What is the offence of possess prohibited firearm?
The offence of Possess prohibited firearm is found at section 7 of the Firearms Act 1996.
Possess prohibited firearm offences are often successfully defended where the firearm is not found in the immediate custody of a person as it is difficult for police to prove a person knew a firearm was in an area or vehicle used by more than one person. It may also be possible to dispute possession of a weapon where DNA or fingerprints are in dispute or located elsewhere than on the firearm itself.
If you are charged with the offence of Possess prohibited firearm, your options will normally be to plead guilty or not guilty.
Pleading not guilty
You will be found not guilty of the offence of Possess prohibited firearm if the police cannot prove beyond reasonable doubt:
- You knowingly possessed or used a prohibited firearm/pistol.
- You were not authorised to do so by a licence or permit.
Possession of a firearm includes any case in which a person knowingly has custody of the firearm, or has the firearm in the custody of another person, or has the firearm in or on any premises, place, vehicle, vessel or aircraft, whether or not belonging to or occupied by the person.
Where the police allege you had exclusive possession of a pistol but the pistol is found in a communal place, police must negate possession on the part of any other person, e.g. other occupants of the house which you live or in a car to which multiple people had access.
If the police are able to prove the above elements beyond reasonable doubt, you will still be found not guilty if any of the following defences can be established:
Contact our offices at Sydney, Parramatta, Blacktown and Redfern to organise a time for one of our criminal lawyers to advise you of your prospects of successfully defending the charge of Possess prohibited firearm.
If you agree that you have committed the offence (and the police are able to prove so), it is best to plead guilty as you will normally receive a discount on sentence and it will demonstrate remorse and contrition. Alternatively, it may be the case that one of our experienced solicitors can negotiate with prosecutors for you to plead guilty to less serious facts or even a less serious charge.
Possess prohibited firearm is a serious criminal offence and sentences will often reflect the danger it has been held that firearms pose to the community. Nonetheless, the type of firearm e.g. a replica pistol compared to a Glock, and circumstances in which a person had possession of the weapon e.g. as a consequence of a family member in contrast to for criminal activity, will have a bearing on the sentence. It is possible to avoid full time imprisonment for a charge of this nature. In sentencing an offender the court will take into account the likelihood that the firearm may fall into the hands of criminals or be used in connection with serious criminal activity, whether the weapon was loaded or concealed, and whether it had any legitimate use in determining the appropriate sentence.
Possess prohibited firearm, carries a maximum penalty of 2 years imprisonment and/or a fine of $5,500.00 in the Local Court and 14 years imprisonment in the District Court; however, these penalties are typically reserved for the worst offenders. Possess prohibited firearm is an extremely serious offence and carries a standard non parole period. If you are charged with Possess prohibited firearm you should contact our office immediately.
Penalties that a court can impose in NSW are:
- Section 10 – No conviction recorded
- Section 9 – Good behaviour bond
- Community service order
- Section 12 – Suspended sentence
- Intensive correction order
- Home detention
- Full time imprisonment
Why choose AC Law Group?
Our solicitors are experts at obtaining the best outcome possible for firearms offences. For these offences, a good lawyer can be the difference between a conviction and no criminal record and freedom or gaol. To read more about AC Law Group, click here.
To discuss your firearm charge, call AC Law Group at our Sydney, Parramatta, Blacktown and Redfern offices or make a website inquiry today.
Joseph Correy represented a client was charged with possessing a 9mm pistol. The case against him involved significant amounts of intercepted phone calls in which he was heard sourcing the firearm. Mr Correy obtained additional calls, not initially disclosed by the police, which demonstrated that our client was in fear for his safety at the time he sort to obtain the firearm. Further, police records of a home invasion against him were obtained. The sentencing judge found that our client was under significant stress at the time he sourced the pistol and did not send him to gaol.