Unauthorised Possession Or Use Of Firearms – s 7A Firearms Act
Faced with a charge of unauthorised possession or use of firearms is stressful. Our criminal defence lawyers specialise in firearms offences with over 20 years experience in successfully getting charges dropped early, and proving client’s innocence in court. Call now for realistic advice on how to maximise your chances at getting the best possible outcome.
Your Options in Court
PLEADING NOT GUILTY
You can only be found guilty to the offence of unauthorised possession or use of firearms if police can prove each of the following elements of the charge:
- You possessed or used a firearm; and
- You did this in a way you were not authorised to under your licence or permit; or
- You did not have a firearms licence at the time.
You will be found not guilty if police are unable to prove each of the above elements beyond reasonable doubt in court.
Defences to this charge
You will be Not Guilty if:
- You possessed or used the firearm for a genuine reason expressed in your firearms licence i.e. sport or target shooting, recreational hunting or pest animal control, business or employment such as police officer, or animal welfare such as RSPCA, or firearms collection
- You possessed or used the firearm in accordance with a permit allowing you to use or possess the firearm for film, theatrical or artistic purpose.
- You possessed or used the firearm believing it was necessary to protect yourself, in circumstances the court believes it was reasonable to have held that belief as perceived by you at the time. The same defence can apply if you were trying to protect property or someone else.
- Duress or Necessity: You possessed or used the firearm to stop serious injury or danger, or in circumstances you were threatened or forced to do it
Your charge will be dismissed, and you will be found not guilty if any one of the above defences apply to your case. Our expert firearms lawyers will be able to identify your best defence, and then maximise your chances at getting your charge dropped early. Known as leaders in firearms cases, our lawyers have a proven record of success for over 20 years.
If pleading guilty to an offence of unauthorised possession or use of firearms, to maximise your chances at avoiding prison or criminal record, see below for important tips on how to best prepare and present your case.
25% Discount on punishment
You will receive a much better result with a lighter outcome in court simply if you plead guilty to an offence of possessing or using an unauthorised firearm at an early enough stage of your case. This is because the law gives an automatic 25% discount upon an early plea.
The later a plea of guilty is entered, the less the discount becomes. For that reason it’s very crucial to get early and realistic advice for best chances at avoiding prison or a criminal record.
Good character references
Gathering good character reference letters for the Judge to read about your good character, remorse, shame and your understanding of why what you did was wrong, can allow the Judge to give you a lighter outcome, and better result.
These letters can be from yourself, family, work, charity and friend, and should express the above noted points for the Judge to read about you. Our senior lawyer will guide you.
Negotiate to drop charges
Your charge can potentially get dropped early in the case, or downgraded. This can occur by approaching, and negotiating with police only after analysing the police evidence, and pointing out all the holes in it. Our lawyers have successfully achieved this many times for over 20 years, and considered specialists in this field.
From carefully considering the police evidence, and then finding all the problems in it, you will have a better chance at negotiating with police to something more favourable to you, often resulting in a much better lenient result in court.
The police set of facts is read by the Judge expressing what you are pleading guilty to. It’s often normally drafted by police, and can paint a bad picture of you than it should. Our lawyers often change this set of facts to reflect the truth, putting their clients in a better light. This often creates a much better and lighter result in court.
A court report from a highly experienced psychologist or psychiatrist that is respected and recognised by the Judges can significantly improve your court result, giving a much lighter outcome. For best chances at achieving this, the report should express your remorse, insight, shame and whether you were suffering a metal illness. These facts, if expressed positively in a report, often allows for leniency.
Our lawyers only use the best known and respected psychologists and psychiatrists in Australia. We will hand pick the best suited one to your case.
The maximum punishment for an offence of the unauthorised possession or use of firearms is a term of imprisonment of up to 5 years if your case is heard in the District Court, or up to a maximum 2 years if it’s heard in the Local Court.
The maximum is rarely given, and only given to the most extreme serious cases.
Types of penalties
The Judge can give you any one of the following different types of punishment, depending on the above points in your preparation and presentation of your case:
- Section 10 Dismissal
- Conditional Release Order
- Community Correction Order
- Intensive Correction Order
- Full Time Imprisonment
Speak to one of our senior criminal lawyers for expert advice and guidance on firearms offences. They hold extensive experience and proven success on how to best maximise your chances at avoiding a criminal record, and prison.