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Gun charges with lesser penalties refiled against Del. Impallaria

Del. Rick Impallaria, R-Baltimore and Harford counties. (The Daily Record/File Photo)

Baltimore County prosecutors have refiled weapons-related charges against outgoing Republican Del. Rick Impallaria.

Three misdemeanor charges filed last week against Impallaria, R-Baltimore and Harford counties, were withdrawn Thursday. Replacing them are three similar misdemeanor charges that carry lesser penalties.

Steve Silverman, an attorney representing Impallaria, declined comment other than to say “we are moving in the right direction.”

Impallaria already faces charges in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court on charges of theft of more than $92,000 in state funds over a decade to pay for space in Essex that he claimed was for a district office. He also faces charges for allegedly using state funds allegedly meant for office furniture for that district office to pay for campaign mailings.

Silverman said he client did not violate the law and has filed for dismissal of those charges.

Prosecutors filed the original gun charges against Impallaria, 59, last week after finding the five-term delegate allegedly possessed two rifles and related ammunition. Impallaria is barred by state law from possessing firearms because of a previous battery conviction.

Silverman previously described the weapons as “a 1917 relic that was mounted on the wall and possibly a .22 (caliber) rifle that belonged to someone else.”

“Neither rifle was in his personal residence,” Silverman said last week. “I am still gathering more information as to what the prohibiting conviction is but based on preliminary information, it appears to be one or more misdemeanors dating back some 30 to 40 years when Delegate Impallaria was a very young man and not represented by counsel. If ever there was a test case to challenge when the application of the Maryland Illegal Possession statute is unconstitutional because of the passage of time, it is this case.”

The original charges, all misdemeanors, carried penalties of up to five years in prison and as much as a $7,000 fine.

The new charges filed Thursday carry maximum jail sentences of three years and possible a fine of up to $1,000 for each of the two rifles. A charge related to the ammunition carries a penalty of up to 1 year in jail and possibly a $1,000 fine.

Allan Webster, an assistant Baltimore County State’s Attorney and chief of the firearms unit, said the initial charges “were originally listed as regulated firearms when in fact they are rifles. It was in error. We recharged correctly and they are still misdemeanors, just carry 3 years versus 5 years via statute.”

The weapons charges are possibly an unintended outcome of a search warrant served last fall by the Office of the State Prosecutor.

Prosecutors in Baltimore County said last week their charges stemmed from that search warrant. State police applied for separate warrants for the firearms and ammunition and turned the case over the state’s attorney.