Mandatory Minimum Periods of Incarceration for Gun Charges
Connecticut has some of the most stringent gun laws in the country. You need a permit to carry a gun in Connecticut. Even if you have a permit from another state, you must obtain a Connecticut gun permit immediately. Connecticut also has mandatory background checks for people who wish to purchase a handgun or a long gun. It is illegal to possess a firearm if you have been convicted of a felony or are subject to a restraining order or protective order in the State of Connecticut.
If you violate these laws, you could face Connecticut gun crime charges, which carry a mandatory minimum sentence of two years in prison if you are convicted. You could also face federal firearm charges, which have even more severe mandatory minimum sentences if you are convicted.
What Is a Mandatory Minimum Sentence?
A mandatory minimum sentence requires that the judge sentence you to a prison term of at least a certain length if you are convicted of certain state or federal crimes.
Mandatory minimum sentences were initially passed to eliminate sentencing disparities and deter criminal activity. However, they prevent judges from considering an individual’s unique background and the circumstances of their offense and often result in unnecessarily long prison terms.
Mandatory Minimum Sentences for Connecticut Gun Crimes
Under Connecticut law, illegal possession of a firearm is a Class C felony, punishable by up to ten years in jail and a fine of up to $5,000. There is a two-year mandatory minimum prison sentence.
If you are charged with carrying a gun without a permit, you could be charged with possession or purchase of a handgun without a permit, which is a Class D felony, punishable by up to five years in jail and a fine of up to $5,000, with a mandatory minimum of two years in prison.
Mandatory Minimum Sentences Under Federal Firearms Laws
Penalties for federal gun crimes are more severe than those imposed for violations of state law. Federal gun charges are frequently filed under 18 U.S.C. §924(c) and 18 U.S.C. §924(e). Both of these statutes carry mandatory minimum sentences.
18 U.S.C. §924(c)
People facing federal firearm charges under 18 U.S.C. §924(c) for possessing a firearm in furtherance of a “crime of violence” are subject to a mandatory minimum penalty of at least five years in prison. That mandatory minimum sentence increases to seven years if the firearm was brandished and ten years if the firearm was discharged.
If the firearm was a short-barreled rifle, a short-barreled shotgun, or a semiautomatic assault weapon, the mandatory minimum sentence is ten years. If the weapon was a machinegun, destructive device, or was equipped with a silencer, the mandatory minimum is 30 years in prison.
The statute establishes a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years for each “second or subsequent conviction” for an offense under §924(c).
18 U.S.C. §924(e)
18 U.S.C. §924(c), known as the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA), requires a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison if a person has three or more convictions that qualify as either a “violent felony” or a “serious drug offense.”
Defenses to Connecticut Gun Charges
If you are facing gun charges in Connecticut, you face severe penalties that include mandatory prison time. An experienced gun crime defense lawyer can carefully analyze your case to identify weaknesses and negotiate for a reduction in charges or participation in a diversion program.
Illegal Search and Seizure
When placing someone under arrest, police must follow proper protocols and procedures and avoid violating a defendant’s constitutional rights. Illegally evidence obtained cannot be used to try to convict you. A careful analysis of the circumstances surrounding your arrest can lead to a motion to suppress evidence, which can result in evidence being excluded from consideration at trial.
When a firearm is found in a home or vehicle that multiple people can access, prosecutors mistakenly charge someone with illegal possession of a firearm even though the defendant did not actually possess the weapon. But in cases of constructive possession, there is often a genuine question as to whether the weapon belonged to you.
A skilled criminal defense attorney may be able to negotiate a reduction in charges that avoids a mandatory minimum sentence.
Depending on the circumstances of your arrest, you may be eligible to participate in a diversion program. Under Connecticut’s “Gun AR” program, a defendant is subject to certain restrictions for two years. Upon successful completion of the program, the gun charges will be dismissed.
Contact Stephen Lebedevitch for Defense Against Connecticut Weapons Charges
If you are facing Connecticut gun charges, experienced legal representation is crucial. Criminal defense attorney Stephen Lebedevitch has extensive experience defending people accused of gun crimes in courts throughout Connecticut.
To learn more, contact us today to schedule a confidential consultation to discuss your situation.