Defending Memphis Gun Crimes
You could be facing jail time from eight to twelve years and become a convicted felon
Memphis gun crimes receive more attention than ever from both state and federal law enforcement. If a defendant is charged with a gun crime and a drug crime together, prosecutors have an assortment of different offenses to use against him or her, including the option to charge the gun as a completely separate offense that requires a consecutive jail sentence. Gun crimes can also be used to enhance other serious crimes to an aggravated version, resulting in increased jail time and fines. In addition, certain individuals like convicted felons are unable to possess a gun regardless of the circumstances.
At The Law Office of J. Jeffrey Lee, located in Memphis, I regularly defend defendants charged with gun crimes in state and federal court. I can defend your gun crime whether you are accused of carrying a weapon without a license, possession of a weapon in a public place, unlawful carrying or possession of a weapon, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, drug-related gun charges, or employing or possessing a firearm during the commission or attempt to commit dangerous felony. There are also many violent crimes that become aggravated due to the possession of a weapon, and they can be found here.
The first approach with a gun crime is to determine whether the gun can be suppressed due to a warrantless search, an illegal pat-down, or other unlawful search techniques by law enforcement. If the evidence cannot be suppressed, we still have many tactics for trial, such as to determine whether the contraband meets the legal definition of a firearm / public place / convicted felon, etc., and/or to dispute the position that the weapon was related to the other aspects of the crime.
As a certified criminal trial specialist, I am familiar with preparing and delivery a trial strategy from beginning to end – from accusation to acquittal. Click here to schedule a Strategy Session where we can discuss the details of your case and I can provide an Individualized Client Packet based on your specific needs.
T.C.A 39-17-1307. Unlawful carrying or possession of a weapon.
(a) (1) A person commits an offense who carries with the intent to go armed a firearm, a knife with a blade length exceeding four inches (4²), or a club.
(2) (A) The first violation of subdivision (a)(1) is a Class C misdemeanor, and, in addition to possible imprisonment as provided by law, may be punished by a fine not to exceed five hundred dollars ($500).
(B) A second or subsequent violation of subdivision (a)(1) is a Class B misdemeanor.
(C) A violation of subdivision (a)(1) is a Class A misdemeanor if the person’s carrying of a handgun occurred at a place open to the public where one (1) or more persons were present.
(b) (1) A person commits an offense who possesses a firearm, as defined in § 39-11-106, and:
(A) Has been convicted of a felony involving the use or attempted use of force, violence or a deadly weapon; or
(B) Has been convicted of a felony drug offense.
(2) An offense under subdivision (b)(1) is a Class E felony.
(c) (1) A person commits an offense who possesses a handgun and has been convicted of a felony.
(2) An offense under subdivision (c)(1) is a Class E felony.
(d) (1) A person commits an offense who possesses a deadly weapon other than a firearm with the intent to employ it during the commission of, attempt to commit, or escape from a dangerous offense as defined in § 39-17-1324.
(2) A person commits an offense who possesses any deadly weapon with the intent to employ it during the commission of, attempt to commit, or escape from any offense not defined as a dangerous offense by § 39-17-1324.
(3) A violation of this subsection (d) is a Class E felony.
(e) It is an exception to the application of this section that a person authorized to carry a handgun pursuant to § 39-17-1351 is transporting a rifle or shotgun in or on a privately-owned motor vehicle and the rifle or shotgun does not have ammunition in the chamber. However, the person does not violate this section by inserting ammunition into the chamber if the ammunition is inserted for purposes of justifiable self-defense pursuant to § 39-11-611 or § 39-11-612.
(f) (1) A person commits an offense who possesses a firearm, as defined in § 39-11-106(a), and:
(A) Has been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence as defined in 18 U.S.C. § 921, and is still subject to the disabilities of such a conviction;
(B) Is, at the time of the possession, subject to an order of protection that fully complies with 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(8); or
(C) Is prohibited from possessing a firearm under any other provision of state or federal law.
(2) If the person is licensed as a federal firearms dealer or a responsible party under a federal firearms license, the determination of whether such an individual possesses firearms that constitute the business inventory under the federal license shall be determined based upon the applicable federal statutes or the rules, regulations and official letters, rulings and publications of the bureau of alcohol, tobacco, firearms and explosives.
(3) For purposes of this section, a person does not possess a firearm, including, but not limited to, firearms registered under the National Firearms Act, compiled in 26 U.S.C. § 5801 et seq., if the firearm is in a safe or similar container that is securely locked and to which the respondent does not have the combination, keys or other means of normal access.
(4) A violation of subdivision (f)(1) is a Class A misdemeanor and each violation constitutes a separate offense.
(5) If a violation of subdivision (f)(1) also constitutes a violation of § 36-3-625(h) or § 39-13-113(h), the respondent may be charged and convicted under any or all such sections.
T.C.A 39-17-1324. Offense of possessing a firearm during commission or attempt to commit dangerous felony.
