Federal Gun Charge: What It Is and What You Need to Know

If you’re facing a federal gun charge in Virginia, Northern Virginia, DC and Maryland, it is important to hire a competent lawyer from Scrofano Law PC. We can provide the representation you need. Call us today.

Federal Gun Laws

If you’re facing a federal gun charge, it’s important to understand the potential consequences. Learn more about federal gun charges here.

A federal gun charge is something you never want to face. As a law-abiding citizen, the last thing you want to do is to wind up in a federal court. But, should that happen, what are your options?

Here are facts about gun charges under federal gun laws you should be aware of!


A Federal Gun Crime is Not the Same as a State Gun Charge

Many people do not realize that there are two different laws concerning gun crimes: federal and state. Federal gun charges refer to charges imposed by federal prosecutors, while state gun charges refer to charges imposed by the state where you live.

It is important to note that federal gun charges are subject to stiffer sentences than state gun charges. This is why you must contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible for advice if you have federal firearm charges against you.

What Is a Federal Gun Charge?


Federal gun charges are crimes that involve the illegal possession or use of a firearm. It can be either a violent crime or a non-violent offense.

Violent federal gun charges include illegal firearm possession, unlawful possession by a felon, and a felon in possession of a firearm. Convicted felons are charged under federal criminal law.

Non-violent federal gun charges include the unlawful sale of a firearm, unlawful transfer, and straw purchase.

A convicted felon with stolen gun charges requires an experienced federal defense attorney, or they may end up in federal prison.


Federal Gun Charge Meaning and Types

The penalties for committing this type of crime can be severe.

If you have committed a federal offense, the court will sentence you to prison, and you don’t want to have that on your record. As a result, you might lose your right to own firearms and carry them in public and your right to vote under the Armed Career Criminal Act.

If you want to get your firearm rights back, you will need a gun lawyer to help fight the charges against you so you don’t get a felony conviction on your record.

But if you get caught with a gun, the chances are pretty good that you will be charged with a federal felony. And suppose you are arrested with a gun connected to any drug trafficking offense. In that case, the police will initially charge you with both violations — even if it turns out later that the weapon was not used in connection with any drug crime.

The most common federal gun crimes are being found in possession of a firearm concerning controlled substance crimes (making or selling drugs) and possession of firearms during an illegal drug transaction (selling drugs). This will likely subject you to a mandatory minimum sentence of up to ten years.

How Much Time Do You Get for a Gun Charge in New York?


In general, federal charges are more severe than state charges. In addition, most federal crimes come with mandatory minimum sentences — meaning that judges have no leeway in how many years you must serve in prison.

A person may be convicted of a federal gun crime if they:

  • Possess or carry a firearm during the commission of another federal felony or drug trafficking crime;

  • Possess an illegal firearm or explosive device;

  • Transport firearms or ammunition in interstate commerce with the intent to commit a felony;

  • Possess a firearm while subject to a court order restraining them from harassing, stalking, or threatening a child of an intimate partner or the partner.


What is the Average Sentence for a Federal Gun Charge?

The most common federal weapons charges are for possessing a firearm by a felon or someone otherwise prohibited from possessing one. Penalties for such crimes range from 10 years to life in prison, but the exact penalty varies based on the precise circumstances.

Time behind bars may also depend on the strength of the case against the defendant and how they handle it. For example, someone who admits guilt and cooperates with the government can expect a shorter sentence than someone who fights the charge and loses.

Federal Gun Charges Guidelines


To convict for a gun charge, the law requires the government to prove three things beyond a reasonable doubt:

1. That you committed the underlying offense;

2. That you possessed, carried, or used a firearm during and about the commission of the offense; and

3. The possession, carrying, or use was knowing and willful.


Unlawful Sale of a Firearm

The unlawful sale of firearms involves the transfer of a firearm from one person to another without going through a federally licensed firearms dealer. One common way that this occurs is when guns are purchased at gun shows.

Some weapons are illegal to sell, such as machine guns and sawed-off shotguns. Selling guns to people who are not allowed to possess them, such as a minor or a convicted felon, is also illegal.

Penalties for the unlawful sale of firearms depend on the type of weapon sold and to whom it was sold. Generally, the minimum sentence is five years in prison, but it can be as high as 10 years.

If you are facing federal gun charges, it is important to speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer who can help you navigate the complex legal system and protect your rights.

Federal Gun Charges Penalties


Being convicted of unlawful possession of guns does not have to result in maximum penalties. The judge will consider factors such as your criminal history and the circumstances of the offense when determining your sentence. Your federal defense gun lawyer can help you present your case in court to maximize the chances of a favorable outcome.

The consequences of getting charged with a gun offense vary depending on the charge and other factors. You will lose both your state and federal gun rights if you are convicted of a federal firearms offense.

As part of your sentence, you may be ordered to:

  • Pay a fine
  • Spend time in prison or jail
  • Complete supervised probation
  • Pay restitution


Can a Federal Gun Charge Be Expunged or Reduced Under Certain Circumstances?

Federal gun charges, often involving illegal firearms and violent crimes, are serious offenses under the United States Code, and addressing them requires navigating complex legal terrain. The possibility of expunging or reducing such a charge largely depends on the specifics of the case and the presence of factors like prior convictions.

Expungement of a federal gun charge is challenging, especially if the crime involved possessing firearms across state lines, firearms trafficking, or was accompanied by other violent crime. However, under certain circumstances, such as demonstrating rehabilitation or the presence of a legal error, there might be grounds for expungement or reduction.

Reduction of charges or sentences may be possible through plea bargains, where defendants might admit to lesser offenses in exchange for reduced penalties. This is particularly relevant in cases involving mandatory minimum sentences at the federal level. Additionally, making a compelling case for the absence of violent intent, lack of prior convictions, or being a non-habitual drug user can aid in charge reduction.

The role of law enforcement officers and the Federal Bureau of Investigation is crucial in these cases, as any discrepancies in their reports or false statements made can be grounds for challenging the charge. Similarly, if the accused was not a prohibited person under the 924 c section, such as a convicted domestic violence offender or illegally selling destructive devices, this could be a basis for reduction.

Engaging a licensed dealer and ensuring compliance with regulations, even in a school zone, can also be pivotal in building a defense. While the process is arduous, with the right legal representation, there is a possibility for individuals to seek and secure a favorable outcome, ensuring that their rights are upheld throughout the legal process.

Federal Crime Lawyer

To sum it up, always note that if you’re caught up in a gun charge with the Feds, you must reach out for help. You need an attorney who knows Federal law and can navigate these waters on your behalf.

Contact us today for a free consultation; we have years of experience dealing with firearms cases and can help you with yours!


We Fight for Your Rights!