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Penalty Enhancements Involving Firearms in DC

Penalty enhancement goes beyond the normal penalty for a conviction in a case. Enhancement increases the penalty.

Common penalty enhancements are adding on to the maximum possible punishment based upon being previously convicted of similar crimes. A perfect example for enhancement involving a firearm is someone who is convicted of carrying a pistol in the District of Columbia and does not have a license to do so. This is a felony if it is outside of the person’s home or their place of business. The maximum penalty for that is five years in prison. However, if that person was previously convicted of a felony offense in DC or any other jurisdiction, instead of the penalty being five years, the penalty jumps up to a maximum of 10 years in prison. That is an example of an enhancement.

Another enhancement is when an individual is convicted of a crime that they committed because of a bias against a particular race or religion. While that does not happen very often in a simple gun possession case, it does come up in assault with a deadly weapon cases, where a gun or other weapon was used to commit an assault. If the prosecutors allege and prove that some kind of bias was the basis for the assault, there is enhancement for the possible penalties. It enhances the maximum penalty that the court can impose. It is imperative to retain an experienced DC gun lawyer when facing penalty enhancements for firearms charges.

Travelling with Ammunition

If a person is convicted of traveling with ammunition, the maximum penalty could be one year in jail and a $1,000 fine and they must register on the gun offender registry in DC for two years. Typically when someone is convicted, they forfeit that ammunition.

The conviction for traveling with ammunition can have dramatic effects when a person has a security clearance or other professional license where they have to report a conviction. It is a misdemeanor as opposed to a felony so it is not as serious as a felony. However if an individual has a professional license or security clearance, the conviction can cause serious problems going forward with their license or clearance.

Jail time is a potential penalty. It is not necessarily expected for a first offender found travelling with ammunition. However, the circumstances of the individual and of the case could strongly influence whether or not the judge might impose jail.


There is the possibility of record sealing in DC. It depends on how the case is resolved, meaning whether or not there was a conviction. After a length of time and in certain circumstances, an individual can seek to have their record expunged.

Benefit of an Attorney

The charges are taken very seriously by the prosecutors in DC. Because of that, a person needs to have good legal advice as soon as possible to make sure their rights are protected, every possible defense is being explored, and every possible resolution is being considered by the prosecution. Having an experienced criminal defense attorney who has knowledge about DC gun cases is critical.

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