Canadian courts treat gun possession offences very seriously. Pleading guilty or being convicted after trial can lead to a criminal record and even jail. If you believe you or a loved one may be charged with gun possession, a criminal offence, contact a criminal defence lawyer.
Factors that can determine penalties include, but are not limited to, the weapon the accused is alleged to have had in his or her possession, the reasons he or she had the weapon, and how the weapon was being used at the time of the arrest.
Mr. Melville has had many appearances at Surrey court and other British Columbia courts defending clients against firearms possession charges. To understand why many clients have chosen Dale Melville Law to fight against their weapons charges, read below.
Why You Should be Concerned About Prosecution
Gun violence is unfortunately at the forefront of Canadian society today. Punishments may include minimum prison sentences, restrictions on international travel, reduced career prospects, and many more.
Surrey gang violence has led to a strict, low-tolerance approach to allegations of gun possession and gun crimes, so you cannot take this issue lightly. Every illegal weapons case is treated with an additional level of scrutiny in BC courts.
I went from looking at 3-5 years and got out within 3 months of the day I was incarcerated. He was always respectful to my family and me.
– N.L., Google Review
What You Need to Know About Firearms and the Criminal Code
Canada’s Criminal Code stipulates, under sections 91 and 92, that it is against the law to have a restricted firearm, prohibited firearm, or non-restricted firearm unless you also possess a license allowing you to possess the firearm and/or a registration certificate.
What is a firearm?
The Criminal Code defines a firearm as a barrelled weapon that, when used to shoot, discharges a projectile at a certain speed that can lead to the serious bodily injury or even the death of a person. So, if you have a firearm in your possession and know that you legally may not be doing so, you can be found to be violating the law and risk being found guilty of an offence.
What are possible exceptions?
If you are charged with illegal possession of a firearm, there are exceptions that could lead to a not-guilty finding in a court of law. One example of this is if you find a firearm and dispose of it lawfully, such as by taking it to the police. Another example is if you are the lawful owner of the firearm and have the proper registration and licensing credentials to prove it.
How can you fight a weapons offence?
Fortunately, there are various ways that a skilled criminal lawyer can help you defend against a weapons charge. Here are some factors that can cause criminal charges being dismissed:
- If the restricted and prohibited weapon was found after an unlawful detention or illegal search, then the evidence may be excluded from use at trial.
- If the weapon was found in your bag, car, or house, but you did not have knowledge it was there, it is possible to be found not guilty at trial.
Gun possession offences are complex legal matters and the stakes are high, so you need a law firm on your side that will comb over the police report, critically assess how the authorities performed their duties, and look at any extenuating circumstances that might help you. When you contact an experienced gun possession lawyer in Surrey, you could expect sound legal advice and strong representation in the event that the Crown Prosecutor files charges.
What You Need to Know Firearms: 3 Types
It is also important to know about the firearms recognized by Canada’s Criminal Code. Knowing the categories will help you stay on the right side of the law. Section 84(1) includes three firearms classifications you need to be aware about. They include:
A prohibited firearm refers to a weapon that possesses a barrel of 105mm or less, or that is capable of firing bullets of 25 or 32 calibre. There are handguns of this type that are used during sporting competitions that abide by International Shooting Union rules. They are not against the law. Another type of prohibited firearm is a shotgun or rifle that has been modified so the firearm is less than 660mm in length or has a barrel shorter than of 457mm in length. Automatic firearms are also prohibited.
Firearms that are restricted include those that are not listed in the prohibited firearms group, those that have a barrel that is shorter than 470mm length-wise, those that can discharge centre-fire ammunition the way a semi-automatic gun can, those that can be fired when reduced to less than 660mm in length by telescoping or folding, and all other regulated firearms.
A non-restricted firearm is a shotgun or a rifle that is neither prohibited nor restricted. Generally, most long guns are on the non-restricted list. Examples of non-restricted guns include antique guns, firearms designed to be used to slaughter domesticated animals, and firearms intended for signalling like a flare gun or for firing blanks like a starter’s pistol.
What You Should Know About Penalties for Offences
The penalties vary widely for a guilty plea or conviction after trial, but jail is a very real possibility.
In addition, being convicted almost certainly means a criminal record. In Surrey BC, domestic violence cases sometimes involve weapons charges; if you believe you may be accused of this, you must contact a criminal defence lawyer immediately.
What to Do When You Need Help
If you are charged with possession of a restricted and prohibited weapon, you need to contact a criminal defence lawyer with relevant gun possession experience in Surrey. For a free consultation, contact Dale Melville Law at 604-265-7020.
We will advise you of your options and give you an honest assessment of the strength of your case. With so much at stake, you cannot afford to go with the first name you come across in a phone directory. We are here to help navigate the complex and potentially onerous legal process, so you achieve a satisfying outcome.