Unauthorised Possession Of Firearm In Aggravated Circumstances – s 51D Firearms Act

Charged with an offence of unauthorised possession of firearms in aggravated circumstances can effect your life. Our criminal defence lawyers are experts in firearms offences with over 20 years experience in proving their clients innocence, getting charges dropped early, and achieving non convictions for their clients. Speak to them now for realistic, practical advice.

Your Options in Court

You can only be found guilty to the offence of unauthorised possession of firearms in aggravated circumstances if police can prove each of the following elements of the charge beyond reasonable doubt:

  • You were in possession of more than 3 firearms, pistol or prohibited firearms; and
  • You did not have a licence or permit to posses them; and
  • The firearms were not registered

You will be found not guilty, and the charge dismissed if police are unable to prove even one of the above elements of the offence in court.

Defences to this charge

You will be Not Guilty if:

  • You were in possession of less than 3 firearms.
  • Mistake: you held an honest belief that you had a valid licence or permit to possess the firearms. That belief must be in circumstances it can be considered reasonable to have held that belief.
  • Self defence: you possessed the firearms because you believed it was necessary to protect yourself, property or another person, in circumstances your belief is considered to be reasonably held by the court in circumstances perceived by you.
  • The firearms were in fact registered.
  • Duress or Necessity: Where you were forced to possess the firearms, or where you possessed it to prevent serious harm.

If any one of those common defences apply to your case, you will be found not guilty, and the charge will be dismissed in court.

Our expert firearms lawyers will carefully select the best defence to your case, with their expertise they will thoroughly prepare and strengthen it early, to maximise your chances at proving your innocence. With proven success over 20 years of achieving this, they are specialists in knowing exactly how to put you in the best position to convince police to drop your charge early.

If pleading guilty to an offence of unauthorised possession of firearm in aggravated circumstances, it’s highly advised to speak to an expert firearms lawyer for best chances at avoiding prison and a criminal record. See below on critical tips on how to best prepare your case to put yourself in the best position.

25% Discount on punishment

You will receive a 25% discount on your punishment by entering a plea of guilty to the offence of unauthorised possession of firearm in aggravated circumstances. This will result in a more lenient, better outcome in court.

The later the plea of guilty is entered, the less the discount gets. This is why it’s important to get advice as early as possible in your case by an experienced firearms expert lawyer.

Good character references

Good character references are letters from family, friends, work, charity, even a letter of apology from you, all reduced to writing for the Judge to read about your good character, expressions of your shame, remorse, and your insight into your offending conduct. This then allows the Judge to give you a more lenient outcome, and better result.

Our senior lawyers will guide you through the entire process to ensure each letter is fit to give to the Judge.

Negotiate to drop charges

By analysing the police evidence carefully, an experienced firearms lawyer can successfully point out all the issues in the evidence, and use it to convince police to drop or downgrade your firearms charge early in the case.

Our experienced lawyers specialise in getting charges dropped early, and have successfully achieved this outcome for many of their clients for over 20 years.

Negotiate facts

By analysing the police evidence, picking all the problems in it, and using this to negotiate with police, our firearms lawyers often successfully convince police to change the police set of facts in a way that puts their clients in a much better light when the Judge reads it. This more often than not, results in a much better and lenient outcome in court.

The police set of facts, is a typed document by police, expressing the conduct which you have pleaded guilty to. The Judge reads this when considering a suitable punishment. It’s important to change this if it doesn’t accurately reflect the truth, especially if it makes you sound worse.

Psychologist reports

A powerful court report from a well respected and experienced psychologist or psychiatrist can significantly improve your court result with a much lighter punishment. The chances of this occurring is maximised if the report comments on your state of mind, explanation of your behaviour, remorse, insight and shame for the Judge to read.

Our senior lawyers will hand select the best suited psychologist or psychiatrist to your case, and will ensure that it refers to the above main points before handed to the Judge.

Maximum penalty

If your offence is s51D(1) of possessing more than 3 firearms, the maximum punishment is a term of imprisonment of up to 10 years if in the District Court. If dealt with in the Local Court, the maximum is up to 2 years.

If your offence is s51D(2) of possessing more than 3 pistols or prohibited firearms, the maximum punishment is a term of up to 20 years imprisonment, and can only be dealt with in the District Court, not Local Court.

Keep in mind, however, that those maximums are not normally imposed by Courts. They are only given to the most extreme cases.

Types of penalties

The Judge will give you any one of the following types of punishment. This will depend on your preparation and presentation in court, as highlighted in the above points:

  1. Section 10 Dismissal
  2. Conditional Release Order
  3. Fine
  4. Community Correction Order
  5. Intensive Correction Order
  6. Full Time Imprisonment

To maximise your chances at avoiding a criminal record and prison, speak to one of our experienced criminal defence lawyers for realistic and practical advice and guidance. They have specialised in firearms offences for over 20 years, and know exactly how to best prepare and present your case to the Judge.