possession of a concealed weapon while consuming alcohol. Even with a permit, it is illegal to carry a firearm while consuming alcohol. This includes situations where alcohol is presently in your system, even if you’re not actively consuming alcohol at the time you were discovered to be in possession of the weapon.
  • Possession of a stolen firearm. If you are accused of stealing a firearm, or found to be in possession of any type of stolen firearm, then you can be charged with possession of a stolen firearm. This includes weapons that could not be fired at the time of the theft. For this offense, a firearm is defined as any weapon with the ability to propel a shot, shell, or bullet through the use of gunpowder or explosive substance.
  • Possession of a firearm with a serial number removed. It is against the law to alter, deface, destroy, or otherwise remove the permanent serial number or other distinguishing numbers that uniquely identify a firearm. This charge applies to those who knowingly buy, sell, or otherwise possess such a weapon.
  • Possession of a firearm on school property. Any property that is considered school property is also designated to be free from firearm possession. This includes not only a school, but a bus, recreational area, sports field, or any other property that is owned, leased, or used by the local board of education.
  • Possession of a firearm at an airport. Because the airport is owned and operated by the city, Local Charlotte Ordinance Sections 14-15 prohibit the possession of a firearm on any property designated as such.
  • Possession of weapons of mass destruction. While uncommon, the manufacturing, assembling, possession, storage, transporting, selling, or purchasing of any weapon that could cause mass death and destruction is illegal.

How Long Can You Be Sent to Jail for a Gun Charge in North Carolina?

For both possession charges that are classified as misdemeanors and those classified as felonies, you are likely going to face time in jail or prison. The classification of your charge and your previous criminal record will determine the terms of the sentence you could face.

For most Class A1 and Class 1 misdemeanors, you will likely face a period of up to 60 days in jail if the conviction is your first offense. If, however, you have up to four prior convictions, your sentence could be up to 75 days.

If you are facing a felony charge for illegal possession of a firearm, the circumstances surrounding the charge will determine the sentence you could face. If your charge is a Class I felony, the lowest felony in North Carolina, you could face up to ten months in prison. The higher the class of the felony you are charged with, the more extensive your time in prison will be. Your previous criminal convictions will also be a factor in determining your sentence. Prison terms for various felony charges in North Carolina include:

  • Class I Felony: 4 to 10 months
  • Class H Felony: 5 to 20 months
  • Class G Felony: 10 to 25 months
  • Class F Felony: 13 to 33 months
  • Class E Felony: 20 to 50 months
  • Class D Felony: 51 to 128 months
  • Class C Felony: 58 to 146 months
  • Class B2 Felony: 125 to 314 months
  • Class B1 Felony: 192 to 483 months
  • Class A Felony: Death or life without parole

Other circumstances surrounding your charges, such as possession of a firearm while committing a separate crime, could also factor into your potential penalties.

In addition to prison time, you could face collateral penalties that impact other areas of your life. With a criminal record, your career and housing could be impacted, your ability to gain custody of your children is in jeopardy, and further educational opportunities may be out of reach. If you hold any professional licensing, you could find it revoked or suspended, and you may be prevented from further license opportunities.

How Much Time Can a Convicted Felon Get for Possession of Firearms in North Carolina?

For those who have previously been convicted of felony charges, possessing a firearm becomes much more complicated. Under the Felony Firearms Act, it is illegal for any person convicted of a felony charge to own, possess, or have in their custody, care, or control a firearm or other weapon of mass death and destruction. According to the act, a firearm includes:

  • Any weapon that has the ability to expel a projectile, even a starter gun
  • A muffler or silencer for a firearm

This act applies to all felony convictions, and violating it results in a lifetime ban unless your felony meets the qualifications for expungement. However, certain white-collar convictions, such as antitrust violations, unfair trade practices, or restraints of trade, may be considered exceptions, depending on the circumstances.

For a felon, possession is further defined as either constructive or actual possession. Under constructive possession, they are aware of the presence of a firearm and have the ability to control or use it. To be charged with constructive possession, a felon does not have to exclusively possess the firearm. Actual possession is the physical possession of a weapon that is in their custody.

If you are found in possession of a firearm as a convicted felon, you will face a Class G felony charge, which would be considered a second conviction for sentencing guidelines in North Carolina. Your minimum penalties would mean 12 to 26 months in prison, with other possible penalties for additional convictions or based on the circumstances surrounding the charge.

Additional Gun Offenses in North Carolina

In addition to a possession charge, you may also be charged with any number of other gun-related crimes. Additional charges could include:

  • Committing a robbery with a firearm
  • Discharging a firearm in an enclosed area
  • Allowing a minor to use a firearm
  • Selling a firearm or weapon to a minor
  • Using a firearm in an assault against a police, probation, or parole officer or against an individual who works in a detention facility
  • Using a firearm to assault a government official

Self-Defense and Defending Gun Possession

Building a defense for gun-related charges in Charlotte can be a complicated process. Trusting a criminal defense attorney who is skilled and experienced in doing so can help you defend against these charges or get them dismissed or reduced. However, one complicated area of gun possession charges involves cases where the person charged was acting in self-defense.

The laws surrounding gun possession, particularly for convicted felons, are very definitive. However, North Carolina is also a Stand Your Ground state, meaning that a person has a right to defend themselves should they have a reasonable belief that they are in imminent and life-threatening danger. In any gun-related charge, the circumstances will be heavily scrutinized and examined to determine if self-defense was justified.

It is important to be honest and upfront with your attorney regarding the facts of your case. Every detail matters and may help reveal a defense that could work favorably for you. The details you share with your attorney are held in confidence. However, they can help determine what further investigation needs to be completed, what witnesses are interviewed, and whether you were justified in your actions.

Charlotte Gun Possession Lawyer

If you are facing gun possession charges, or any firearms charge, you should seek the help of an experienced and skilled criminal defense attorney. At The Law Office of Kevin L. Barnett, our team has over 30 years of experience defending clients against their criminal charges. When you contact our offices for a consultation, our team can take the time to understand and evaluate your situation to not only help answer your questions but also build the foundations of your defense. We review the circumstances of your arrest to ensure that your rights were protected throughout the process. We can ensure that your case receives the personalized attention that it deserves. No two criminal cases are the same. Contact our offices today and let our team start defending you.


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