Possession of or Discharging a Firearm While Under the Influence of Alcohol

Firearm Alcohol

A hard and fast rule is that guns and alcohol don’t mix. If you are in possession of or use a firearm in any way while under the influence of alcohol or any other controlled substance, there can be heavy penalties to pay. If someone is injured or dies because you were using a gun while under the influence, you are facing serious prison time. Just like with other firearm charges like carrying a concealed weapon, felon in possession of a firearm, and felony firearm, judges and prosecutors treat charges of possession of or discharging a firearm while under the influence of alcohol very seriously. Firearms can be dangerous under normal circumstances. Adding the element of alcohol impedes a person’s judgment which increases the chance of something going wrong or someone being hurt.

Elements of the Offense

MCL 750.237 prohibits a person from possessing, using in any manner, having under control, or discharging a firearm under any of the following circumstances:

  • Under the influence of alcohol, controlled substance, or combination thereof
  • Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .08 grams or more
  • Use of alcohol, controlled substance, or combination thereof impairs the ability to use a firearm

Penalties

A person found guilty of possessing, using, or discharging a firearm while under the influence of alcohol is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by up to 93 days in jail and a fine up to $100 for being in possession and a fine up to $500 for using or discharging. If someone is injured or dies as a result of discharging a firearm while under the influence, it is a felony. If the discharge of the firearm causes serious impairment of a bodily function (serious injury) it is punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a fine from $1,000-5,000 plus costs. If the discharge caused the death of another person, it is punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a fine from $2,500-10,000 plus costs. The definition for serious injury is the same as used in the law for an OWI Causing Serious Injury or a Moving Violation Causing Serious Injury.

Can the Police Make Me Take a Chemical Test?

If a police officer has probable cause to believe you are using or possessing a gun under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance, he can require you to submit to a chemical test (breath, blood, or urine). They are the same chemical tests used in OWI drunk driving cases. If the suspect is a hemophiliac, has diabetes, or has a condition requiring the use of a coagulant, the suspect cannot be required to submit to a blood test.

Before submitting to a chemical test the police officer must inform a suspect of the following:

  • If the suspect refuses to submit, the police officer may seek a warrant from a judge or magistrate for the chemical test
  • If the suspect submits, he may seek a second chemical test of his choosing and at his own expense

It is important to note that even if the officer does not read these chemical test rights it does not mean that the chemical tests are inadmissible at trial. The collecting and testing is done in the same manner as required for an OWI.

If you are charged with possessing or using a firearm while under the influence of alcohol, you need an experienced firearms criminal defense attorney representing you. Call Austin Legal Services, PLC at (517) 614-1983 to speak with a Michigan criminal defense attorney today!

Defending possessing, using, and discharging a firearm under the influence of alcohol and other firearms and weapons charges throughout Michigan in the counties of: Ingham, Eaton, Clinton, Gratiot, Jackson, Livingston, Calhoun, Kalamazoo, Barry, Kent, Washtenaw, Branch in the cities of: Lansing, East Lansing, Mason, Charlotte, St. Johns, Ithaca, Brighton, Howell, Battle Creek, Grand Rapids, Hastings, Ann Arbor, Coldwater.

 

Pointing or Discharging a Firearm Laws

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Lansing Michigan Discharging a Firearm Defense Lawyer

Michigan has various laws against pointing a firearm at another person and discharging a firearm. Depending on various factors they range from a low level misdemeanor to a capitol felony.

Pointing or Aiming a Firearm at Another Person

It is illegal for a person to intentionally but without malice points or aims a firearm at or toward another person is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by up to 93 days in jail and/or a fine up to $500 plus costs.

Intentionally Discharging a Firearm While Aiming but Without Malice

A person that discharges a firearm while it is intentionally, but without malice, aimed at or toward another person without injury another person is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a fine up to $500 plus costs. This statute does not apply to a peace officer while performing his or her duties.

