The illegal possession of a weapon is a serious matter in the state of Maryland, and there are many ways these cases can arise. For example, certain weapons are illegal to possess as a matter of law, such as rifles with fixed magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. In addition, some people are prohibited from prom possessing weapons due to their criminal history. Finally, you can also violate the law by possessing legal weapons without the proper licensure.
Whatever the specifics, weapons cases all have one thing in common: they can result in significant legal penalties, including substantial fines and jail time. Fortunately, not every arrest leads to a conviction.
The 4th Amendment – Unreasonable Search and Seizure
Weapons possession cases typically do not involve a person walking up to a police officer and admitting they are illegally possessing a weapon – generally, they arise after an officer conducts a search of an individual’s home, vehicle, or person and discovers a weapon. Searches conducted by law enforcement are subject to the limitations of the 4th Amendment, which requires police to have probable cause or a warrant to conduct a search. Typically, if the police violate your rights during a search, any evidence gathered from that search is not admissible in court – and it is nearly impossible for a prosecutor to make his or her weapons possession case without the weapon itself. As a result, many cases that arise after an illegal search are ultimately dismissed.
Some examples of situations in which a search may be deemed illegal include the following:
- An officer searches your vehicle without a reason to do so
- The police walk into your house and look around without a warrant
- A law enforcement officer stops you on the street and pats you down without legal justification
Call a Baltimore Criminal Defense Lawyer Today to Schedule a Free Consultation
If you been accused of a weapons offense or any other crime, you should speak to an attorney as soon as you can. At Rice, Murtha & Psoras, we are committed to protecting the legal rights of criminal defendants and work hard to ensure that each case we take is resolved as favorably as possible. To schedule a free case evaluation with a Baltimore criminal defense lawyer, call us today at (410) 694-7291 or send us an email through our online contact form.