Navigation for News Categories

By Tom Hals and Jack Queen, Reuters

Hunter Biden - Figure 1
Photo RNZ

Hunter Biden arrives at federal court with wife Melissa Cohen Biden in 11 June 2024, Wilmington, Delaware. Photo: AP / Matt Rourke

A jury has found US President Joe Biden's son Hunter guilty of making false statements on a gun background check and of illegally possessing a firearm. Here is what happens next.

Will Hunter Biden be incarcerated?

Hunter Biden is facing a maximum of 25 years in prison, but the sentencing guidelines for illegally possessing a firearm, Hunter Biden's most serious offense, is 15-21 months and most offenders get less than that. He could also serve multiple sentences concurrently.

Hunter Biden - Figure 2
Photo RNZ

Biden did not use the firearm in committing a violent crime, has no record and has been complying with terms of his pretrial release, including monthly drug testing. Those will likely be mitigating factors and legal experts said Hunter Biden may not be incarcerated.

When will Hunter Biden be sentenced?

US District Judge Maryellen Noreika set no date for sentencing.

Defendants who are found guilty in Delaware federal court are typically sentenced within 120 days of their conviction. That would place it no later than about a month before the Nov. 5 U.S. presidential election.

Hunter Biden will first be interviewed by probation officials, who will prepare a confidential report laying out a range of penalties based on federal sentencing guidelines.

Hunter Biden - Figure 3
Photo RNZ

Prosecutors and defense lawyers will respond to the report with their own recommendations, and the judge overseeing the case will hold a hearing before making a decision.

President Joe Biden talks with son Hunter Biden and his wife Melissa Cohen Biden at Delaware Air National Guard Base, 11 June 2024. Photo: AP / Manuel Balce Ceneta

How might Hunter Biden appeal?

Hunter Biden's legal team made three arguments to dismiss the case prior to trial, and could raise those issues again on appeal.

They argued the gun law was unconstitutional following a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2022 that expanded gun rights, that the case was politically motivated and that a plea deal Hunter Biden struck last year remains in effect even though prosecutors rescinded it.

Hunter Biden - Figure 4
Photo RNZ

His lawyer Abbe Lowell said in a statement they would "vigorously pursue all the legal challenges available to Hunter."

Remaining tax cases

Hunter Biden still faces a trial in September on charges of violating tax law. Having been convicted once, he could face a greater sentence if found guilty again.

Hunter Biden faces 17 years in prison if he is found guilty on the tax charges, according to the Department of Justice, though such a steep sentence would be highly unlikely.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs