The North Carolina law for possession of a firearm by a felon is outlined in North Carolina General Statutes § 14-415.1. To summarize, it is unlawful for any convicted felon to purchase, own, possess, or have in his custody, care, or control a firearm. A firearm is any weapon that is designed or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive, its frame or receiver, or any firearm muffler or silencer.
To convict, there must be proof beyond a reasonable doubt that the felon owned, purchased, possessed, or controlled a firearm. This could be proven by evidence that the felon physically had the firearm or that the felon was in control of the firearm such that they could easily access it.
NC Sentencing and Punishment for Felony Possession of a Firearm
Per North Carolina law, it is a Class G felony for a person who has been convicted of a felony to possess, purchase, or receive a firearm. Under North Carolina General Statutes § 15A-1340.17A, a Class G felony has a potential prison sentence of between eight and thirty-one months, depending on the individual’s aggravating and mitigating factors. Aggravating factors could be the individual’s prior criminal record, whereas mitigating factors could include the lack of extensive criminal history, cooperation with law enforcement, and evidence of remorse. The consideration of these factors is typically at the discretion of the judge.
NC Defenses for Felony Possession of a Firearm
Potential grounds to challenge felony possession of a firearm could include: (1) illegal search and seizure, (2) the felon possessed the firearm for giving to law enforcement, (3) the firearm belonged to someone else, or (4) you were unaware of the firearm and did not knowingly possess it.
The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution protects against unreasonable searches and seizures. Generally, an officer needs either probable cause or reasonable suspicion to conduct a search and seizure. Reasonable suspicion is a lower standard than probable cause and only requires specific facts that would lead a reasonable officer to suspect that criminal activity was taking place; probable cause is when a reasonable officer, considering the totality of the circumstances, would believe a crime has been committed and that the person to be searched is the individual responsible. Each of the other grounds for challenging felony possession of a firearm would also require evidentiary support.
Restoration of Gun Rights
It is possible for a person charged with a felony to restore their right to possess a firearm. To do so, the individual must have only one single felony conviction that cannot have been a Class A, B1, B2, or lower-class violent felony. Violent felonies involve assault, use of a firearm or other deadly weapon, or required registration as a sex offender. Also, the individual must be a resident of North Carolina for at least one year, not have been convicted of certain misdemeanors, and must provide fingerprints to the county sheriff for a background check.
Contact an Expert Defense Attorney at King Law
If you have been charged with felony possession of a firearm, you may be feeling overwhelmed and unsure of your next steps. The experienced attorneys at King Law understand your stress and are dedicated to supporting you through this challenging ordeal. Our attorneys are proud to serve their clients in North Carolina and South Carolina and help them achieve favorable outcomes for their cases. Our award-winning team has a proven track record of success and is committed to protecting your rights and delivering the best possible results. To learn more about how our legal experts can help you, give us a call at (888) 748-KING (5464) or fill out our contact form today.