Pennsylvania Violation of the Uniform Firearm’s Act – Section 6106-The Difference between a felony and misdemeanor charge
Our criminal defense law firm based in Philadelphia, with a 2nd office in Moorestown, New Jersey, frequently defends those charged with violations of the Uniform Firearms Act in Pennsylvania. Typically our office handles matters pertaining to Section 6105 (Possession of a firearm by a prohibited person), 6106 (Possession without a License), 6108 (Possession of a Firearm without a License in Philadelphia), and 6110.2 (Possession of a firearm with and altered manufacturer serial number). This blog article focuses on the offense of Section 6106, which is the possession of a firearm without a license.
The Burden Is On The Prosecution In Any illegal Gun or Firearm Case
Unlike the charge of Section 6105, the prosecution (Commonwealth) must establish more than just the mere possession of the handgun or firearm, but that the individual did not possess a permit to carry the weapon outside of their home or place of business. I have written a previous article on the proposed Universal Carry, which could dramatically affect this section of Pennsylvania’s Crime Code. Universal Carry Law has currently passed the US House of Representatives and is now in the Senate for approval. Please read that article for more information on this topic.
Section 6106 Criminal Offense – Felony Charge in Pennsylvania
In most situations, a person who violates Section 6106 faces a felony of the 3rd degree charge if the Commonwealth proves beyond a reasonable doubt that the individual was in actual or constructive possession of the firearm, outside of their home or place of business without a permit to do so. Remember that there is a major difference between a felony and a misdemeanor charge in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. A felony charge not only subjects a person to a possible state prison sentence but will in most cases hinder a person’s ability to advance in their career or even in certain academic programs.
Section 6106 Criminal Offense – Misdemeanor Charge in Pennsylvania
There is a 2nd part of Section 6106 (6106 (a) (2)), which permits the prosecution to charge this offense as a misdemeanor. On its face, it appears that an individual who is otherwise eligible to possess a firearm, but who carries one in a vehicle or outside of their home or place of business, faces a misdemeanor charge. Keep in mind, a person will only face this misdemeanor charge where he or she does not face any contemporaneous criminal offenses. In most situations where a person is charged under Section 6106, they face additional charges under Section 6108 (carrying a firearm in public on the streets of Philadelphia), possession of an instrument of crime (where a person possesses the handgun with the intent of to employ it criminally, a misdemeanor of the 1st degree).
The bottom line is if you are charged under Section 6106 you will more than likely face a felony offense and a possible conviction, which could subject you to state prison. For more information on gun offenses in Pennsylvania I encourage you to read my book, What Everyone Should Know About Guns, Drugs, and Defense Lawyers in Pennsylvania. This is a comprehensive guide which provides information not only on criminal trial strategies but also pre-trial motions to suppress evidence, which are often the strongest arguments in cases pertaining to illegal guns and firearms.