Intentionally Discharging a Firearm from a Motor Vehicle, Snowmobile, or an Off Road Vehicle

It is a felony to discharge a firearm from any type of motor vehicle. The severity of the penalties depends on the extent of the injury the discharging of the firearm causes.

If it endangers the safety of another individual, it is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine up to $10,000 plus costs. It the discharge causes physical injury to another person, it is punishable by up to 15 years in prison and/or a fine up to $15,000 plus costs. If it causes a serious impairment of a bodily function (serious injury) it is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and/or a fine up to $25,000 plus costs. If the discharge causes the death of another person, it is punishable by up to life in prison or any term of years.

Defenses

There are some defenses to the charge of discharging a firearm from a motor vehicle. It is a defense for a peace officer if he was lawfully acting within his duties of a peace officer. If the person discharging the firearm was acting in self-defense or in defense of another, it is a defense to the charge. Whether or not the defendant acted in lawful self-defense or in defense of another is up to the jury to decide.

Consecutive Sentencing may apply if the defendant is convicted of any other charges arising from the same incident. That means that the other sentences will be served after he serves his original sentence as opposed to serving them at the same time (running concurrently).

Michigan Discharging a Firearm Defense Lawyer

If you have been charged with pointing a firearm or discharging a firearm, you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side to protect your rights and liberty. Prosecutors and judges treat firearms charges very seriously, especially if it involves another person being injured. A firearm charge doesn’t have to ruin your life and future. Contact Austin Legal Services, PLC today to speak to a firearm defense lawyer at (517) 614-1983!

Defending pointing and discharging a firearm throughout Michigan in the counties of Ingham, Eaton, Clinton, Gratiot, Livingston, Jackson, Kent, Barry, Branch, Hillsdale, Washtenaw in the cities of Lansing, East Lansing, Mason, Charlotte, Howell, Livingston, St. Johns, Ithaca, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, Jackson, Hillsdale, Hastings, Coldwater.

 

Various Michigan Firearm Laws

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Lansing Michigan Firearm Defense Lawyer

Among the most frequently prosecuted firearm laws are carrying a concealed weapon, a felon in possession of a firearm, and a firearm used in the commission of a felony (felony firearm). There are numerous other firearm laws and restrictions however, which I will discuss.

Transporting or Possessing a Firearm in or Upon a Motor Vehicle

Under MCL 750.227d, it is a crime for a person to transport or possess a firearm in or upon a motor vehicle. However, the law does allow some exceptions.  The law applies to firearms (other than pistols) and pneumatic guns that expels a metallic BB or metallic pellet greater than .177 caliber. Michigan law generally prohibits carrying a firearm in a motor vehicle while being operated, whether concealed or not concealed, unless that person has a concealed pistol license (CPL) or is a licensed firearm dealer lawfully transporting a firearm or an agent of such a licensee.

It is not a violation of the statute if the firearm is unloaded and one or more of the following applies:

  • the firearm is taken down
  • enclosed in a case
  • carried in the trunk of the vehicle
  • inaccessible from the interior of the vehicle

Penalties

Carrying a loaded firearm in or upon a motor vehicle is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail and/or a fine up to $100 plus costs.

Altering, Removing, or Obliterating Identification Marks on a Firearm

Under MCL 750.230 it is unlawful for a person to willfully alter, remove, or obliterate the name of the maker, model, manufacturer’s number, or other marks of identification of a pistol or other firearm. Any person who violates this statute is guilty of a felony punishable by up to two years in prison and/or a fine up to $1,000 plus costs. The law also states that anyone in possession of a firearm with altered, removed, or obliterated marks is presumed to be the person who altered, removed, or obliterated them. However, this particular provision was ruled unconstitutional in 1978 as the burden of proof lies solely with the prosecution.

Michigan Firearm Defense Attorney

Being charged with a firearm or weapons violation can have serious consequences including jail, prison, loss of gun rights, mandatory forfeiture of the firearm, not to mention red flags for future employers. Firearm charges are treated very seriously by prosecutors and judges and many will not offer reductions or plea agreements. You don’t have to let a gun charge ruin your future. If you have been charged with a firearms crime, contact Austin Legal Services, PLC today at (517) 614-1983 to speak to a Michigan firearm defense lawyer!

