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Possession or sale of weapons may lead to a misdemeanor charge

On Behalf of | Feb 20, 2024 | Criminal Defense

In prioritizing public safety, Pennsylvania maintains strict laws about prohibited weapons. These laws aim to prevent the misuse of potentially harmful objects and maintain peace within communities. Anyone violating these laws faces serious consequences, which extend beyond fines to include penalties and potential jail time.

The crime of offensive weapon possession

State laws encompass more than the manufacturing, repairing or selling of offensive weapons. Possession alone is a crime. Offensive weapons, as defined by Pennsylvania law, are weapons designed to inflict serious bodily harm and serve no common lawful purpose. Specific examples of these weapons are:

  • Bombs
  • Grenades
  • Machine guns
  • Sawed-off shotguns with a barrel less than 18 inches
  • Firearms customized for concealment or silent discharge

Unauthorized possession, use or dealing with these weapons can lead to criminal charges.

A misdemeanor charge

Anyone found with any offensive weapon may face a first-degree misdemeanor charge. This is a matter of serious concern. The implications of such a charge can be significant, leading not only to potential jail time and fines but also to a permanent criminal record. This record can affect numerous aspects of a person’s life in the long term, from job opportunities and housing applications to certain rights such as voting or firearm possession.

Potential defenses for such a charge

The legal consequences are certainly significant. But, the law does allow certain defenses for such a charge. If a person possesses the weapon only as a collector’s item or for a theatrical performance, these could serve as valid defenses. Holding an offensive weapon after finding it or removing it from an aggressor can also act as a defense. Understanding and correctly applying these defenses is crucial for anyone facing such charges. Despite the initial charge, a person may have options to mitigate the potential consequences or dispute the charges. However, this process requires knowledge of the legal system. So, consulting a criminal defense lawyer could be beneficial, as they can provide guidance and support during this process.