(a) It is an offense to possess a firearm with the intent to go armed during the commission of or attempt to commit a dangerous felony.
(b) It is an offense to employ a firearm during the:
(1) Commission of a dangerous felony;
(2) Attempt to commit a dangerous felony;
(3) Flight or escape from the commission of a dangerous felony; or
(4) Flight or escape from the attempt to commit a dangerous felony.
(c) A person may not be charged with a violation of subsection (a) or (b) if possessing or employing a firearm is an essential element of the underlying dangerous felony as charged. In cases where possession or employing a firearm are elements of the charged offense, the state may elect to prosecute under a lesser offense wherein possession or employing a firearm is not an element of the offense.
(d) A violation of subsection (a) or (b) is a specific and separate offense, which shall be pled in a separate count of the indictment or presentment and tried before the same jury and at the same time as the dangerous felony. The jury shall determine the innocence or guilt of the defendant unless the defendant and the state waive the jury.
(e) (1) A sentence imposed for a violation of subsection (a) or (b) shall be served consecutive to any other sentence the person is serving at the time of the offense or is sentenced to serve for conviction of the underlying dangerous felony.
(2) A person sentenced for a violation of subsection (a) or (b) shall not be eligible for pretrial diversion pursuant to title 40, chapter 15, judicial diversion pursuant to § 40-35-313, probation pursuant to § 40-35-303, community correction pursuant to title 40, chapter 36, participation in a drug court program or any other program whereby the person is permitted supervised or unsupervised release into the community prior to service of the entire mandatory minimum sentence imposed less allowable sentence credits earned and retained as provided in § 40-35-501(j).
(f) In a trial for a violation of subdivision (a) or (b), where the state is also seeking to have the person sentenced under subdivision (g)(2) or (h)(2), the trier of fact shall first determine whether the person possessed or employed a firearm. If the trier of fact finds in the affirmative, proof of a qualifying prior felony conviction pursuant to this section shall then be presented to the trier of fact.
(g) (1) A violation of subsection (a) is a Class D felony, punishable by a mandatory minimum three-year sentence to the department of correction.
(2) A violation of subsection (a) is a Class D felony, punishable by a mandatory minimum five-year sentence to the department of correction, if the defendant, at the time of the offense, had a prior felony conviction.
(h) (1) A violation of subsection (b) is a Class C felony, punishable by a mandatory minimum six-year sentence to the department of correction.
(2) A violation of subsection (b) is a Class C felony, punishable by a mandatory minimum ten-year sentence to the department of correction, if the defendant, at the time of the offense, had a prior felony conviction.
(i) As used in this section, unless the context otherwise requires:
(1) “Dangerous felony” means:
(A) Attempt to commit first degree murder, as defined in §§ 39-12-101 and 39-13-202;
(B) Attempt to commit second degree murder, as defined in §§ 39-13-210 and 39-12-101;
(C) Voluntary manslaughter, as defined in § 39-13-211;
(D) Carjacking, as defined in § 39-13-404;
(E) Especially aggravated kidnapping, as defined in § 39-13-305;
(F) Aggravated kidnapping, as defined in § 39-13-304;
(G) Especially aggravated burglary, as defined in § 39-14-404;
(H) Aggravated burglary, as defined in § 39-14-403;
(I) Especially aggravated stalking, as defined in § 39-17-315(d);
(J) Aggravated stalking, as defined in § 39-17-315(c);
(K) Initiating the process to manufacture methamphetamine, as defined in § 39-17-435;
(L) A felony involving the sale, manufacture, distribution or possession with intent to sell, manufacture or distribute a controlled substance defined in part 4 of this chapter; or
(M) Any attempt, as defined in § 39-12-101, to commit a dangerous felony;
(2) (A) “Prior conviction” means that the person serves and is released or discharged from, or is serving, a separate period of incarceration or supervision for the commission of a dangerous felony prior to or at the time of committing a dangerous felony on or after January 1, 2008;
(B) “Prior conviction” includes convictions under the laws of any other state, government or country that, if committed in this state, would constitute a dangerous felony. If a felony offense in a jurisdiction other than Tennessee is not identified as a dangerous felony in this state, it shall be considered a prior conviction if the elements of the felony are the same as the elements for a dangerous felony; and
(3) “Separate period of incarceration or supervision” includes a sentence to any of the sentencing alternatives set out in § 40-35-104(c)(3)-(9). A dangerous felony shall be considered as having been committed after a separate period of incarceration or supervision if the dangerous felony is committed while the person was:
(A) On probation, parole or community correction supervision for a dangerous felony;
(B) Incarcerated for a dangerous felony;
(C) Assigned to a program whereby the person enjoys the privilege of supervised release into the community, including, but not limited to, work release, educational release, restitution release or medical furlough for a dangerous felony; or
(D) On escape status from any correctional institution when incarcerated for a dangerous felony.