Maryland has some of the strictest gun laws in the country; as a result, many people run afoul of the state’s gun possession laws without even realizing it. This issue is not only limited to those who live in the state, as anyone who travels through Maryland with a weapon is subject to the same laws, even if they have a permit in their home state. This discrepancy in gun laws from state to state can cause a lot of mix-ups throughout Maryland, but especially in a city like Baltimore.
Additionally, because the state makes it very difficult to legally obtain a firearm, it is often faster, cheaper, and easier to obtain one through illegal means. This is true even in cases of buyers without nefarious intent; and yet, these people are still subject to the same laws as other residents. If you find yourself in trouble for the possession of a firearm, turn to legal representation you can trust. Contact the offices of attorney Randolph Rice today at (410) 834-1350.
When Can I Legally Possess a Gun in Baltimore?
Maryland is an example of a “may carry” state where gun laws are concerned. This means that the state police require applicants for gun carry permits to present sufficient reason to justify possession of the firearm. The reasons the state grants permits are fairly predictable: you may have a license to carry if your life is in danger, to protect your business or property, or to protect your home.
Additional exceptions are available for those working in security positions – armored truck drivers, private security, law enforcement – but most residents will likely find it difficult to obtain a permit. Even if you manage to obtain a permit, though, restrictions still apply on the transport and possession of the weapon:
- Guns are not allowed on school property.
- Guns are not allowed to be transported on public roads or parking lots.
- Guns may be transported from the place where you bought it, to or from a repair shop, to or from the business where you are licensed to carry it, or between residences. It must be kept unloaded in an enclosed case or a holster with a flap or covering in the trunk of your vehicle, separate from any ammunition.
Penalties for Illegal Possession of a Firearm in Maryland
The possession of an unlicensed or unregistered firearm in Maryland is considered a misdemeanor that can lead to up to three years in jail. The minimum sentence is 30 days, but this can be set aside in favor of probation in some instances. However, the penalties can be significantly more severe if you have a prior offense (especially for a violent crime or felony) or if the gun possession charge is filed alongside other charges for the same act.
For instance, the possession of high-capacity magazines is illegal in Maryland; possessing an illegal firearm in addition to a large magazine can increase the charges. Anyone who has been classified as a habitual drug user can also face steeper penalties, as can anyone who alters the gun’s serial number or barrel length. Knowing exactly where the line is located in terms of what is legal in Maryland is critical for those who want to avoid charges. However, if you run afoul of the law and require legal representation, the law offices of Randolph Rice can provide the guidance you need.
Fighting Gun Possession Charges in Baltimore
Your ability to circumvent a conviction for gun possession in Maryland will largely depend on the surrounding circumstances. If you are a first offender, you have a number of options that can help you to get out from under otherwise damaging charges. A first-time charge of gun possession does not have to ruin your future; a skilled legal representative can lay out a number of options to help you fight these charges.
One of the simplest and most effective ways to set aside a charge of gun possession is to have the case placed on a Stet docket – a move that essentially puts the case on hold indefinitely. In some cases, this option is only offered under certain conditions, such as in conjunction with community service or the payment of fines and fees. However, these conditions are almost always worth the effort, as placement on a Stet docket offers considerable benefits over time, such as the dismissal of charges or the expungement of your criminal record.
Have a Qualified Baltimore Lawyer to Fight Your Gun Possession Charge
If you find yourself facing allegations of gun possession in Maryland, know that the charges should not be taken lightly. Because of the seriousness and complexity of gun laws, retaining effective legal counsel can make all the difference. The team at the law offices of Randolph Rice has the courtroom expertise and years of practice to get you through this difficult time. To schedule your free consultation, call (410) 834-1350 today.