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Pennsylvania's definition of firearm for mandatory sentence in PWID cases

In Pennsylvania, a person who is convicted of the crime of possession with the intent to deliver can face a number of mandatory minimum sentences.  One of the factual scenarios that can activate a mandatory minimum sentence is where a firearm is located in close proximity to the controlled substance being possessed for sale.

Specifically, Pennsylvania law states that:

"Any person who is convicted of a violation of [PWID], when at the time of the offense the person or the person's accomplice is in physical possession or control of a firearm, whether visible, concealed about the person or the person's accomplice or within the actor's or accomplice's reach or in close proximity to the controlled substance, shall likewise be sentenced to a minimum sentence of at least five years of total confinement."

Occassionally, an issue arises as to what is considered a firearm in order to trigger the mandatory minimum sentence.  The same section defines a firearm as "any weapon, including a starter gun, which will or is designed to or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosion or from the expansion of gas."

Under a new United States Supreme Court, the Commonwealth is required to prove all elements, including whether or not an object is a firearm, beyond a reasonable doubt since that fact would trigger the application of a mandatory minimum sentence.

If you or a loved one is facing charges for PWID, possession of firearms, or any other related offense schedule an appointment with the experienced and aggressive attorneys at the Kelly Law Firm for a free consultation.

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