Defense for State and Federal Firearm Charges
Under Michigan law, the illegal use of a firearm or other weapon can carry very harsh penalties. For example, a felony firearm conviction requires a MANDATORY two-year minimum prison sentence if it is your first offense and a MANDATORY five-year minimum prison sentence if it is your second offense. Also, a sentence for felony firearm MUST be served consecutively with any other sentence. This means that the more common concurrent sentencing cannot apply to felony firearm charges. Judges are not permitted to impose sentences less than the minimum required sentences above. Therefore, if you are under investigation or arrest for any activity related to a firearm or weapon, it is imperative that you consult with an experienced team of criminal defense attorneys immediately. Call us at 1-866-766-5245.
Michigan aggressively prosecutes firearms charges, especially in counties that have high rates of violent crime. Therefore, you should have an aggressive criminal defense team on your side if you are faced with firearm or other weapons charges. While there are a number of firearm charges that you might be subject to, these are the most common:
Carrying a Concealed Weapon
A charge of carrying a concealed weapon (CCW) is often filed against persons who think they are actually carrying their weapon legally. Since a CCW charge is often misunderstood, you should have a knowledgeable firearm criminal defense attorney. While under Michigan law you may be charged with CCW if you are concealing a gun or non-hunting knife on your person, you may also be subject to a CCW charge if the weapon is merely in your vehicle.
Further, if you are in possession of a gun, knife or other dangerous weapon but it is not “concealed” on your person or vehicle, you may still be charged with CCW if the police believe that you have the intent to harm others with the weapon. In addition, many people think that they can carry a concealed weapon in “self-defense.” However, under Michigan law a person cannot conceal a weapon at all without a license.
Even if you have a permit to carry a concealed weapon, you may still lose your permit if you engage in any of a variety of banned behaviors. For example, if you are stopped by the police and do not tell them you are carrying a concealed weapon, you could lose your permit. Also, it is illegal to carry a concealed weapon into a school zone, a hospital, a church, a sporting arena, and many other places. If you have a firearm in one of these locations, you may face misdemeanor charges and a potential sentence that includes jail time.
Illegal Possession of a Firearm
There are several ways in which you can illegally possess a firearm, even if you are not charged with CCW. Carrying an unregistered firearm on your person or in your vehicle, whether concealed or not, is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison or a $2,500 fine. Therefore, if you fail to register your firearm, the consequences could be severe.
In addition, it is a crime to possess a gun (concealed or not) while committing any felony. Possession of a weapon can increase the punishment for any other crime. An example of this is when a person who allegedly commits a robbery is in possession of a firearm, they can be charged with the higher crime of armed robbery, even if the firearm is not used directly in committing the crime. If the court finds the defendant guilty of such a “felony firearm” crime, it must impose at least an additional two years of consecutive prison time to the sentence.
Moreover, it is also illegal for convicted felons to buy, sell, possess, or carry any firearm or weapon for a period of time after their sentence is completed. This crime is a felony and carries a penalty of up to five years in prison and/or a $5,000 fine.
Even if you possess a gun legally, you may still be arrested for discharging your weapon in an unsafe or reckless manner. Firing a gun to celebrate a holiday, in a crowded area, or with an otherwise reckless disregard for life or property can result in arrest for illegal discharge.
If You Are Facing Firearms Charges
As with any other criminal charge, if you have been arrested for a firearm or weapons charge, you should allow police officers to fingerprint you and take your basic information (name, address, etc.). However, you should refuse to answer any other questions unless your attorney is by your side. Do not say anything to the police regarding the firearm. Politely reply that you will invoke your right to remain silent and wait for your attorney to be present before you provide any further information. Anything you tell the police–even simply that the firearm is yours–can undermine the defense efforts of your attorney.
Our Approach to Firearms Charges
When a client is charged with a firearm crime, we pursue a comprehensive defense strategy, including the various possibilities (depending on the specific charge) that might negate the allegations. Sometimes, we have been successful in having charges dismissed altogether, and other times we have had firearms charges significantly reduced. The circumstances of every case are different and each case calls for a careful, guarded analysis before we determine the proper defense. Our firm has received dozens of referrals from NRA members over the last 15 years. Our attorneys are experts at fighting weapons charges.
Contact us about your legal matter today! Call us at 1-866-766-5245.