Can 1st Time Gun Charge Lead to Jail Time?

Can 1st Time Gun Charge Lead to Jail Time?

Federal prosecutors can file various charges against someone accused of illegally selling, purchasing, possessing, or using a firearm. There has been a significant desire to take a severe position against gun crimes to get dangerous criminals off the streets at the federal level. However, this implies that federal prosecutors may be overly enthusiastic when determining which gun charge to prosecute against a person.

While a person could be charged with various federal gun crimes, the principal federal firearm statutes are 18 USC 922 and 18 USC 924. When firearms are sold or transported across state boundaries, federal gun charges are filed against people improperly buying, selling, owning, or using them. 

What happens on a 1st-time gun charge?

The 1st time gun charge is typically a misdemeanor, but it depends on how the gun is used or held in specific scenarios; it might be charged as a felony the first time. Whether you will get charged with a misdemeanor or a felony depends on your history and the firearms charge details.

The most severe offenses are punishable in prison and a fine of up to $4,000. If you are accused of a serious charge (felony), you could face up to ten years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Penalties for 1st-time gun possession charges

You will almost certainly serve jail time if you are convicted of gun possession. Many gun possession violations are felonies, frequently resulting in a sentence of 2, 4, or 6 years in prison. If the statute does not specify particular sanctions, the minimum penalty might be as much as 16 months in prison.

Most gun possession laws contain various subsections that impose varied punishments depending on the situation. When it comes to the concealed carry statute, the following situations make it a felony:

  • The person is already accused of a felony
  • The firearm has been taken
  • The person is a gang member.

Other possession violations can result in up to a year in prison and a $1,000 fine, or both. The statute mandates a three-month minimum sentence in some instances.

Can a person get probation on 1st-time gun charges?

For first-time firearm offenses, you may be eligible for probation instead of jail time, depending on the seriousness of your charges, criminal background, and lawyer’s skill. The more serious the firearms charge, the more likely you will serve time in prison.

Types of gun charges

Some of the common federal firearm charges are listed here, which are brought by federal prosecutors against individuals.

Firearms sale without a license

To sell guns, you must first obtain a government license. If you sell a gun without a license and cross state lines, you could face criminal prosecution. A defendant accused of selling a gun without a license might face up to five years in federal prison under 18 USC 922(a).

Illegal firearms for sale

Even if a person possesses an official license to sell firearms, certain firearms are prohibited from being sold to anybody. Machine weapons, for example, are not permitted on the federal level. 

It is also illegal to sell a firearm to a minor or a convicted felon. Convicts of these crimes could face a 5-10 year prison sentence. These are significant changes that require professional legal representation.

False statements when buying a gun

When it comes to firearms, sellers are not the only ones who have to be careful. If a firearm buyer makes fraudulent assertions on the paperwork used during the purchase, he may get charged under 18 USC 922(a)(6). Using a false man to impersonate someone who is not eligible to acquire a gun is likewise illegal. These gun crimes carry a maximum sentence of ten years in jail.

Illegal firearm possession

Even if a defendant is not accused of a felony in a firearm sale transaction, possessing the firearm is unlawful. 

For example,18 USC 922. (o) prohibits possession of a machine gun. It involves a severe ten-year sentence in prison. It is also illegal to bring a gun into some areas, such as a school zone. Possessing a gun in a school zone might result in a five-year prison sentence. 

Reduce sentence for gun charges

Most sentences are not needed to adhere to the law as strictly as the law suggests. The Firearm Concealed Carry Act specifies that if unique circumstances arise that make a minimal jail sentence unnecessary, the judge may instead issue probation or suspend the punishment. The judge is not obligated to follow sentencing guidelines in many circumstances strictly and may impose a shorter term when it is reasonable.

Probation or a suspended sentence is one of the most common ways to reduce a sentence. When a court orders probation, he or she normally includes a jail term and probation period. 

The prison term is suspended and will not be served while you are on probation. The judge will dismiss your jail sentence and discharge you from probation after your term (if you complete your probation). You may be sentenced to prison if you violate the rules of your probation, and your suspended prison will be lifted.


Federal law governs the purchase, sale, possession, manufacture, import, and distribution of firearms. It forbids the sale of firearms to such restricted groups of people, such as convicted felons, and outright prohibits the sale of firearms, such as machine guns.

Unauthorized possession, gun trafficking, fraud, and “violent crimes” are federal offenses involving the illicit use of weapons. There are few weapons charges that can be prosecuted in federal court. The 1st time gun charges usually depend on the usage of guns, and depending on the history and charges pressed against the person, he/she is accused of felony or misdemeanor.

Although most weapons offenses are state felonies examined by local law enforcement and tried in state court, some weapons offenses can result in federal prosecution. If accused of a federal firearms felony, you might face a term of five to ten years in prison, or probably life in prison, based on the details of your case.


What is the penalty for possessing a gun without a permit?

Possessing a gun without a permit can lead to:
1: For first time offense: 2 years in jail, or $500 fine or both
2: For subsequent offense: up to 2 years imprisonment, or a $1000 fine or both

How many years can a person get imprisoned for selling a gun without a license?

A person can face criminal charges for selling a gun without a license and crossing state lines. A person charged with illegally selling a firearm could face up to five years in a jail cell.

What happens if a felon is in the vicinity of a firearm?

Possession of a firearm by a felon is a felony offense in and of itself. It usually carries a jail term ranging from one to three years, depending on state legislation, and it could also come with criminal fines and other penalties.

Can a convicted felon own a firearm?

If you’ve been convicted of a felony, you can’t own or possess a gun. It is applicable even if you have only been accused of a felony and have not yet been found guilty.

Is possessing a gun lead to a felony?

Having a gun can lead to a felony or misdemeanor. But, it depends on the past criminal history and the involvement of a gun in any offense.