To carry a gun in Pennsylvania, you need to have a license and be at least 21 years old. While you may be aware of this, you are wondering what’s the penalty if you carry a firearm without a permit.
In PA, carrying a gun without a license is a criminal charge. You will face a 1st degree misdemeanor or a 3rd degree felony. As a misdemeanor, you could face 2.5 to 5 years in jail and a maximum fine of $10,000. As a felony, you risk 3.5 to 7 years prison time and a $15,000 maximum fine.
That said, it’s important to understand other potential consequences of carrying a firearm without a license, the exceptions to the rule, and how to obtain a firearm license in PA.
Misdemeanor Gun Charges
Charges for carrying a gun are a first-degree misdemeanor if:
- You were carrying a concealed firearm in your car or on your person without a license; and
- You didn’t commit any other criminal offenses; and
- You are eligible to obtain a license
As a 1st degree misdemeanor, you’ll face these potential penalties:
- A fine of up to $10,000
- 2 1/2 to 5 years jail time
Although misdemeanor charges are lesser than felony charges, they are serious enough to leave you with a criminal record. Therefore, defending your case with an experienced criminal defense lawyer like Derek Steenson should be your priority.
Felony Gun Charges
Charges for carrying a gun are considered a 3rd-degree felony if:
- You’re caught with a concealed firearm in your car or on your person without a valid license; and
- You’re not eligible for a firearm permit; or
- You’ve committed another criminal offense while carrying the concealed firearm
In these cases, you will receive a third-degree felony charge and potentially face these penalties:
- A fine of up to $15,000
- From 3 1/2 .to 7 years in jail
Felony charges will cause a bad stigma and leave a black mark on your criminal record. As a result, maintaining or receiving employment will be difficult. With the help of lawyers from Derek Steenson law firm, you can get your charges dismissed or reduced.
What Makes a Gun Charge Federal in PA?
Gun charges become federal when an individual is caught improperly buying, selling, using, or possessing a firearm across state lines.
Who Can Carry a Firearm Without a License in PA?
Some individuals exempt from conceal and carry violations include members of law enforcement, members of the U.S. military, and members of Pennsylvania or U.S organizations that are allowed to receive or purchase legal firearms.
Other exceptions to the firearm law include:
- Anyone inside of a target shooting range
- Anybody carrying an unloaded firearm that’s securely wrapped after repair, purchase, appraisal, or sale
- Anyone recovering the firearm as stolen property
- Any person training a dog during a standard training season
- Anyone moving from one office to another or one home to another
- Anyone in the business of manufacturing or repairing firearms usually carries an unloaded firearm for business purposes.
- Security or bank employees who are required to protect valuables or money
- Anybody licensed to hunt
- Any person instructed by authorities to relinquish firearms back to a specific location
- Any person carrying a firearm in a motor vehicle with a valid firearm license under another state or federal law which Pennsylvania accepts.
What Do You Do if You’re Charged with a Gun Crime in PA?
For gun charges in Pennsylvania and any crime connected to illegal possession of a firearm, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney.
It would be best if you didn’t talk with the prosecutors or police without having counsel present. Your verbal statements will often be taken out of their original context and used unfavorably in your case.
A licensed criminal defense attorney can examine issues and present defenses to your charge including:
- Whether a felony charge is provable or appropriate
- If the law enforcement officer had reasonable suspicion to search you
- Whether a license is needed in your situation
- Determine whether or not your case falls under any exceptions
- Determine whether you’re able to file a suppression motion to filter out evidence
Fighting the charges is crucial in protecting your way of life and freedom. Just because you have been charged with a specific crime doesn’t mean you have to accept the charge.
How Do I Apply for a License to Carry in PA?
Obtaining a license to carry a firearm in Pennsylvania isn’t difficult. However, it requires you to be 21 or older and have a clean criminal record. You should not have domestic violence crimes, aggravated assault charges, or a previous weapons offense on your record.
Visit your local county sheriff’s office to fill out the application. They will run a criminal background check and review your record. In addition, the office will confirm that you have no outstanding warrants or charges.
How Hiring a Criminal Lawyer in Philadelphia Can Help
The first step is consulting an experienced criminal lawyer who can investigate the evidence presented against you and prepare your defense. Derek Steenson, criminal attorney at law, can put the odds back in your favor.
We have handled many conceal and carry violation cases and would be happy to put our expertise and experience to work for you. We’ll create a solid defense and work to achieve the best possible outcome for your case.