Posted on Monday, January 15th, 2024 at 9:00 am
There are state crimes, and there are federal crimes. Federal gun charges can be much more significant than state gun charges and can carry devastating consequences. Yet, how do you know the difference between state and federal gun charges? What circumstances raise a state gun charge to the level of a federal offense, and what can you do to fight back?
At Moermond & Mulligan, LLC, our experienced Ohio criminal defense attorneys have the knowledge and resources to defend against state and federal gun charges. What makes a gun charge federal? We want to help you understand what circumstances can elevate gun charges in Ohio.
When Does a Case Become Federal?
Federal gun charges are not the same as state gun charges. States have their own set of laws and penalties for specific violations. However, the federal government also has laws that trump state laws. Additionally, federal gun charges are brought against an individual by federal prosecutors instead of state prosecutors.
What are federal gun laws, and when does a case move to the federal jurisdiction? Regulations like 18 USC 924 and 18 USC 922 prohibit specific actions like making false statements when purchasing a gun or transporting or selling weapons across state lines. Examples of behavior that can put you at odds with federal gun laws can include:
- Firearm possession by prohibited individuals such as felons, individuals with a history of substance abuse, those subject to domestic protection orders, and residents without legal immigration status
- Possession of restricted weapons and firearms like machine guns and short-barreled shotguns
- The sale of firearms without a license
- The illegal sale of firearms
- Making false statements when purchasing a firearm
- Possession or use of firearms in a violent crime or while drug trafficking
Federal Gun Charge Sentence
Federal sentences for gun charges are much more significant than state charges. The facts and circumstances of the incident help determine the severity of the charge and the potential criminal penalties an individual can face if convicted. Most federal gun charges carry significant fines and prison time. Some federal gun convictions carry prison terms of five to ten years in prison. Supervised probation and restitution may also be on the table. Charges involving incidents across state lines and violent crimes can lead to more severe penalties.
In addition to severe federal criminal penalties, having a federal criminal offense on your record can cause devastating consequences to your personal and professional life. Securing employment and housing following a federal conviction can be exceedingly challenging. You can also miss educational opportunities and have difficulty getting loans or other financial assistance.
Is Gun Trafficking a Federal Offense?
Yes. Gun trafficking is a federal offense that falls under weapons trafficking laws and may run afoul of ITAR and munitions offenses. Trafficking generally refers to the transfer of firearms or weapons from a legal market to an illegal market. Individuals can traffic weapons in several ways, landing them in legal hot water with the federal government.
Straw purchases involve an individual purchasing a gun on behalf of someone else, typically an individual prohibited from purchasing or owning a firearm, like a felon or someone with a history of substance abuse. Gun theft from dealers or individuals for resale or use in the commission of violent crimes is also common.
Ohio has been labeled a conduit for guns and gun trafficking, meaning federal authorities and law enforcement closely monitor gun-related activity there. If you get caught up in federal gun charges, you cannot afford to try to handle the situation alone. Federal prosecutors are aggressive. You need an equally aggressive criminal defense attorney advocating for you.
How Can a Cincinnati, Ohio Criminal Defense Lawyer Help?
Federal crimes are serious, and you may spend years in prison if convicted of an offense. A Cincinnati, Ohio, federal criminal defense lawyer can help. At Moermond & Mulligan, LLC, we are ready to review your situation and build a compelling defense strategy that increases your chances of obtaining a more favorable outcome. You deserve effective and responsive legal representation. Only talk to law enforcement or federal prosecutors with an attorney who can protect your legal rights.
Don’t lose hope during this challenging time. Call our Cincinnati, Ohio office today at (513) 421-9790 to arrange a confidential legal consultation. We can review your case and provide the legal advice you need.