Defending firearm charges throughout Michigan in the counties of Ingham, Eaton, Clinton, Gratiot, Livingston, Jackson, Kent, Barry, Branch, Hillsdale, Washtenaw in the cities of Lansing, East Lansing, Mason, Charlotte, Howell, Livingston, St. Johns, Ithaca, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, Jackson, Hillsdale, Hastings, Coldwater.

 

Carrying a Concealed Knife

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Carrying a Concealed Weapons Knife Lawyer

In addition to being charged with carrying a concealed weapon for having a concealed gun, you can also be prosecuted under the same statute for carrying a concealed knife or other stabbing instruments. In this article we’ll discuss the various kinds of knives and stabbing instruments the statute covers as well as defenses and plea options.

What the Prosecutor Must Prove

To be convicted of carrying a concealed knife the prosecutor must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • Defendant knowingly carried a dagger, dirk, stiletto, razor, double-edged or non-folding stabbing instrument,
  • The weapon was concealed.
  • If charged with carrying a concealed weapon in a vehicle—Defendant knew the weapon was in the vehicle, took part in keeping it in the vehicle, or was instrumental in keeping it in the vehicle.

Note: It does not matter the reason why the defendant carried the knife. The prosecutor only has to prove that he knowingly carried the knife and that it was concealed.

What Makes a Weapon Concealed

To be considered concealed by law complete invisibility is not required. In a lot of cases the weapon is at least partially visible which is how a police officer notices it. For example, the tip of the handle could be sticking out of a pocket or the tip of a boot and still be considered concealed. The weapon is concealed if it cannot be easily seen by those who come into ordinary contact with the defendant.

Defining a Knife—Dirk, Dagger, and Stiletto

The carrying a concealed weapon statute prohibits carrying a concealed firearm as well as a dirk, dagger, stiletto, and other stabbing instruments. A dirk is a straight knife with a pointed blade. A dagger is a knife with a short, pointed blade. A stiletto is a small dagger with a slender, tapering blade. The law defines a knife as an instrument having a handle and at least one sharp-edged blade and the blade must be over three inches long. A razor is a sharp-edged cutting instrument for shaving off or cutting hair.

Defenses

  • Defendant Unaware of the Weapon—An essential element is knowingly carrying the weapon. The prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant knew he/she was carrying the weapon.
  • Carried in Home, Place of Business, or Land Possessed by Defendant.
  • Hunting Knife—This is a large, heavy, wide-bladed knife without a single cutting edge that curves up to a point. It is typically used for skinning and cutting game. It does not apply to knives adapted and carried as hunting knives. The prosecutor has the burden of proving that it was not a hunting knife.
  • Fourth Amendment Violations—If the police lacked reasonable suspicion to stop or detain you or if they lacked probable cause for the arrest, those are Fourth Amendment violations that can be made to the court to suppress the evidence. If the police unlawfully searched your person, car, or home then the evidence could be suppressed and the charge dismissed.

Self Defense is NOT a Defense to Carrying a Concealed Weapon

It is not a defense to the charge that you were carrying the weapon for protection or self-defense. The judge would not allow such evidence to be presented at trial as it’s irrelevant. The only issue is whether or not the defendant knowingly carried the knife.

Penalties

Carrying a concealed weapon is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a fine up to $2,500 plus costs.

Plea Options

Prosecutors treat weapons charges very seriously. A lot of prosecutors have policies against reducing weapons charges, even if it’s your first offense. Other prosecutors will be reluctant if there are aggravating factors such as if there was a violent encounter or if the knife was pulled on someone. If prosecutors are willing to reduce the charge, a common reduction is to Possession of a Switchblade, which is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail.

