Unlawful Possession of a Firearm in Maryland: Legal Consequences and Penalties

Discover the intricacies of unlawful possession of a firearm in Maryland and learn how Scrofano Law PC can help navigate the legal complexities to safeguard your rights.

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Imagine walking into a friend’s house only to find out that carrying a firearm there could land you in prison. 

In Maryland, the laws around firearm possession are strict and complex. Unlawful possession of a firearm in Maryland can result in severe penalties, including imprisonment and hefty fines.

Maryland’s state law bans the possession of firearms by certain individuals, such as those convicted of felonies or certain misdemeanors. These regulations also extend to public places like schools, where carrying weapons is strictly forbidden. Why does the state impose such stringent rules? The aim is to ensure public safety and reduce gun-related violence.

If you’re facing charges related to unlawful firearm possession, seeking legal help is crucial. A Maryland criminal lawyer versed in state firearm laws can provide you with the necessary defense. At Scrofano Law PC, we’re ready to provide the legal assistance you need. 

If you have been charged with unlawful possession of a firearm in Maryland, contact us for a consultation. Don’t navigate these complex waters alone; understanding your rights and the law is essential for your freedom and future.

What Constitutes Unlawful Possession in Maryland

In Maryland, firearm possession is strictly regulated. Additionally, various conditions can make it illegal. Unlawful possession of a firearm can stem from various circumstances. Understanding these can help people navigate the complex landscape of firearm regulations. Here’s a quick overview of these conditions.

Age Restrictions

Individuals under 21 cannot legally possess a regulated firearm. A few exceptions exist, but this rule applies broadly across the state.

Prior Convictions

If someone has been convicted of a felony or certain misdemeanors, they are barred from possessing firearms. This includes crimes of violence and drug-related offenses. These restrictions aim to prevent individuals with a history of serious crimes from legally having firearms. 

Mental Health Conditions

Individuals who have been involuntarily committed to a mental health facility cannot possess firearms. This measure helps ensure public safety by restricting access to those deemed a danger due to mental health issues.

Illegal Substance Use

Possession of a firearm is also prohibited for individuals who are unlawful users of controlled substances. Simply put, people addicted to drugs cannot legally possess firearms. This is particularly relevant given the potential risks associated with substance abuse and firearms. This is meant to prevent further potential crimes and harm.

Domestic Violence Convictions

Convictions related to domestic violence also play a significant role. Federal laws prohibit individuals with these convictions from owning firearms to protect potential victims from future violence.

We should also note that certain circumstances, such as access to a firearm obtained through unlawful entry, can influence the legality of firearm possession. Understanding these factors can help keep people compliant with Maryland’s laws and enhance community safety. 

For an in-depth understanding of these regulations, we invite you to look at our blog entry titled What Every Gun Owner Should Know About Maryland Gun Laws. There, you’ll find essential legal frameworks that guide these rules and their application.

Consequences and Penalties

Possessing a firearm unlawfully in Maryland carries serious consequences. The penalties may include up to five years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000, or both, according to Maryland Gun Laws. Each violation is treated as a separate crime, which can significantly increase the severity of penalties.

The punishment might be less severe for first-time offenders, yet it still involves substantial consequences. Repeat offenders, however, face harsher penalties, including longer imprisonment terms and higher fines. The seriousness of the violation can lead to felony charges, impacting various aspects of life.

Moreover, any firearm possession that breaks Maryland law, particularly under Section 4-104, means the state overrides any local rules. This uniformity ensures that everyone faces the same penalties statewide.

Penalties are not just limited to time in prison or fines. Convicted individuals may also lose certain rights, such as the ability to own firearms in the future, which can have significant personal and professional impacts. So, legal representation is crucial for those facing charges of illegal possession. An attorney can help people face the complexities and possibly reduce the sentence. 

Defenses Against Unlawful Possession Charges

Being charged with unlawful firearm possession can be daunting. However, several strong defenses can challenge these charges.

Lack of Knowledge

If the accused did not know they had the firearm, this can be a valid argument. Evidence must show that the possession was unaware and accidental.

According to the US Supreme Court, “the government ‘must show that the defendant knew he possessed a firearm and also that he knew he had the relevant status when he possessed it’ in order for the defendant to be found guilty of an offense.” 

Improper Search and Seizure

If law enforcement violated the Fourth Amendment during the search, any evidence found might be inadmissible, which could result in the dismissal of the case.

Ownership Disputes

Just because someone was near a firearm doesn’t mean they owned or controlled it. Proving that the weapon belonged to someone else can be essential.

General Considerations

In Maryland, lawful possession under specific circumstances may also be a defense. State statutes, such as those under §5–133 Article – Public Safety, can provide exceptions for certain situations. Finally, a mistake of fact can be argued. If there was a genuine mistake about a critical fact, such as believing the gun was legally acquired, people could use this as a defense.

Each case is unique, and these defenses might vary based on the details of the incident. Our experienced lawyers can navigate these complexities to provide the best defense.

How MD Crim Lawyer Can Help

Have you been charged with unlawful possession of a firearm in Maryland? At Scrofano Law PC, we can help. Our attorneys have experience with Maryland gun laws. Knowledge of specific statutes and past case rulings will help us craft a strong defense for your case. We’re prepared to guide you through the complexities of Maryland’s legal system. This includes explaining the charges against you, potential penalties, and your rights.

We believe that effective representation in court is crucial. So, we’ll advocate on your behalf, challenging evidence and questioning witnesses to build a solid defense strategy. Ensuring your rights are protected is a top priority for us. We ensure that law enforcement follows legal procedures, and we’re prepared to challenge any violations that may have occurred.

Navigating the legal system can be overwhelming. Our legal team aims to provide comprehensive support and robust defense for all clients facing firearm charges in Maryland. 

If you are facing a firearm charge, don’t hesitate to reach out for a consultation. Legal representation is crucial, and we are here to help.


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Paolo Gnocchi is an excellent attorney. He offered sound advice and thoroughly explained the court process. If you are looking for professional representation and a reliable attorney that will advocate for you, Paolo is your guy. Joseph Scrofano and his team are all dedicated individuals. Hopefully I never need a criminal defense attorney again LOL, but if I do, Scrofano Law would be my choice!


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- 99% of cases that go court in DC end in convictions
- Last year there were 120 cases in DC and the conviction rate was 100%

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When you need someone that will fight for you and can actually win, Joe is the guy!!

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