Offense Level Points
It is possible for a person to be convicted under a federal firearms law and have their conviction significantly enhanced. This will be based on offense level points. Having a point level increased by only two points can result in a drastic difference when it comes to sentencing the amount of time a person is to spend incarcerated.
Should a person be given a federal firearms’ conviction, and it is not their first such conviction, they could be given enhanced penalties. Should a person have been convicted of a previous federal firearm violation, the minimum sentence of 25 years in prison will be given. Should a person previously be given a violation involving a firearm silencer, muffler, destructive device as well as machine gun, they will automatically be given a sentence of life in prison.
Drug Trafficking Or Crime Of Violence
When someone is convicted of carrying a firearm during these types of criminal acts, they will be given the mandatory minimum penalty. It is five years in prison. This sentence can be increased. This will be determined by the features of the firearm involved. Should the firearm used be a shotgun or short-barreled rifle, the minimum sentence is then extended to ten years. Should the firearm being utilized be equipped with a silencer, the minimum sentence is extended to 30 years. A sentence is extended by seven years when a firearm is brandished during a criminal act. A sentence will be extended ten years should the firearm be discharged during the criminal act.
Conspiracy, Aiding and Abetting
When any person abets, counsels or aids in the commission of a federal firearm crime by someone else, they could be given a sentence as severe as the person who committed the crime. It is possible for a prosecutor to show a defendant predicated and advanced criminal firearm use. A guilty verdict requires a prosecutor to show a defendant intended to help the intended goal of a violation of federal firearm law. A prosecutor must show a defendant was aware of what was going to happen prior to another individual committing the federal firearms’ offense.
Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA)
This is a classification of an individual who is found guilty of a new crime and was convicted in the past of one or more criminal federal firearm violations. Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA) was passed in 1984 by the U.S. Congress to provide stricter punishments for habitual felons who use firearms. An individual with three prior federal or state convictions that are drug-related or offenses involving violence will get the minimum sentence of 15 years. In many cases, the ACCA makes a significant difference in sentencing.
Appealing Federal Firearms Conviction
An individual who has been convicted of a federal firearm charge is facing serious punishment. They still have a right to appeal their conviction. It doesn’t end because someone has been sentenced. Legal errors often occur during a trial. Common issues that could occur during a trial are insufficient evidence, ineffective assistance of counsel as well as illegal search and seizure involved with the discovery of a firearm and more. Each of these are strong reasons for an appeal. It is possible for errors to deprive an individual of their constitutional rights to due process. This could occur prior to the trial or at sentencing. Legal errors can have a major impact on a case and a convicted person’s life.
These types of charges are serious and will require a knowledgeable and experienced legal expert to determine the facts and identify the truth of the case. The arguments permitted in an appellate court are very different from those raised during a trial. Legal and procedural issues are things that can be raised during an appellate court review. An attorney will know how to craft and present an appeal in the most assertive and pervasive way. They will know how to successfully do this with a Circuit Court of even the United States Supreme Court if necessary.