Evidence in Ocean City Gun Investigations
The most common types of evidence that will be used in Ocean City gun offense investigations will fall into two categories. One is the collection of physical evidence, so the actual collection of finding an illegal gun in a car. Other sources of evidence come from the defendant and statements of the defendant makes about the gun.
An experienced attorney will best know the proper procedure for gathering and challenging evidence in an investigation of potential gun charges in Ocean City.
If the gun is found in an area that actually can be controlled by more than one person, then the state may want to perform some sort of forensic investigation. They may try to gather evidence in an Ocean City gun investigation by getting fingerprints off of the gun in order to get DNA off of the gun. This happens in a situation where, for example in Ocean City, a gun is located in a common area and there is more than one person that exercises some sort of control over that area.
Or in a scenario of a car if a gun is found, for example, in the glove box, or it is found in the center console and it is possible that either the driver or the passenger placed the gun there, then the police might go to the extent of trying to do some sort of forensic investigation to prove who had actually handled the gun.
Alternative Forms of Gathering Evidence
Other forms of gathering evidence in Ocean City gun investigations will be for an officer to try and elicit statements from people, and that can be one of the biggest issues in these types of cases, because, for someone who is charged within Ocean City, they are likely traveling to Ocean City on vacation. In the state where they reside, it may be legal for them to have their gun in the car. Maryland has neighboring states with more relaxed gun laws, whereas their laws Maryland laws are more strict. Frequently, what happens is, somebody travels down to Ocean City for vacation, they have their gun in their car, they think nothing of it because, in their home state, it is legal to have their gun in their car.
That individual probably took a firearms class or did some sort of safety training where they were advised that if they were stopped, they should immediately notify the police officer they have their firearm in the car. Any statements that the defendant makes can be used against them in court and in situations where they are stopped by a police officer, often they will make contact with the officer and, from the initial meeting with the officer, they advise the officer that their gun is in their car. The officer then searches and seizes the gun and they have been charged for being in possession of a firearm, which would be legal where they lived, but illegal in Ocean City.
Room for Interpretation
There can be a gray area about who actually possesses the gun. If a gun is found in an area where many people would have access to that area, then it gets more difficult to determine who possessed the gun. A lot of it depends on where the evidence is actually located. There are many different factual scenarios that can occur, and an attorney with experience in a variety of investigations will be essential in challenging evidence in Ocean City gun investigations.
Building a Defense
The law in Maryland makes it illegal to wear, carry, or transport a handgun if a person does not fall within one of the exceptions of an allowable possession. Knowing that is what the law is, it is important to look at exactly what the facts are of what took place when trying to determine what the strategy of defense is for a potential client, and it can vary depending on the facts. It is important to understand exactly what happened dependent on various facts.
At any time that a person is talking about a search, if the gun was found via a search of either someone or the vehicle they were in, then there has to be an analysis about the Fourth Amendment implications and if that search was a reasonable search and if there is the possibility that an argument could be made to suppress the evidence so that the state cannot use the gun against them at a trial.
It is also important to understand the person’s background and what they may or may not have on their record because it is a separate offense. If a person has a prior record and they are defined as a prohibited person, meaning they cannot possess a firearm under any circumstances, then it is important to know that from the outset. If they are not, maybe the state has misread the person’s record. It is important to gather information about the person to make sure that a person understands exactly what they are charged with and whether the state can actually prove each and every element of those charges.