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Firearm Offences

Firearm Offences

What constitutes a firearm offence?

Firearms are defined by the Firearms 1968 Act as "a lethal barrelled weapon of any description from which any shot, bullet or other missile can be discharged".

Firearm offences include:

1) Possession of Firearms by Adults
Possession of a firearm without a valid certificate is a criminal offence. If tried in the magistrates court it carries a maximum sentence of 6 months imprisonment/maximum fine. If tried in the Crown Court the offence carries a maximum sentence of 7 years imprisonment/£5000 fine.

2) Criminal Use of Firearms

The Firearms Act 1968 covers the possession of a firearm or imitation firearm with the following intentions:

  • To endanger the life of someone else (maximum sentence 10 years imprisonment);
  • To cause the victim to fear violence (maximum sentence life imprisonment);
  • To resist lawful arrest or prevent the lawful arrest of another person (life imprisonment);
  • To commit an indictable offence (life imprisonment).

Possessing a firearm (loaded or unloaded) along with ammunition and entering a public place without lawful authority or reasonable justification is also classed as a criminal use of firearms and carries a maximum sentence of seven years imprisonment.Sentencing varies depending on the type of weapon involved, previous convictions of the accused and a variety of other aggravating and mitigating factors. Some firearm offences carry a minimum penalty due to their potential impact and danger they pose. These offences are commonly dealt with in the Crown Court due to their serious nature.

How can a Solicitor Assist?

At ULA Solicitors we are dedicated to providing clear advice to you in order to ensure that you receive the best possible outcome. This may be to advise at the police station which reduces the chances of you further incriminating yourself, or whether it be the advice of pleading guilty early in order to allow for a 25% reduction in sentence, or getting you an experienced barrister to ensure that you have the best chance if your matter was to proceed to trial. We will always listen to our client's instructions and act in accordance with these and their best interest.

Fees?

As with other criminal law matters the government provides funding by way of legal aid. This is the same in the instance where the individual is charged in relation to a firearms offence. Again, the individual would have to qualify for legal aid on two grounds. Firstly, their disposable income must be below a certain amount; secondly it must be in the interests of justice that they be represented. With such offences, as they carry lengthy custodial sentences the individual would most definitely satisfy the latter criterion.

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