Weapons Crimes Archives | Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC
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Convictions That May Revoke Your Concealed Carry License

Under the Second Amendment, we have the right to bear arms. However, this right is not unlimited. This means that under certain circumstances, your right to carry a gun can be revoked. A criminal conviction is one of these reasons.

If you are accused of a crime in the Pittsburgh area and worried that it may limit your right to carry an otherwise legal firearm, you can review all your options and pursue an outcome that protects your record and ability to own firearms. Contact Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC today at (412) 281-2146.

Impact of Criminal Convictions on a Concealed Carry License

According to the Gun Control Act, any person under indictment for or has been convicted in any court of a crime punishable by at least one year in prison is not permitted to carry a gun.

This means that after your arrest for any state or federal crime, your concealed carry permit will be revoked. Under federal law, no convicted felon may purchase or be in possession of a firearm. But, the concealed carry laws for people convicted of misdemeanors depend on state law.

Pennsylvania Concealed Carry

Pennsylvania is a “shall-issue” state for concealed carry licenses. This means that, in general, the issuance of a carry license is automatically issued after a 45-day background check to any adult over 21 who has taken a handgun or firearm safety course. However, there are exceptions:

  • People likely to endanger public safety,
  • Individuals convicted of certain drug or controlled substance crimes,
  • Mentally ill adults,
  • People adjudicated delinquent in a juvenile court within the last ten years,
  • Habitual drunkards,
  • Convicted felons,
  • Individuals convicted of a DUI more than three times in a five year period,
  • Individuals convicted of domestic assault crimes, and
  • Illegal immigrants.

Almost all serious criminal convictions and any violent convictions result in the loss of your concealed carry permit in Pennsylvania. The good news though, is that misdemeanors will not necessarily revoke your license.

Will I Lose My Gun Rights for a DUI?

If you are arrested for a first or second DUI this will not affect your ability to carry a firearm.

The one common problem people run into with concealed carry permits after misdemeanor crimes is regarding drug possession charges. In Pennsylvania, the most minor drug convictions will often lead to your concealed carry license being revoked. For this reason, you need to be aware of the potential consequences of a drug conviction on your gun carry rights before sentencing.

A Lawyer Can Help Protect Your Gun Rights

With an experienced Pittsburgh defense attorney, you may be able to mitigate the charges in order to avoid losing your concealed carry license. If you have been arrested for any crime that could cause you to lose your concealed carry permit, contact us at Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC today at (412) 281-2146. We will fight to get your case the best outcome possible.

Acquittal in Fayette County Parole Violation Case

The criminal justice system in Pennsylvania and across the country does not typically treat parole or probation violations lightly. Law enforcement officers, prosecutors, judges and even the population at large may predetermine your guilt if you are accused of violating the terms of your release because you were already given another chance after a mistake. Luckily, we do not live in a country where preconceived notions and assumption are evidence of guilt.

If you are accused of violating parole or probation, it is vital that you review all your options and tell your story to a dedicated and highly-skilled Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney.

Call Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys today at (412) 281-2146 to schedule a free and consultation.

Firearm Offense Endangers a Recent Parolee

In the spring of 2016, a young man in Fayette County was recently paroled and working as a mover, when being in the wrong place at the wrong time almost sent him back to prison for a very long time.

Apparently, one day after work, he was awoken by a call from his sister, asking for a ride home from an area bar. After he arrived, an argument broke out between some other patrons, one of which was an acquaintance. The man noticed that this other individual was carrying a firearm and due to his time in prison, he appealed to him to surrender the weapon and not get caught up in such a heated situation. Eventually, the man handed the gun over, but since he knew that his parole prohibited him from being in possession of a gun, he decided to throw it in a grassy area outside of the bar.

Unfortunately, the altercation caused the police to arrive and someone reported that a gun was involved and a shot was even fired. An officer at the scene claimed that he saw the man in question fire the shot in his direction and brought him in for questioning. Without an attorney, the man spoke with police and denied any involvement, but did not advise the officers that he had, in fact, disarmed another person.

This turned out to be a mistake because when police saw the video evidence taken outside of the bar, it was apparent that he did have a gun at one point and attempted to hide it in the weeds. This led the officers to believe that he was lying and when the gun was recovered, the man was charged with the felony crimes of aggravated assault on a police officer, person not to possess a firearm, carrying a firearm without a permit, and assault on a police officer as well as misdemeanors for reckless endangerment and disorderly conduct. While these offenses are serious enough for anyone, the man had the added complication of being on parole and in addition to the normal penalties, if he was convicted of violating his parole, he would likely spend the next 20 years in prison.

Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys and Matthew Ness for the Defense

Tragically, because of the man’s parole status and the grievous nature of these crimes against the public and law enforcement, the man’s bond was set at an impossibly high amount and he needed to await trial in custody. While he waited in jail for the opportunity to tell his side of the story, the veteran legal team at Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC and Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney Matthew Ness began working for their client and conducted an independent investigation.

When their client’s trial started, almost a year later, attorney Ness was well-equipped with the strongest possible defense and presented his client to the jury as someone trying to straighten his life out. When Ness offered his client’s version of events combined with dissecting the video evidence, it was clear to the jury that no crime was committed. Due to his attorney’s dedication and attention to detail, the jury acquitted this man of all the charges against him and he was free to go.

