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  • Writer's pictureCamille Wagner

Caught with a gun in DC: Now what?

If you have been arrested for having a gun, you could be facing several felonies and misdemeanors depending on your situation.



  1. Carrying a Pistol without a License - § 22–4504 (Felony)

  2. Felon in Possession - § 22–4503 (Felony)

  3. Possession of an Unregistered Firearm - § 7–2502.01 (Misdemeanor)

  4. Unlawful Possession of Ammunition - § 7–2506.01 (Misdemeanor)

  5. Possession of a Large Capacity Feeding Device - § 7–2506.01 (Felony)


  1. 5 years in custody and/or a fine

  2. 10 yeas in custody (1 year mandatory of imprisonment) and/or a fine

  3. 1 year in custody and/or a fine

  4. 1 year in custody and/or a fine

  5. 3 years in custody and/or a fine

But I am only facing one charge right now...?

When you get arrested, officers may list one charge or more on your arrest paperwork. Then, the officers bring the paperwork to the government (prosecutors). Prosecutors will decide whether they "paper" or "no paper" your case; in other words, they decide whether they will formally prosecute you or not prosecute. If the prosecutor decides to prosecute or "paper the case", you may be initially facing only one charge - most common: Carrying a Pistol Without a License or "CPWL" for short.

Presentment or Arraignment

After the prosecutors "paper the case", you will be brought before a judge for presentment or arraignment. The charge(s) you are facing will be read to you and your attorney will enter your plea of not guilty, assert your rights, and request your release.

How come I now have new charges?

As explained above, the government usually prosecute you for one charge at first. Then, they will extend what is called a pre-indictment offer. If you choose to not accept the offer, your case will most likely be brought to the Grand Jury. That's how you can face additional charges.

What is the Grand Jury?

The government brings their case to a Grand Jury to get an indictment with additional charges. These hearings are held in secret and the government is the sole decider of what evidence is presented to the jurors. There are (basically) no rules and the evidence presented is very one-sided. Therefore, grand jurors, more often then not, indict on additional charges.

Charged with CPWL and now have the other common charges.

Hypothetical: You are driving and get pulled over for passing a red light. The officer approaches and sees a gun in the cupholder. There is an extended magazine inserted in the gun and there are bullets in the magazine and chamber. The officers conduct a check and see that the gun is not registered in DC. They also see that you do not have a carrying permit in DC. You get arrested. The next day, you see the judge and you are notified that the government is prosecuting you on one count of CPWL. You get released, you decline the plea offer and, two weeks later, you find out you have an indictment for Carrying a Pistol without a License, Possession of an Unregistered Firearm, Unlawful Possession of Ammunition, and Possession of a Large Capacity Feeding Device (extended magazine).


The answer: the Grand Jury

What do I need to do?

Contact Wagner, PLLC to get an experienced criminal defense trial attorney. Remember, time is of the essence and liberty is at stake.


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