Philadelphia, PA criminal defense attorney Brian Fishman explains how weapons violations affect the charging of related crimes?
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When looking at offences that are committed with a firearm there used to be mandatory minimums in Pennsylvania that if you committed a robbery, for example, with a firearm there was a five to 10-year mandatory if convicted of that offense. Those mandatories have been declared constitutional and the legislature has not rewritten those laws. That said, there are provisions in the sentencing guidelines for what we call a deadly weapon enhancement. And they have two different guidelines sections, one is for deadly weapon possessed and one is for deadly weapon used.
So if you commit a robbery your guidelines might be a certain number but if you go to the deadly weapon used and you have a robbery that’s committed at gunpoint, your guidelines jump up by about 18 months above what they already were. So right there with a firearm you’re looking at an 18-month jump. And if it’s a deadly weapon used it’s an even greater jump. So any offence, robbery, assault, burglary, sexual assault if there is a firearm involved the penalties can be greatly enhanced.