Carrying a Concealed Knife Lawyer

If you have been charged with carrying a concealed weapon-knife, you need an experienced lawyer representing you to ensure the best possible outcome. Many judges will impose jail sentences even for first offenses is any kind of a weapon is involved. Your future and liberty is at stake, but an experienced lawyer can make all the difference. A weapons charge doesn’t have to ruin your life and career. If you have been charged with carrying a concealed weapon call Austin Legal Services, PLC at (517) 614-1983 to speak to a Michigan weapons attorney today!

Defending carrying a concealed weapon and knife charges throughout Michigan in the counties of: Ingham, Eaton, Clinton, Gratiot, Calhoun, Kalamazoo, Jackson, Livingston, Branch, Kent, Washtenaw, Hillsdale, Barry, and in the cities of: Lansing, East Lansing, Mason, Charlotte, St. Johns, Ithaca, Battle Creek, Kalamazoo, Jackson, Howell, Brighton, Coldwater, Hillsdale, Hastings, Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor.

Carrying a Concealed Weapon (CCW)

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Lansing Michigan Weapons Charges Defense Lawyer

 

In Michigan, carrying a concealed weapon (CCW) is a violation of MCL 750.227 and a very serious charge. The maximum punishment is up to five years in prison, $2,500 in fines, and forfeiture of the weapon. Many prosecutors will not offer a misdemeanor plea, even for first offenders. If you have been charged with carrying a concealed weapon, you need a criminal defense attorney on your side with experience in defending weapons charges.

 

Defining a Weapon

 

For purposes of CCW, a weapon is defined as:

 

  • Pistol
  • Dirk
  • Dagger
  • Stiletto
  • Double-edge non-folding stabbing instrument of any length
  • Any other dangerous weapon (except a hunting knife adapted and carried as such)

 

Carrying and Concealed

 

It is required that the defendant knowingly carried the weapon. The reason why he was carrying it doesn’t matter.  A weapon is concealed if it is not easily seen by those who come into normal contact with the defendant. Complete invisibility is not required. For example, if the grip of the gun is slightly protruding from defendant’s coat or under a car seat, it is concealed even though it isn’t entirely covered up.

 

A weapon can be concealed on someone’s person or in a vehicle. If charged with carrying a concealed weapon in a vehicle, the defendant must have either placed the weapon in the car or knew the weapon was in the car and took part in either carrying or keeping the weapon in the car.

 

Defenses to Carrying a Concealed Weapon

 

  • Defendant didn’t know the weapon was there—CCW is a specific intent crime and thus requires a “knowing” element. If Defendant was not aware the weapon was there or if the prosecutor cannot prove he knew it was there beyond a reasonable doubt, he cannot be convicted. This is frequently used as a defense when the weapon was found in a car. Circumstantial evidence plays a big role in this defense. For example, there was more than one person in the car, the gun was not registered to the defendant, the defendant is not the owner of the car. The defendant can use those to argue that he did not know it was there or create reasonable doubt that he knew it was there. The location of the weapon also is an important factor in this defense.

 

  • The weapon wasn’t concealed—This is an obvious element of the charge but it is not one to be overlooked. If the weapon did not meet the statutory definition of being concealed, defendant cannot be convicted.

 

  • Defendant Had a Concealed Pistol License—A concealed pistol license (CPL) gives lawful authority for someone to carry a concealed gun. However, this only applies if you have a valid CPL and you were carrying it in the location and manner prescribed by law.

 

  • Defendant was Carrying the Weapon in His Home—You are lawfully permitted to carry a concealed weapon in your own house.

 

Plea Deals and Plea Negotiations

 

In an attempt to appear tough on crime, many prosecutors are very tough on any kind of weapons charge. A lot of prosecutors won’t even offer pleas to reduced charges, even if it is your first offense and you had no intent to do something unlawful or dangerous with the weapon. That places the defendant between a rock and hard place and is very frustrating and seems unfair. It also encourages litigation because the defendant essentially has nothing to lose if his offer is to “plead on the nose” unless other charges are being dismissed or there is a good sentencing agreement. If you have a previous felony record and you are caught with a weapon or gun, chances are you will be facing three charges: 1) carrying a concealed weapon, 2) felon in possession of a firearm, and 3) felony firearm. In that situation, your options are even worse. If you are an habitual offender, the maximum penalty increases even further.

