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Firearms Crime Lawyers, London

If you are accused of committing a criminal offence involving firearms, it is vital that you get the support of expert criminal defence lawyers at the earliest stage.

With authorities taking a ‘zero-tolerance' approach concerning the possession of firearms, having the best possible legal representation is essential. At Saunders Law, our solicitors have a proven track record of successfully acting on behalf of clients who find themselves in this position. With over 40 years of experience and knowledge in this area, we are exceptionally placed to help guide you through every stage, ensuring that your position is protected.

Our firearms solicitors will work tirelessly on your behalf to make sure that any investigations carried out by the police are conducted in a fair and proper manner. We will always endeavour to keep you fully informed of any developments as investigations progress, providing clear, pragmatic, straightforward advice throughout. Our criminal defence solicitors will attend at police interviews and, if any charges are forthcoming, will represent you during court proceedings. If your case requires, we can call on the services of leading criminal defence barristers to help you offer the most robust defence possible.

Speak with one of our firearms crime solicitors today for immediate and confidential advice.

What firearms offences might I be charged with?

Some of the most commonly charged firearms offences include:

  • Illegal possession of a firearm
  • Possession of an imitation firearm
  • Criminal use of a firearm
  • Illegal conversion of weapons
  • Possession of deactivated or antique weapons
  • Illegal importation of weapons

The Firearms Act 1968

Many firearms offences will be charged under the Firearms Act 1968. Section 1 of the Act makes it a crime to possess a firearm or certain types of ammunition if you do not hold a certificate permitting you to do so. A crucial point to remember is that to be charged with possession of a firearm, you don't necessarily need to know that you have a firearm in your possession. You can be convicted of this offence if the prosecution can show that you knew you had something in your possession, and that item turned out to be a weapon or ammunition as detailed in the 1968 Act.

Other offences that may be charged under the Firearms Act include:

Possession of a firearm with the intent to cause fear of violence

The critical word here is ‘intent' – you don't need to have caused harm to another person to be convicted of this offence.

Possession of a firearm with the intent to cause violence

Again, a conviction is not dependent on someone actually fearing that they will suffer violence – showing intent will be sufficient.

Possession of firearms by a person previously convicted of a crime

There are specific restrictions on people who have prior criminal convictions owning firearms – if you have served a prison sentence of three years or more, then you will not be allowed to possess a firearm. Doing so will be an offence, and you may be subject to criminal charges as a result. In many cases, there will be restrictions on firearms ownership for a period of five years following any period spent detained in prison.

What is defined as a ‘firearm'?

The legal definition of a firearm is found in the Firearms Act 1968. It is described as "a lethal barrelled weapon of any description from which any shot, bullet or other missile can be discharged".

While this may seem like a reasonably clear description of a firearm, there are other items that, if found in your possession, may result in you being charged with firearms offences. These include individual component parts of a weapon or accessories that can be used to adapt or reduce the noise made by a weapon when it is fired.

Mandatory minimum sentencing

In an attempt to tackle gun crime, mandatory minimum sentencing was brought in so that anyone convicted of possessing a firearm, as described in Section 5 of the Firearms Act, will be required to serve a prison sentence of at least five years. This includes weapons such as handguns, self-loading shotguns and short-barrelled rifles. For those aged 16 or 17 years, the mandatory minimum sentence for firearms offences is three years.

It is important to remember that, while a guilty plea in relation to other crimes can result in a reduced prison sentence, this will not be the case for firearms offences – the court has to follow the mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines. Judges will only deviate from this in "exceptional circumstance" – this could relate to a fact about the case or the person committing the offence. In situations such as these, it is vitally important to speak with an experienced criminal defence solicitor for advice and guidance.

Why is it important to seek legal advice immediately if I have been accused of a firearms offence?

If the police believe you have committed a criminal offence, they will arrest you and take you to a police station to conduct a recorded interview, at which point you will be given a chance to provide your account of the events leading to your arrest. The evidence gathered at this early stage, including the answers you give during police interviews, will be hugely important to prosecutors when it comes to deciding whether you will be charged. Having legal representation at this time is vital in enabling you to make informed decisions so that your interests are protected in the long run.

The firearms crimes solicitors at Saunders Law are hugely skilled and knowledgeable when it comes to advising clients in this position. We will begin developing your defence immediately and can instruct expert witnesses analyse evidence that the prosecution may wish to rely on in support of this. With the heavy penalties to be paid following a conviction, you need the best legal advice possible from the outset of your case.

Contact our Firearms Crimes Lawyers in London

From the first interview through to trial, Saunders' criminal defence solicitors can provide you with comprehensive, exceptionally strategic legal advice. Call us today on 02076324300 or enquire online.

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