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Firearms (including prohibited weapons)

The law which governs firearms is complex. We have strong experience in this field, and will be able to advise you about all aspects of ownership and use.

A firearm is "a lethal barrelled weapon of any description from which any shot, bullet or other missile can be discharged"

The Firearms Act 1968 creates offences of:

  • Possession of a firearm/specially dangerous air weapon and certain ammunition without a certificate

    (This is an ‘absolute offence’ which means that the prosecution only has to show that the defendant knew he has something in his possession. It is irrelevant what he knew or thought it was)

  • Possession of a "shotgun" without a certificate
  • Possession of a “prohibited weapon”. These include machine guns, burst fire weapons, short barrelled rifles, handguns, revolvers, self-loading shotguns. Also tasers and CS gas canisters.

These are specifically defined terms within the Act. There are also specific rules which relate to "Imitation Firearms", which can be treated as firearms for the purposes of the law. A weapon which qualifies as an antique, or deactivated weapon is exempt from Firearms legislation.

All offences of possession are subject to certain exemptions which we can advise you about.

It is an offence under Firearms Act 1968 to possess, purchase, acquire, manufacture, sell or transfer certain ‘prohibited weapons’. Those offences are subject to a mandatory minimum sentence. This is five years imprisonment for an offender aged 21 and over and five years detention in a young offenders institute for those aged 18, 19 and 20 at conviction. There is a lesser mandatory sentence of 3 years for those aged 16 and 17.

The Firearms Act 1968 also creates offences relating to the use of firearms:

  • Possession of a firearm or ammunition with intent to endanger life
  • Possession of a firearm or imitation with intent to cause fear of violence
  • Using a firearm or imitation to resist or prevent lawful arrest of himself - or another
  • Possessing a firearm or imitation whilst committing certain offences
  • Carrying a firearm or imitation with intent to commit an indictable offence or to resist arrest or prevent the arrest of another
  • Carrying a loaded shot gun, air weapon, (whether loaded or not), any other firearm (whether loaded or not) together with ammunition suitable for use in that firearm or an imitation firearm in a public place without lawful authority or reasonable excuse
  • Possession of an air weapon or an imitation firearm in a public place
  • Entering a building or part of a building as a trespasser without reasonable excuse whilst having with him a firearm or imitation
  • Possession of a firearm by persons previously convicted of crime

If you are facing an allegation under Firearms legislation, or require information about your entitlement to own or use weapons, contact us for comprehensive advice about this wide ranging area of law. It is often necessary for us to instruct an expert in cases where the weapon capability or classification is in dispute. Firearms offences carry lengthy custodial sentences and seeking legal advice at the earliest opportunity is crucial.

Photo Credit: Max Kleinen

We realise it can be daunting to challenge a police officer where you do not agree with what they say, but we have extensive experience of dealing with disputed police evidence, and will ensure you have the opportunity to get your side of the story across.

If you were sentenced to a Community Order, or Suspended Sentence by the magistrates or crown court, then failure to comply with the requirements can result in you being summoned to court in breach.

If you are being investigated for behaviour towards you own children, you should contact us. S1 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 makes it an offence for someone with responsibility for a child to “wilfully assault, ill-treat, neglect or abandon” that child “in a manner likely to cause unnecessary suffering or injury to health”.

Criminal Behaviour Orders were brought into force by the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014. They were introduced to replace Anti-Social Behaviour Orders, and are targeted at persistent criminal offending behaviour

It is an offence under Section 1 of the Criminal Damage Act 1971 to damage or destroy property belonging to another, without reasonable excuse. For a person to be guilty of criminal damage they must cause the damage either deliberately or recklessly.

If you are the owner of a dog, or take responsibility for a dog, it is very important to be aware of the law. the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 makes it an offence in itself to possess or breed certain dogs.

When you apply for a job working with vulnerable adults or children, you will be asked to consent to a DBS check. You may be concerned about convictions or cautions that you have to disclose.

The police, Crown Prosecution Service and Courts take a robust stance on domestic violence that has occurred between people who are in a relationship or have been in a relationship.

A Domestic Violence Protection Notice (DVPN) can be served in cases where police believe a perpetrator has used or threatened violence towards a victim and the victim is at risk.

Most drug related offences (class A, B and C) are charged under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. However we can also advise in relation to offences alleged under the more recent Psychoactive Substances Act 2016.

The law which governs firearms is complex. We have strong experience in this field, and will be able to advise you about all aspects of ownership and use.

Offences under the Fraud Act (2006) include: Possession or making or supplying of articles for use in fraud, participation by sole trader in fraudulent business, and obtaining services dishonestly.

Harassment, under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997, is very broadly defined and can involve a range of conduct. The law states that a person must not pursue a course of conduct which amounts to harassment of another, and which he or she knows or ought to know amounts to harassment of the other (s2).

Offences under the Computer Misuse Act 1990 are rarely charged because gathering evidence against individuals is often a specialist task for the police. However, the authorities are becoming more concerned about the damage that hacking and unauthorised access to computers with intent impair operation is causing and the risks to national security.

A Local Authority has the power to prosecute a number of different offences. We have expertise in this area, and experience of dealing with a range of these cases.

You may well have heard in the news references to “County lines” drug operations where illegal drugs are transported from one area to another, often by children or vulnerable people coerced into it by gangs.

Our firm has dealt with a number of these very serious matters over the years and we believe that our lawyers have the judgement and expertise to achieve the best outcome for our clients.

Possession of a blade or pointed article or offensive weapon is a serious offence, which in most cases carries the risk of imprisonment.

These offences against the administration of justice are viewed as serious by the Courts and it is vital that you have access to our advice on these matters.

Where an individual has been convicted of an offence and is before the Crown Court, the Prosecution may apply for a ‘Confiscation Order’ under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2006 (POCA 2006), where it is said that they have benefited from criminal conduct.

Offences alleged under the Public Order Act 1986 are common and very wide- ranging in seriousness.

Allegations of sexual misconduct are naturally very serious, and while under investigation can seriously impact upon the lives of those accused and their families. We have strong experience in this field, and we appreciate the emotional distress caused to those accused of such crimes.

Removal from the Sex Offenders Register is possible, even in cases where the notification period is said to be indefinite. There are now more applications to be removed from the Register than before because of a change in police policy. Call us free to discuss.

The Court has a power to order a restraining order on conviction for any offence, or even in the event of an acquittal. Restraining Orders can have devastating effects on families, and especially those with children.

This area of law can be particularly complex, and result in serious consequences for drivers. We are able to provide comprehensive advice and representation in relation to all road traffic and motoring offences

The Theft Act 1968 covers these offences and others, for example, shoplifting, theft in breach of trust, theft by finding, going equipped to steal, handling stolen goods, taking a conveyance without consent (including the aggravated offence) or allowing yourself to be carried.

The police may have seized and retained your property: money, mobile phone, laptops, computers. We can assist you in getting your property back, including making an application under the Police Property Act 1897.

Whether you are accused of ‘battery’, ‘common assault’, ‘casing actual bodily harm’, ‘causing or inflicting grievous bodily harm with (s18) or without intent (s20)’ or other more serious offences, we can help establish whether you have a defence.

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