Firearms or Weapons offences

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What are a Firearms or Weapons offences ?

Without a licence or exemption, it is illegal to possess or use firearms or weapons or to carry ordinary items for use as a weapon in NSW.

Case law/Jurisdiction

Pursuant to section 7A of the Firearms Act 1996 (NSW) a person must not possess a firearm unless the person has a licence or permit to do so. A person is only permitted to possess a firearm within the category of licence held.

The Law

The Firearms Act 1996 (NSW) requires anyone who wants to own, possess, or carry a firearm, including handguns and long arms, to obtain a licence.

The Weapons Prohibition Act 1998 (NSW) prohibits anyone from use, possession, buying, selling, carrying or manufacturing a weapon (unless they have a valid permit)

Outlawed weapons

Firearm/s

Tasers

Butterfly knives

Flick knives

Swords

Throwing stars

Military-style weapons

Knuckle dusters (brass knuckles)

Extendable batons

Slingshots

Imitation firearms

Spear gun/s

Crossbow (or any similar device)

Blow-gun or blow-pipe

Any dart capable of being projected from a blow-gun or blow-pipe.

A whip (also known as a cat-o’-nine-tails)

Kung fu sticks or “nunchaku”

A baton or any other similar article

A sap glove, A studded glove, or any other similar article

Anti-personnel spray and that can discharge any irritant

Any acoustic or light-emitting anti-personnel device which can cause permanent or temporary incapacity or disorientate persons.

Any object that substantially duplicates in appearance a weapon (but not if it is a children’s toy)

A Bowen Knife Belt or any other similar article

Body armour vests (or other similar article)

Handcuffs

Silencers or any other device designed for attachment to a firearm

What must the prosecution prove?

Since Firearms and weapons is a criminal offence, the burden of proof lies on the Prosecution.

The prosecution must prove the Accused’s guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

That is a high standard of proof that the prosecution must achieve before someone can be convicted of Firearms or Weapons possession.

To establish Firearms or Weapons possession, the prosecution must prove each of the following matters beyond reasonable doubt:

That you were in possession of or using a:

  • Prohibited firearm; or Pistol; or Weapon
  • And either of the following:
  • You did not have a licence to do so; or
  • You had a licence, but you were using or possessing a firearm or weapon in a way that contravenes a condition of your licence; or
  • You had a firearm or weapon licence but were using the firearm or weapon otherwise than for the purpose established by you as being the genuine reason for possessing or using the firearm/weapon.

If you are charged with the offence of POSSESSION OF FIREARM OR WEAPON what are your options?

National Criminal Lawyers have been successful in defending a number of Firearms/Weapons charges where the prosecution could not establish each of the elements. We have also achieved a number of non-convictions for Firearm/Weapon charges.

NCL offer the following options for those who have been charged with Firearms or weapons offences;

  1. We will negotiate with prosecutors (police or DPP) (a term referred to as “plea negotiations”) to request that the charge is withdrawn, downgraded or fact sheets amended;
  2. NCL will Plead Not Guilty and go to hearing/trial and persuade the Court that prosecution has not proven its case beyond reasonable doubt;
  3. Plead guilty to the elements of the charge and then dispute the facts (at a special “disputed facts” hearing) with the view of having you sentenced less harshly; and/or
  4. Plead guilty with full acceptance of the facts as set out by the police and make strong submissions on your behalf requesting that the Court not record a criminal conviction.

Pleading Guilty

If you agree that you have committed the offence and the police are able to prove all the elements of the offence, it is best to plead guilty at an early opportunity to receive the maximum discount. Currently the maximum discount available for an early plea of guilty is 25% of the sentence.

Furthermore, the early guilty plea shows the Court that you have remorse and contrition for your actions.

Our Lawyers at National Criminal Lawyers work closely with you to ensure that we obtain all necessary paper work at increasing the chances of obtaining the best result and/or a non-conviction or section 10.

Maximum Penalties

For possession of Weapons other than a firearm the maximum penalty of Imprisonment is 14 years.

For Firearms offences the maximum sentences depend on the nature of the firearm and are up to 14 years for the simplest possession. The maximums are even longer for individuals who are classified as “prohibited persons,” including those who have been convicted of serious crimes AND also higher again where there has been an unauthorised use of a Firearm.

The above penalties are reserved for the worse cases of offending.