 

If your case is weak or the prosecutor is willing to offer a plea because of mitigating circumstances there are some options. Brandishing a firearm is a minor misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail and possession of a switchblade or automatic knife is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail. There may be Fourth Amendment violations with your case that could lead to a suppression of the evidence or a dismissal of the charge. If convicted, you automatically lose your right to own, possess, or carry a firearm under state law and may have to wait years before those rights are restored.

 

If you or someone you know has been charged with carrying a concealed weapon, you need to be represented by an experienced Michigan criminal defense attorney. Call Austin Legal Services, PLC today at (517) 614-1983 to speak to our Michigan weapons charges defense lawyer.

 

Defending carrying a concealed weapon charges throughout Michigan in the counties of Ingham, Eaton, Clinton, Gratiot, Livingston, Jackson, Shiawassee, Barry, Kent, Washtenaw in the cities of Lansing, East Lansing, Mason, Charlotte, St. Johns, Ithaca, Brighton, Howell, Jackson, Corunna, Durand, Hastings, Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor.

 

 

Felony Firearm

Felony Firearm

Lansing Michigan Felony Firearms Criminal Defense Attorney

Felony firearm is defined under MCL 750.227b as carrying or possessing a firearm while committing or attempting to commit a felony. There is a mandatory punishment of two years in prison, regardless of what your sentencing guidelines are, and that sentence must be served consecutively to any other sentence that is imposed. If it is your second offense, the penalty is five years in prison and for third and subsequent offenses; the punishment is 10 years in prison. Again, consecutive sentencing applies.

The Michigan legislature takes firearm charges very seriously. So do prosecutors and judges. The felony firearm is worse because not only is it an additional felony charge to the other felony charges(s) you are facing, but you are guaranteed to serve at least two years in prison in addition to your other sentence. For example, if you are charged with armed robbery and you use a gun, not only do you face the armed robbery charge, but you face the felony firearm charge. It makes a bad situation much worse.

Convicted Felons and the Felony Firearm Charge

If you have a felony record and you are caught with a firearm, chances are you will be facing three felony counts: 1) Carrying a Concealed Weapon, 2) Felon in Possession of a Firearm, and 3) Felony Firearm. The underlying felony for the felony firearm charge being you were a felon in possession of a firearm. It’s that circular logic that will have you facing some serious prison time, even if you weren’t committing or attempting to commit a violent felony with the firearm. If you are charged as an habitual offender, the maximum penalty is even higher.

Not only does it add more charges and make your potential sentence much higher, but it also gives prosecutors extra bargaining power during plea negotiations. Instead of offering a reduction in the charge, often prosecutors will offer to dismiss some or all of the other counts if you plead guilty to the felony firearm charge. That guarantees you a two-year stint in the Michigan Department of Corrections and there is nothing the judge can do about it. They have no discretion because it is a mandatory sentence imposed by law.

Aggressive Firearms Charges Defense

If you have been charged with felony firearm, you need a strong Michigan firearms defense attorney to advocate on your side because the options you have presented will not be good. There may be grounds to challenge the police contact or other evidentiary errors or Fourth Amendment violations that could lead to suppression of the evidence. There may be defenses or reasonable doubt to the underlying felony that is a necessary element of the felony firearm charge. If the jury does not believe you committed or were attempting to commit a felony beyond a reasonable doubt, then you cannot be convicted of felony firearm.

Other Defenses to Felony Firearm

You cannot be convicted of felony firearm if you are a law enforcement officer performing his duties or if the underlying felony is carrying a concealed weapon or a subsequent violation for selling firearms or ammunition without complying with licensing requirements.

If you have been charged with felony firearm, you need an aggressive firearms lawyer on your side. Call Austin Legal Services, PLC today at (517) 614-1983 to speak to our Michigan firearms defense attorney.

