Federal Appeals Lawyer Handling All Firearms Convictions
Federal Firearms Offenses: 18 U.S.C. §§ 921, 922, 924 and 22 U.S.C. § 2778
Our boutique federal criminal appeals law firm has successfully represented clients convicted of federal firearms offenses such as using or carrying a firearm during a crime of violence or drug trafficking under 18 U.S.C. § 924(c), straw purchasing under § 922(a)(6), prohibited persons purchase under §§ 922(d) and 922(g), presenting a false statement in a record under § 924(a)(1)(A), and exporting firearms without a valid license under 22 U.S.C. § 2778. No matter the severity or nature of your firearms offense, our knowledgeable federal criminal appeals lawyers will ensure that the errors of the trial court are not overlooked and that your rights are protected on appeal.
Call an experienced Federal Criminal Appeals Lawyer at 1-800-APPEALS.
Federal Firearms Convictions
A federal firearms conviction is a serious offense and can often result in a lengthy prison sentence or hefty fines. If you have been unjustly convicted of a federal firearms offense and now face harsh consequences, an experienced federal criminal appeals attorney can help.
Federal Criminal Appeals Lawyers That Know The Federal Firearms Sentencing Guidelines and The Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA): 18 § U.S.C. 924(e), § 2K2.1, 2D1.1(b)(1), and 2B3.1(b)(2)
Your sentence on a federal firearms conviction may be drastically enhanced based on several provisions of the United States Sentencing Guidelines as well as the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA) of 1984 under 18 U.S.C. § 924(e). As experienced Federal Criminal Appeals Lawyers we know when these sentencing guidelines enhancements are appropriate and how to argue against offense level enhancements in your sentence. Just two points can make a significant difference in the amount of jail time you may serve. Every offense level point is critical, and we know the sentencing guideline rules, the case law and how to apply them to your case that is most beneficial to you.
Whether your federal firearms sentence was enhanced based on an Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA) violation under 18 U.S.C. § 924(e), an offense involving the discharge, brandishing, or possession of a firearm during a robbery under 2B3.1, possession of a firearm during the commission of a drug offense under 2D1.1(b)(1), a multiple firearms offense under § 2K2.1(b)(1), a stolen firearms offense under Amendment 691, firearms trafficking under § 2K2.1 Application Note 13(D), or a firearms possession in connection to another offense under § 2K2.1 Application Note 14, you need an expert federal criminal appeals attorney who can help reduce your enhanced sentence who knows how to argue against a greater enhancement of your sentence.
If you believe you have been sentenced on a firearms conviction unjustly as a result of some enhancement in the sentencing guidelines that was misapplied, it is urgent that you contact a federal criminal appeals attorney as soon as possible. Call 1-800-APPEALS.
Appealing a Firearms Conviction: What is a Firearm?
It sounds like an easy question, but Federal Criminal Law has a very specific definition that must be adhered to. Title 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(3) defines “firearm” as any weapon (including a starter gun) which will or is designed to or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive, the frame or receiver of any such weapon, any firearm muffler or firearm silencer, or any destructive device. Prosecution is only required to prove that the firearm was designed to fire a projectile. In other words, even though the firearm may not have been discharged at the time of the offense, a defendant may still be prosecuted for possession or brandishing. Knowing the distinction in certain instances is critical to making sure you are not wrongfully convicted or that you receive a just sentence.
Federal Criminal Appeals Lawyers Know Federal Firearms Offenses & Penalties
18 U.S.C. § 924(c)- Using or Carrying a Firearm During the Crime of Violence or Drug Trafficking
Federal firearms offenses commonly occur during a crime of violence or drug trafficking, or where the “crime of violence” is robbery. As experienced Federal Criminal Appeals Lawyers we know when the minimum sentence applies to your case. The mandatory minimum penalty for an offense of this nature is 5 years. The minimum, however, can increase depending on the features of the firearm. Knowing how to distinguish particular firearms is critical on your Federal Appeal to ensure you are not sentenced in excess of the appropriate guideline. For instance, if the firearm is a short-barreled rifle or shotgun, the minimum sentenced increases to 10 years, and if the firearm is equipped with a silencer, the minimum increases to 30 years. For subsequent offenses, the minimum increases to 25 years. Life in prison is even possible when such an offense involves a machinegun. Making these critical distinctions and applying the appropriate sentencing guideline is the job of an experienced Federal Criminal Appeals Lawyer.
Federal Criminal Appeals Lawyers Know Who May be a Prohibited Person (“Felon-in-Possession”) 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)
Under 18 U.S. Code § 922(g), it is illegal for certain classes of people to transport or possess firearms. These classes include convicted felons, people with certain drug addictions, people diagnosed with certain mental impairments, people residing in the United States illegally, people who have been dishonorably discharged from the military, or people who have been restrained by a court order to possess firearms. The maximum penalty for this offense is ten years in prison.