Pleading Not Guilty

If you decide to plead not guilty you will need to prepare to go to a Defended Hearing.

A defended hearing is where all the witnesses of that case are called to give evidence. The witnesses are both examined by the prosecution and tested by your defence lawyers.

National Criminal Lawyers have defended numerous people charged with Firearms and Weapons offences and are experts at these hearings.

Defences

Sometimes the elements of ????? can be established however there also may exist a defence at law. Some of the possible defences available for those charged with ????? can include:

  • You had a licence that allowed you to possess the firearm or weapon;
  • You had a licence that allowed you to use the firearm or weapon in the manner that you were;
  • The firearm/weapon does not fall within the definition of a prohibited firearm or weapon.
  • You could not have reasonably been expected to know the firearm or weapon was in or on your house or car;
  • The firearm or weapon was brought into your car or home by someone who was lawfully authorised to possess it.
  • Duress-If you were compelled to act in a certain way due to the circumstances, or the threats of another you may be able to argue “Duress” Or
  • Necessity – If your actions were necessary to prevent a greater harm from occurring, you may have the defence of-Necessity.

Statistics

For Firearms matters 35% of offenders went to Prison, however 28% received a Bond.

39% of persons offenders received a fine, whereas 27% received a Bond.

Possible Penalty's

In NSW, a court can impose any of the following penalties for a Firearm/Weapons  charge.

  • Prison sentence
  • Home Detention
  • Intensive correction order (previously periodic detention)
  • Suspended sentence
  • Community service order (CSO)
  • Good behaviour bond
  • Fine
  • Section 10

However, from the 24 September 2018 new penalty’s will be replacing the above. They are as follows:

  • Full time Imprisonment
  • New ICO (ICO) with a home detention condition available
  • New Community Correction Order (CCO)
  • Fine
  • New Conditional release Order (CRO)

Case Studies

Our Senior Lawyer represented a client who was charged with possessing an imitation firearm. Without a licence or exemption, it is illegal to possess or use firearms or weapons or to carry ordinary items for use as a weapon in NSW.  The Firearms Act 1996 requires anyone who wants to own, possess, or carry a firearm, including handguns and long arms, and imitation weapons to obtain a licence. The Weapons Prohibition Act 1998 further prohibits anyone from use, possession, buying, selling, carrying or manufacturing a weapon (unless they have a valid permit). Outlawed Weapons include Imitation firearms unless it is a children’s toy. Although not sold as a children’s toy in Australia Our Senior Lawyer was able to engage an expert in the field of ballistic and weapons and source a report on the item in question. This expert report clearly came back that this was a children’s and albeit not for sale in Australia was a common toy produced and manufactured in China. Armed with this information Our Senior Lawyer wrote representations to the Prosecutors office and as a result the decision was made to discontinue the prosecution.

Why National Criminal Lawyers?

There are three reasons to choose National Criminal Lawyers:

1. We get the results

We are the experts in either beating or having criminal charges withdrawn AND/OR obtaining the least restrictive penalty available. This is because no matter which option you choose within our tailored Options at Law you will be dealing with experienced criminal lawyers who can make sure the evidence is not only obtained properly but also that your case is prepared and presented to the highest best practice standards possible. This is also done without breaking your pocket.

2. We give a Senior Defence Lawyer guarantee

No matter which option at law you choose, National Criminal Lawyers can guarantee that a Senior Defence Lawyer will represent you. This means that with our over 25 years of Combined criminal law experience you will get the best result possible.

3. National Criminal Lawyers are the best defenders of your rights

At National Criminal Lawyers we know that Criminal Law is a matter of Human Rights. For this reason, we take pride and passion in representing our clients. This pride and passion to assist those charged with an alleged or actual breach of the criminal law is to us a matter of righteous necessity and in that sense, you can always rest assured that National Criminal Lawyers are the best defenders of your rights. This true not only when the police have just simply got it wrong OR if they have got it right then we can speak with you and make sure you get you the best result available.

If you have been charged with any Firearms or Weapons offence our Team and National Criminal Lawyers are well versed and specialists in having charges either withdrawn and otherwise achieving favourable outcomes.

Please contact our office on 02 9893 1889 or visit www.nationalcriminallawyers.com.au for more information about your options

Book your first free appointment with National Criminal lawyers now.
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