 

Defending felony firearm charges throughout Michigan in the counties of Ingham, Eaton, Clinton, Gratiot, Calhoun, Kent, Shiawassee, Jackson, Livingston, Washtenaw in the cities of Lansing, East Lansing, Mason, Charlotte, St. Johns, Ithaca, Battle Creek, Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids, Corunna, Jackson, Brighton, Howell, Ann Arbor. 

Restoring Your Firearm Rights After Being Convicted of a Felony

0_0_0_0_250_187_csupload_58231417 (1)If you have been convicted of a felony in Michigan, you automatically lose your right to possess, use, transport, sell, purchase, carry, ship, receive, or distribute a firearm under MCL 750.224f. You can get that right back if certain conditions are met. How long you have to wait and the procedure for getting this right restored depends on the type of felony you were convicted of.
 

Specified vs Non-Specified Felonies

 

A felony means a violation or attempted violation of: any Michigan law, the law of another state, or any United States law that is punishable by at least four years imprisonment. For purpose of this statute there are two types of felonies: specified and non-specified.
 

Specified Felony

 

A specified felony means a felony in which one or more of the following exist:
  • an element of the felony is use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person or property of another, or that by its nature involves a substantial risk that physical force against the person or property of another may be used in the course of committing the offense.
  • an element of the felony is the unlawful manufacture, possession, importation, exportation, distribution, or dispensing of a controlled substance
  • an element of the felony is the unlawful possession or distribution of a firearm
  • an element of the felony if the unlawful use of an explosive
  • the felony is burglary of an occupied dwelling, or breaking and entering an occupied dwelling, or arson

Non-specified Felony

 

A non-specified felony is any other felony that is not a specified felony.
 

Firearm Restoration After a Non-specified Felon

 

If you have been convicted of a non-specified felony your right to possess a firearm will automatically be re-instated three years after the following conditions are met:
  • all fines imposed for the violation have been paid
  • all terms of imprisonment, if any, have been served
  • probation or parole for the offense has been successfully completed
 
The three-year clock starts ticking once the final condition of your sentence has been met.
 

Firearm Restoration After a Specified Felony

 

If you have been convicted of a specified felony, your rights will be restored when  the circuit court in the county you reside grants your application for firearm rights restoration AND at least five years have passed since the following conditions were met:
  • all fines imposed for the violation have been paid
  • all terms of imprisonment, if any, have been served
  • probation or parole for the offense has been successfully completed

 

Applying to the Circuit Court

 

For specified felonies you  must apply to have your firearm rights re-instated to the circuit court no earlier than five years after the final condition of your sentence has been met. No more than one application per calendar year can be submitted.
For the court to grant your application, you must convince the judge by clear and convincing evidence of all of the following:
  • you properly submitted your application for restoration
  • you successfully completed all terms of your sentence and at least five years has passed since the last condition of your sentence was met
  • your record and reputation are such that you are not likely to act in a manner that is dangerous to the safety of others

 

Federal Firearm Rights Have No Reinstatement
Currently, the federal system does not have a process for convicted felons to get their federal firearm rights back, even if a circuit court or gun licensing board in Michigan restored your rights under state law. The circuit court (formerly the gun boards) only has the power to restore your firearm rights under Michigan law. That means if your rights are reinstated, then you can lawfully use, possess, or own a firearm under Michigan law. You don’t have to worry about being charged as a felon in possession of a firearm. However, you could still be charged federally as a felon in possession of a firearm under federal law if you come into contact with the feds or if the state or local police detain you under suspicion of violating federal law. There has been pending legislation introduced in the federal congress for certain non-violent felons to get their federal firearm rights restored, but as of now it has not passed by houses nor signed by the president into law. So, be cautious that the remedy the Michigan circuit court can grant you is a limited one.
Expungement
The best option is to get your felony expunged that is holding you back. If the felony is expunged or set aside, your firearm rights are reinstated across the board (both state and federally) because the conviction is removed. However, not everyone is eligible to get a felony expunged so you need to check eligibility. If not, then your only other option is to apply for limited relief from a Michigan circuit court.

