Much more information is needed here. Possession of a handgun is only 2nd degree exposure, 5-10 years. There must be other factors. Even one prior gun possession would not double without other factors. Feel free to call my office with more information. There must be grounds for an appeal to succeed. Your son must have pleaded to the charge. You can be found in possession of anything if you know what it is, where it is and can exercise dominion and control over the item. As you can see it is very fact sensitive. The plea allocution will not help the situation. If he is not guilty you may want to examine if the plea can be withdrawn. This is also very difficult. My guess is the plea offer had some benefit to your son or else why plead to a 20 year bid. Call with more information.
I agree. Much more information is needed. If he is pleading guilty, an appeal will be very difficult and he would be better served trying to withdraw his guilty plea before sentencing. If he had a trial, then there must be grounds for appeal, which is often the case after a trial. Call around and speak to a few lawyers.
I agree with the other attorneys. You should contact a lawyer as soon as possible. Feel free to give me a call if you have any questions.
It should be understood that even though I am answering your question, no attorney-client relationship exists between us. It should be further understood that while I am doing my best to answer your question based upon the information you provided, I do not have the complete facts and my answer might well be different, if I had more complete information. For these reasons, it is always best to consult either in person or by telephone with a lawyer and discuss your issues in detail.
I disagree with the supposition that PCR could be more effective than a direct appeal. In my experience as an appellate court staff attorney, appellants have a much better chance at getting relief on direct appeal than in post-conviction proceedings.
Regardless, more facts are needed, and you would be wise to speak with a qualified appellate attorney asap. Although your son likely has an automatic right to appeal the conviction, the likelihood of success will depend on the issue being appealed. If the argument is just "sufficiency of evidence," your chances of success are much lower than if you're alleging some kind of constitutional or structural error.
Be advised that you have forty-five days (45) from the entry of judgment to file a notice of appeal. I would not wait until after sentencing to file an appeal.
I am admitted to practice in the states of New Jersey and Ohio. Regardless of where you are reading this, my comments are not intended to be legal advice per se, and nothing that I say is intended to create an attorney–client relationship.