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.