Felon in Possession of a Firearm

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Lansing Michigan Firearms Attorney
If you have been convicted of a felony in Michigan, you will lose your right to use, possess, transport, sell, purchase, carry, ship, receive, or distribute a firearm under MCL 740.224f. You can eventually have this right restored. How long you have to wait and the procedure for re-establishing these rights depends on what type of felony you were convicted of.
If you are a convicted felon (meaning you have previously been convicted of a crime that carries a minimum sentence of four years in prison), your firearm rights have not been restored, and you are in possession of a firearm, bad things are going to happen to you very rapidly. For instance, besides the felon in possession of a firearm charge, you will be charged with felony firearm meaning you used or possessed a firearm during the commission of a felony; the felony being a felon in possession of a firearm. If the firearm was concealed, you will get another felony charge for carrying a concealed weapon. That’s right– three felony charges from one incident!
To make matters worse, the felony firearm charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence of two years that must be served consecutively (after the sentence on your other conviction is served) regardless of what your sentencing guidelines are. This is a very serious charge that can have a devastating impact on your life and future. Also, a lot of prosecutors will not plea bargain with charges that involve a weapon, or at least, they’ll try to stick you with the felony firearm charge. Either way, if you plead out or lose at trial, you’re stuck with another felony and you’re going to prison.
 
Since the consequences of this charge and other related charges are so severe, it is vital that you have a Michigan criminal defense attorney with experience in firearms crimes defending you. The first step is to see if there are any ways that the seizure of the weapon can be challenged. Always look to see if there are any Fourth or Fifth Amendment violations in relation to the police stop or investigation or the finding and seizing of the weapon. Did the police have a warrant or a valid warrant exception? Did the warrant meet the specificity requirements? Was there probable cause for the arrest? Was there reasonable suspicion for the pat down? All of these details must be carefully evaluated and meticulously scrutinized for any issues that could be used to get the evidence suppressed or to be used as leverage when negotiating with the prosecutor for a reduction or dismissal of the charges.
 

Definition of Firearm

 

MCL 750.222(d) defines a firearm as a weapon from which a dangerous projectile may be propelled by an explosive, or by gas or air. It does not include a smooth bore rifle or handgun designed and manufactured exclusively for propelling a spring, or by gas or air, BBs not exceeding .177 caliber.
 

Constructive Possession

 

Actual physical possession is not required to be found guilty of this offense. Constructive possession will be enough. The focus is on the proximity to the firearm and the indicia of control. In other words, constructive possession considers whether the defendant knows the location of the firearm and whether the firearm is reasonably accessible to the defendant. Possession can also be demonstrated by joint possession, meaning that two or more defendants were acting in concert and thus everyone involved can be guilty of possession.
 

Operability of the Firearm

 

It is not a defense if the firearm was not operable. The prosecution does not need to prove that the firearm was operable or reasonably or readily operable. The statute only requires that the firearm be designed or intended to propel a dangerous projectile. Inoperability is not a defense.
 

Self Defense

 

If a convicted felon was in possession of or using a firearm for self-defense or in defense of others, it can be a valid defense to this crime. This heavily depends on the surrounding circumstances and whether it was proper to be in fear of death or imminent physical harm to either yourself or another.
If you are a felon who has been charged with being in possession of a firearm you are facing serious penalties and many prosecutors have policies against offering pleas to reduced charged. Call Austin Legal Services, PLC (517) 614-1983 today to speak to a Michigan Firearms Attorney about your case.
Representing Firearms and Weapons Clients throughout Michigan in the counties of: Ingham, Eaton, Jackson, Livingston, Shiawassee, Kent, Clinton, Barry, and Gratiot and in the cities of: Lansing, East Lansing, Mason, St. Johns, Bath, Ithaca, Charlotte, Jackson, Brighton, Howell, Corunna, Grand Rapids.