Weapon / Firearm Crimes in Maryland

Baltimore has one of the highest weapons charge and homicide rates in the U.S. Charges of murder, the possession of illegal weapons, the use of a handgun in the commission of a felony and other weapons-related crimes are common and local prosecutors are experienced at making charges stick.

Baltimore-area defendants facing weapons charges may face an additional challenge because federal law enforcement officials often work hand-in-hand with local police. When faced with these serious charges, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney to represent you at every stage of the case.

Attorney for Weapon and Firearm Charges in Baltimore, MD

If you face a weapons charge in Maryland, James Crawford can provide the experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense services you need. James Crawford and the other experienced attorneys at the firm have handled hundreds of criminal cases involving charges of:

  • Carrying a concealed weapon
  • Possession of an unauthorized/illegal weapon
  • Use of a deadly weapon in the commission of a felony
  • Possession of a weapon as convicted felon
  • Aggravated weapons charges
  • Failure to register a weapon
  • Weapons charges related to a conviction for domestic violence

As a trial lawyer, I have been in just about every state and federal courtroom in Maryland. I am in court nearly every day and am familiar with the judges, prosecutors, and police who work to convict people facing weapons charges.

My combination of legal knowledge, experience, familiarity with the “human element” of a case and commitment to clients’ rights has resulted in favorable outcomes for hundreds of clients facing a variety of weapons charges. For more information regarding how I can help you, contact one of my offices. For weapons charges defense in Baltimore, Arbutus, Catonsville, or Annapolis, Maryland, contact the experienced attorneys at James E. Crawford, Jr. & Associates. The phone number is 443-709-9999 and the consultation is free.

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Information Center

Individuals Prohibited from Possessing a Rifle or Shotgun in Maryland

Generally, a person is prohibited from possessing a rifle or a shotgun, with the exception of an antique firearm, if the person:

  • has been convicted of a disqualifying crime;
  • has been convicted of a violation classified as a common law crime and received a term of imprisonment of more than two years;
  • is a fugitive from justice;
  • is a habitual drunkard;
  • is addicted to a controlled dangerous substance or is a habitual user;
  • suffers from a mental disorder and has a history of violent behavior against the person or another;
  • has been found incompetent to stand trial;
  • has been found not criminally responsible;
  • has been voluntarily admitted for more than 30 consecutive days to a facility that provides treatment or other services for mental disorders;
  • has been involuntarily committed to a facility that provides treatment or other services for mental disorders;
  • is under the protection of a guardian of the person or property of a disabled person appointed by a court, except for cases in which the appointment of a guardian is solely a result of a physical disability;
  • is a respondent against whom a current nonex parte civil protective order has been entered in this State or an order for protection has been issued by a court of another state or a Native American tribe and is in effect; or
  • if younger than age 30 at the time of possession, has been adjudicated delinquent by a juvenile court for an act that would be a disqualifying crime if committed by an adult.

In addition, a person is prohibited from possessing a rifle or a shotgun if the person was previously convicted of:

  1. a crime of violence;
  2. a violation of specified controlled dangerous substances law;
  3. an offense under the laws of another state or the United States that would constitute one of these crimes if committed in this State.

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Crimes for Wearing / Carrying a Handgun in Maryland

The Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services estimates that in fiscal 2015, 170 offenders entered Maryland’s correctional facilities for the crime of wearing/carrying a handgun. For 53 of these offenders, this was their most serious offense. Their sentences averaged 17.3 months.

The crime of wearing or carrying a firearm prohibits a person, with specified exceptions, for doing the following:

  1. wear, carry, or transport a handgun, whether concealed or open, on or about the person; or
  2. wear, carry, or knowingly transport a handgun, whether concealed or open, in a vehicle traveling on a road or parking lot generally used by the public, highway, waterway, or airway of the State.

For the vehicular prohibition, there is a rebuttable presumption that a person who transports the handgun does so knowingly.

A person charged with wearing or carrying a handgun can be convicted of a misdemeanor. Depending on the facts of the case, a conviction subjects a person to a mandatory minimum sentence ranging from 30 days to 5 years and a maximum imprisonment penalty of 3 years for a first offense or 10 years if the violator has specified prior convictions. Certain circumstances also subject the person to monetary fines of amounts between $250 and $2,500.

The Secretary of State Police in Maryland may issue a permit to wear, carry, or transport a handgun to a person who meets certain requirements if the person also has a “good and substantial” reason. The term “good and substantial reason” means a finding that the permit is necessary as a reasonable precaution against apprehended danger.

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Possession of a Regulated Firearm in Maryland

During fiscal 2015, 173 offenders entered Maryland’s correctional facilities for possession of a regulated firearm. For 63 of these offenders, this was their most serious offense. Their sentences averaged 33.9 months. A conviction does not require any finding that the offender had ammunition in their handguns/firearms.

A regulated firearm is any handgun or any of the 45 assault weapons (or copies) identified under Title 5 of the Public Safety Article. A person may not possess a regulated firearm in Maryland if the person was convicted of a disqualifying crime or meets other specified criteria. The specified criteria can include a finding of being incompetent to stand trial, being found not criminally responsible or previously undergoing an involuntary commitment.

With specified exceptions, such as for a member of the U.S. Armed Forces or the National Guard while performing official duties, a person younger than age 21 also may not possess a regulated firearm.

Each violation of the statute can be charged and prosecuted as a separate offense.Under a separate prohibition relating to knowing participation in a violation of certain laws regarding the possession of a regulated firearm, a person convicted of the criminal offense is guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to imprisonment for up to five years and/or a fine of up to $10,000.