42 Pa. C.S. § 9712

Current through P.A. Acts 2020-34
Section 9712 - Sentences for offenses committed with firearms
(a) Mandatory sentenceExcept as provided under section 9716 (relating to two or more mandatory minimum sentences applicable), any person who is convicted in any court of this Commonwealth of a crime of violence as defined in section 9714(g) (relating to sentences for second and subsequent offenses), shall, if the person visibly possessed a firearm or a replica of a firearm, whether or not the firearm or replica was loaded or functional, that placed the victim in reasonable fear of death or serious bodily injury, during the commission of the offense, be sentenced to a minimum sentence of at least five years of total confinement notwithstanding any other provision of this title or other statute to the contrary. Such persons shall not be eligible for parole, probation, work release or furlough.
(b) Proof at sentencingProvisions of this section shall not be an element of the crime and notice thereof to the defendant shall not be required prior to conviction, but reasonable notice of the Commonwealth's intention to proceed under this section shall be provided after conviction and before sentencing. The applicability of this section shall be determined at sentencing. The court shall consider any evidence presented at trial and shall afford the Commonwealth and the defendant an opportunity to present any necessary additional evidence and shall determine, by a preponderance of the evidence, if this section is applicable.
(c) Authority of court in sentencingThere shall be no authority in any court to impose on an offender to which this section is applicable any lesser sentence than provided for in subsection (a) or to place such offender on probation or to suspend sentence. Nothing in this section shall prevent the sentencing court from imposing a sentence greater than that provided in this section. Sentencing guidelines promulgated by the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing shall not supersede the mandatory sentences provided in this section.
(d) Appeal by CommonwealthIf a sentencing court refuses to apply this section where applicable, the Commonwealth shall have the right to appellate review of the action of the sentencing court. The appellate court shall vacate the sentence and remand the case to the sentencing court for imposition of a sentence in accordance with this section if it finds that the sentence was imposed in violation of this section.
(e) DefinitionsAs used in this section, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings given to them in this subsection:

"Firearm." Any weapon, including a starter gun, which will or is designed to or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive or the expansion of gas therein.

"Replica of a firearm." An item that can reasonably be perceived to be a firearm.

42 Pa.C.S. § 9712

1974, Dec. 30, P.L. 1052, No. 345, § 1, effective in 90 days. Renumbered from 18 Pa.C.S. § 1312 by 1980, Oct. 5, P.L. 693, No. 142, § 401(a), effective in 60 days. Amended 1982, March 8, P.L. 169, No. 54, § 2, effective in 90 days; 1995, June 13, P.L. 1024, No. 17 (Spec. Sess. No. 1), § 11, effective in 120 days; 1995, Oct. 11, P.L. 1058, No. 21 (Spec. Sess. No. 1), § 3, effective in 60 days.