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Possession of a Firearm During Drug Trafficking or Violent Crime

Norfolk and Newport News Federal Gun Possession Lawyer, Chad Dorsk

Have you been charged with a violent federal crime involving possession with intent to distribute illegal drugs? Or possession or brandishing of a firearm during a drug trafficking offense?

A charge of 18 USC Section 924(c) for using or possessing a firearm in the course of drug trafficking or some other violent crime is a common criminal charge in federal court. The charge also carries very significant potential penalties that must run consecutive to any other sentences imposed for other related crimes. Therefore, if you or a loved one have been arrested or indicted for these types of offenses, you should contact and retain the professional and experienced federal criminal defense attorney Chad G. Dorsk.


The statute reads as follows (18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)):

  • (A) Except to the extent that a greater minimum sentence is otherwise provided by this subsection or by any other provision of law, any person who, during and in relation to any crime of violence or drug trafficking crime (including a crime of violence or drug trafficking crime that provides for an enhanced punishment if committed by the use of a deadly or dangerous weapon or device) for which the person may be prosecuted in a court of the United States, uses or carries a firearm, or who, in furtherance of any such crime, possesses a firearm, shall, in addition to the punishment provided for such crime of violence or drug trafficking crime

    (i) be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of not less than 5 years;

    (ii) if the firearm is brandished, be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of not less than 7 years; and

    (iii) if the firearm is discharged, be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of not less than 10 years.


To brandish a weapon means to show or produce the weapon to someone else during the commission of the crime, and to discharge the weapon means to fire it. There are additional penalties for the use of a rifle, shotgun, silencer, machine gun or assault weapon.

Typical crimes of violence alleged in 924(c) indictments include homicides and attempted homicides, robberies, burglaries, and assaults, etc.

Quite often, a group of people are indicted for possessing a firearm that was only physically possessed by one of the members of the criminal conspiracy. Technically, all of the members of the drug trafficking conspiracy or violent crime conspiracy could be charged with the possession of the firearm under 924(c) if they were aware that their co-conspirator possessed the weapon or it was foreseeable to the person. This is a common issue that arises at trial or in plea negotiations. Your defense attorney has to do a careful review of the discovery materials to determine whether there is any wiretap evidence, for example, that suggests that a particular defendant knew about the weapon at hand.

Those 924(c) defendants with a significant violent or drug-related criminal history could also be categorized as career offenders and be subject to potentially enormous penalties and prison sentences.


If you or a loved one have been charged with a violation of 18 USC § 924(c), you should strongly consider Dorsk Law Office, PLC. Attorney Dorsk is an experienced criminal defense attorney who has successfully defended individuals charged with this crime. Give him a call for a free case evaluation and a fair quote for his services.

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