Restricted areas where you may not carry your gun.
There are some places that a person may not carry a weapon even if they have a Concealed Pistol License (CPL). The penalties can include felony charges, jail, and loss of a CPL. If you are facing charges, rest assured that there are ways to get charges dismissed or reduced. Jail is not mandatory for carrying a weapon in a prohibited zone.
A CPL has restrictions attached.
Some people who get a CPL feel a comfortable sense of freedom and believe they may carry a gun virtually anywhere without concern. These people have not read the rules carefully enough. There are a number of restricted areas where if you enter with a concealed pistol, your pistol can be immediately confiscated, you will face criminal and monetary ramifications, and you may have your CPL suspended or revoked.
What are the prohibited zones where a CPL holder may not possess a pistol?
Prohibited zones are numerous, and if you think about it, most make some sense. Michigan law states you may not carry a concealed pistol, even if you have a CPL, in these places:
- A school or its property, although parents and legal guardians can have a weapon in their car when they pick up children;
- A public of private daycare center;
- A sports arena or stadium;
- A tavern or bar where the primary source of income is the sale of alcoholic beverages and consumed on the premises;
- A place or religious service, unless the presiding officials allow concealed weapons;
- An entertainment facility that has a seating capacity of 2,500 or more;
- A hospital;
- A college classroom or dormitory;
- A commercial airplane;
- A courthouse unless the chief judge has given prior approval according to written court policy.
Penalties for Carrying a Pistol in Prohibited Areas
A concealed pistol is subject to immediate seizure if it is found in a prohibited zone. A pistol carried “open carry” style (not concealed) is not supposed to be seized. If they are, you will probably get the pistol back and not suffer any of the penalties below. The law wishes to prevent concealed weapons in the areas listed above. The one exception is a casino, where a pistol may not be carried, concealed or openly. Penalties for violation are as follows:
- First offense: State Civil Infraction, $500 fine, CPL permit suspended 6 months
- Second offense: 90-day misdemeanor, $1000 fine, 2 years of probation, CPL permit revoked
- Third and subsequent offenses: 4-year felony, $5000 fine, 5 years of probation, CPL permit revoked
If you are convicted of a felony, you may not carry or even own a firearm or ammunition under state and federal law.
Defenses to Carrying a Weapon in a Prohibited Zone
This is an area of criminal law where the phrase “Ignorance of the law is no defense” is applicable. It is not a defense that you didn’t know you could not carry a pistol into a bar, for instance. Anyone who carries a pistol must make sure they know the rules. That being said, an astute criminal defense expert can always craft a defense with any set of facts.
Probably the most common defense is that the person simply forgot he or she had the pistol on them. This is especially true for women who carry their pistol in their purses. Just as people sometimes forget things at the office or at home, people can forget they have brought something with them as well. Criminal convictions require criminal intent or knowledge. If you did not intend to do something, with some limited criminal exceptions, there is normally no criminal liability. A few defendable scenarios may be:
- The pistol was in the pocket of a bulky jacket, and its presence was forgotten;
- A person was not planning to enter a prohibited area with a gun but had an emergency situation develop and there was no time or ability to stow the gun in a permissible place;
- A person was on his way home from a gun range and decided to stop for lunch at a bar and forgot he had the gun on him;
- A man placed his pistol in a woman’s purse for convenience of carrying, and she had no idea she had a gun on her when she entered a prohibited zone (bar, sports arena, etc);
- A person had no idea an entertainment venue held more than 2500 people (sometimes it is almost impossible to tell just by sight);
- Someone placed a handgun in another’s carry-on luggage and forgot to tell them;
- A person had a pistol in his or her briefcase and forgot it was there when they entered a bar or courthouse.
Whatever the scenario may be, there is always something a top-rated, formidable defense expert can do to make the situation better. Even if the evidence of guilt is overwhelming, and the case cannot be dismissed outright, an experienced and savvy defense attorney can usually arrange for reduced charges and a lenient sentence without jail time.
Carrying a Weapon in a Prohibited Zone Defense Attorneys in Michigan
The Defense Team at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have decades of experience defending felony and misdemeanor weapons charges of all types with great success in Oakland, Macomb, Wayne, Livingston, and Washtenaw Counties and throughout Michigan. We are always able to find a way to help and protect our clients no matter what the circumstances. If you have been charged with any kind of weapons offense or believe you are being investigated for such, give us a call and we will explain how we can help you. We always go the extra mile to find a way to protect our clients, because we are not afraid to win!
Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation, or complete a Request for Assistance Form and we will contact you promptly.