Unlicensed possession of a firearm is an offense that can trigger many additional penalties on top of the charge of simple possession. Those include sentencing enhancements for unlicensed possession while not at home or work, carrying a loaded firearm, possessing a firearm as an armed career criminal, and possessing an unlicensed firearm during the commission of a felony.
For whatever reason, it is very uncommon for people to be charged with the offense of possessing a firearm during the commission of a felony, even where a firearm is used during an assault or a robbery. Instead, almost withou exception, the felony at issue is the possession with the intent to distribute a controlled substance. Bringing this additional charge strengthens the prosecutor's hand because most drug offenes carry mandatory minimums that are lower than the five year mandatory minimum that possessing a fiream in a felony calls for. By bringing this additional charge, prosecutors can increase the stakes in a case where the defendant might otherwise have a chance to go to trial and argue that the drugs the police found were someone else's.
Where the Commonwealth brings charges for possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, it is very important to find an experienced attorney who knows how to challenge the basis for the search that resulted in the police finding the gun in the first place, and moving to suppress that evidence.
If you, or someone you know, has been charged with a criminal offense in Massachusetts, contact my office today to schedule a free and confidential consultation.