Firearm offenses have the potential to cause severe consequences to a criminal defendant. First, firearm offenses may qualify as predicate offenses under the dangerousness statute, MGL c. 276 §58A. Second, if a defendant has certain prior convictions, the Commonwealth may seek to prosecute the case under the armed career criminal statute, MGL c. 269 §10G. And third, some firearm offenses upon conviction require mandatory minimum incarceration.
Gioia Law has successfully represented defendants charged with firearm offenses throughout the state of Massachusetts in the district and superior court, including in the areas of: carrying; possession; ACC; subsequent offense; improper storage; assault with a firearm; ghost guns; machine gun “switches”; and sales of firearms.
Firearm offenses in Massachusetts are primarily prosecuted under General Law c. 269. Because of the potential for severe consequences, skilled counsel is required to navigate a firearm prosecution successfully. Notably, this area of law remains dynamic and counsel must still abreast of new decisions in the law to remain competent and aware of changes in the law.
When evaluating a firearm defense for potential challenges, many aspects of the prosecution will be assessed for weakness. First, whether the Commonwealth will be able to prove lack of license will be reviewed. Second, a determination will be made whether the alleged firearm meets the legal definition of a workable firearm. Third, the defendant’s so-called possession will be evaluated. Evaluation of possession will include a determination of the place where the Commonwealth alleges the defendant possessed the firearm; the defendant’s ability to exercise control and dominion over the firearm; and the defendant’s knowledge. Fourth, the viability of a motion to dismiss or suppress will be weighed. In terms of a motion to dismiss, nothing is ruled out, including a constitutional challenge under the Second Amendment. As for a suppression motion, whether police seized the firearm pursuant to a warrant or as a result of a warrantless search, the search and seizure should be scrutinized for potential violations of individual rights under the United States Constitution and Massachusetts Declaration of Rights. At a motion to suppress hearing, the defense will move to suppress the firearm as evidence due to illegal police conduct. If the motion is allowed, the prosecution often cannot go forward. Should the matter proceed past the motion arena, a mitigation packet with a request for a breakdown in charges will be presented to the Commonwealth, or a trial on the merits will go forth in front of the fact finder.
Gioia has achieved measured and sustained success in the courtroom defending its clients charged with firearm crimes. Call Gioia Law today for trusted counsel you can count on.
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