Federal Criminal Appeals Lawyers Can Identify Straw Purchasing 18 U.S.C. § 922(a)(6)
Under 18 U.S.C. 922(a)(6), it is also illegal for an individual to participate in “straw purchasing.” Straw purchasing occurs when a person presents false written or oral statements or false identification to deceive the dealer or the ultimate owner of the firearm about the legality of the transaction. For example, an illegal alien who presents identification with a false address in order to mislead a firearms seller to believe the buyer resides legally in the U.S. can be convicted of straw purchasing. A straw purchaser can receive up to 10 years’ imprisonment.
22 U.S.C. § 2778: Exporting Firearms without a Valid License
It is illegal to import, manufacture, or conduct transactions in firearms across the United States boarder with the exception of having a license to import, produce, or conduct transactions in firearms. The illegal importation and exportation of firearms occurs most often between the boarder of the United States and Mexico. A violation of 22 U.S.C. § 2778 can result in up to 20 years in prison.
Federal Criminal Appeals Lawyers Are Experienced In Federal Firearms Convictions And The Applicable Sentencing Enhancements
18 U.S.C. § 924(c) Federal Firearms Conviction Sentencing: Possession, Discharge and Brandish
A sentence for a federal firearms conviction alone can generally range from 5 to 10 years plus a fine. However, under section § 924(c), if the firearm conviction is connected to a violent or drug trafficking related offense, jail time can increase significantly. For instance, during the course of a violent or drug trafficking offense, 5 years of imprisonment is added for possession of a firearm, 7 years is added when a firearm is brandished, and 10 years is added when a firearm is discharged. Keep in mind that these tacked on years are in addition to the prison years already imposed by the violent or drug-trafficking charges.
Federal Criminal Appeals Attorneys Know The Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA) 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)
A “career criminal” is an individual who is convicted of a new crime, who was previously convicted of one or more crimes. In 1984, Congress enacted the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA) in an effort to enforce stricter penalties on habitual firearms felons. According to the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA), the minimum imprisonment imposition required for felons convicted of unlawful possession of a firearm who have 3 previous state or federal convictions for violent or serious drug offenses is 15 years. Knowing when the previous conviction is appropriately categorized as violent or serious for purposes of the ACCA is critical and can mean a significant difference in your sentence.
Federal Firearms Conviction Sentencing: Predicate Firearms Offenses
Enhanced penalties also occur when your federal firearms conviction is not your first firearms conviction. If a person has a previous firearms conviction, the minimum prison sentence is 25 years. In the case that a person has a prior violation involving a machinegun or destructive device, or was equipped with a firearm silencer or muffler, the sentence imposed is life in prison.
Appealing a Federal Firearms Conviction: Aiding, Abetting, and Conspiracy
In general, anyone who commands, counsels, aids, or abets the commission of a federal crime by another person may be punished just as severely as the person who actually committed the crime. In other words, a defendant needs only to be associated with the crime to be charged.
In regard to federal firearms convictions, assistance may be shown to have advanced either the predicate offense or the firearm use, but it must be shown that the defendant intended to contribute to the ultimate goal of the federal firearms violation. So, the prosecutor must show that the defendant already knew what would take place before the other person commits the firearms offense.
Federal Firearms Convictions: Appealable Issues
Arguments raised at the trial level are quite different from the types of arguments that are admissible in appellate courts. Unlike the trial level, facts and evidence cannot be introduced at the appellate level. Instead, the appellant may raise legal and procedural issues.
Legal errors can arise from trial courts, and our federal criminal appeals lawyers have the experience and knowledge to identify solid issues and craft winning arguments for your federal firearms conviction appeal. Common issues that may ascend from the trial court record include ineffective assistance of counsel, multiplicity, insufficient evidence of the essential elements of a federal firearms conviction, and more. Perhaps you believe an illegal search and seizure took place, which led to the discovery of a firearm. These are all powerful appealable issues.
Each day trial court makes legal errors. Those errors can deprive a defendant of his or her constitutional right to due process and can happen during or before the trial, or during the sentencing. If these legal errors are not harmless, they can have a heavy effect on the case and on your life.
Federal Criminal Appeals: Appealing a Federal Firearms Conviction
While the penalties for a federal firearms conviction are grave, you have the right to appeal. The road doesn’t have to end at your sentencing. Talk to an experienced federal criminal appeals attorney today. 1-800-APPEALS.
The consequences of a federal firearms conviction can include a lengthy prison sentence, substantial fines, and the headache and time lost from the trial. The federal criminal appeals lawyers at our firm understand that this is the one of the most difficult moments of your life. Our federal criminal appeals lawyers are devoted to identifying, crafting, and presenting appealable issues in the most persuasive and assertive manner possible to the Circuit Courts or, if necessary, to the United States Supreme Court.
For the best chance at winning your federal firearms conviction appeal, call now at 1-800-APPEALS.