You Have Rights, Protect Them

Although he had to wait for an extended period due to legal red –tape, procedures, and unnecessary delays, this man’s decision to consult and attorney eventually led to his deliverance and the chance to rebuild his life. At Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, attorney Matthew Ness and the entire legal team know the importance of defending their clients and protecting the rights of the accused. Give us the opportunity to tell your side of the story and work towards the best possible outcome.

For a free and confidential consultation, call (412) 281-2146 today.

The outcome of an individual case depends on a variety of factors unique to that case. Case results do not guarantee or predict a similar result in any similar or future case.

Drive-By Shootings

Drive-by shootings are a common scenario often associated with gang violence in Pittsburgh. It might seem like legislators would have written some kind of law that addresses this type of shooting. However, despite the prevalence of drive-by shootings, there is no specific “drive-by shooting” offense in Pennsylvania law.

Instead, a prosecutor can charge you with one or more of the several offenses that apply to the act of shooting a weapon at others from a vehicle. Under some circumstances, a conviction could mean that you end up spending the rest of your life in jail. Even if you get away with a lenient prison sentence, you would have serious charges on your permanent criminal record that can make you ineligible for some if not most jobs.

If you’ve been accused of committing a drive-by shooting, the best thing you can do is to call a firm of experienced Pittsburgh weapons lawyers who can work to get your charge reduced or dismissed. Until then, do not talk to the police or the prosecutors. It can only hurt your case.

At Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, we are passionate about helping our clients get the best outcome possible when confronting the criminal justice system. With our experience defending all kinds of criminal cases, we know how the case against you will be built — and how it can be defeated.

Carrying a Firearm in an Automobile

In most cases, if you’re suspected of committing a drive-by shooting you may be charged with unlawfully carrying a firearm in a vehicle. Pennsylvania Statutes Title 18, Chapter 16, §1606 provides that anyone who carries a firearm in a vehicle without a proper license may be guilty of a third-degree felony. This can result in a sentence of up to 7 years in prison and up to $15,000 in fines.

The offense is a first-degree misdemeanor if you were otherwise eligible for a license, and you didn’t commit any criminal violations while carrying the firearm. The penalty for a first-degree misdemeanor is up to 5 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.

Assault With a Deadly Weapon

Another charge you may face for a non-fatal drive-by shooting is aggravated assault. Pennsylvania Statutes Title 18, Chapter 27, §2702 provides that a person commits aggravated assault when he or she:

  • Knowingly and intentionally causes or attempts to cause serious bodily injury to another, or causes such injury intentionally
  • Intentionally or knowingly attempts to cause or causes bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon

Aggravated assault is a first-degree felony in Pennsylvania punishable by up to 20 years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines.

If the bullets reach an occupied building, Pennsylvania Statutes Title 18, Chapter 27, §2707.1 comes into play. This statute states that a person who knowingly, intentionally or recklessly discharges a firearm from any location into an occupied structure may be guilty of a third-degree felony, which can result in up to 7 years in prison and up to $15,000 in fines.

Murder and Manslaughter

When the shooting is fatal, the charges become much more serious and you may face a murder or manslaughter allegation. Whether you’re charged with murder or manslaughter comes down to whether the prosecutor can prove premeditation and intent to kill.

When you are believed to have had a premeditated intent to kill, Pennsylvania Statutes Title 18, Chapter 25, §2502 defines three grades of murder:

  • First-Degree Murder — when the suspect commits an intentional killing
  • Second-Degree Murder — when defendant was engaged as a principal or an accomplice in the perpetration of a felony
  • Third-Degree Murder — for all other kinds of murder

First-degree and second-degree murder are non-categorized felonies, which means that the judge can order a sentence of any number of years — or even the death penalty. Third-degree murder is a first-degree felony, punishable by up to 20 years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines.

In cases where the prosecutor does not have evidence of your premeditated intent to kill, you may be charged with voluntary manslaughter under Pennsylvania Statutes Title 18, Chapter 25, §2503. The statute provides that a person who kills an individual without lawful justification commits voluntary manslaughter if at the time of the killing he or she was acting under a sudden and intense passion resulting from serious provocation by:

  • The individual killed; or
  • Another whom the suspect tries to kill, but negligently or accidentally causes the death of another person

Voluntary manslaughter is a first-degree felony carrying a penalty of 20 years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines.

Finally, a prosecutor may charge you with involuntary manslaughter where there is no evidence of the suspect’s intent to kill. Pennsylvania Statutes Title 18, Chapter 25, §2504 states that a person is guilty of involuntary manslaughter when as a direct result of acting in a reckless or grossly negligent manner he or she causes the death of another person.

Involuntary manslaughter is a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 5 years in prison and no more than $10,000 in fines.

How Pittsburgh Weapons Lawyers Can Helps

If you’ve been charged with any of the crimes described above, you could face severe penalties — including up to life in prison or the death penalty. Your team of Pittsburgh weapons lawyers can help you by using some of the strategies below:

  • Having the evidence against you thrown out because it was obtained illegally or without a proper warrant
  • Objecting to crucial evidence of the prosecution’s case based on the rules of evidence and procedure
  • Showing that your arrest and subsequent detention and interrogation were unconstitutional
  • Proving that you did not commit the actions of which you are accused
  • Claiming that you did not act with criminal intent
  • Advocating for a lenient sentence by highlighting mitigating factors for the judge at the sentencing hearing

If you want to learn more about how we can help, you can call Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC today at (412) 281-2146 for a free and confidential consultation regarding your case.

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