Restricted areas where you may not carry your gun.
There are some places where a person may not carry a weapon even if they have a Concealed Pistol License (CPL). The possible penalties include felony charges, jail, and loss of a CPL.
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 several restricted areas where your pistol can be immediately confiscated if you enter with a concealed gun. You will face criminal and monetary ramifications, and your CPL can be suspended or revoked. A conviction for carrying a weapon in a prohibited zone can result in jail, probation, and other collateral consequences.
If you face 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.
What are the prohibited zones where a CPL holder may not possess a concealed pistol?
Prohibited zones are numerous, and most make some sense if you think about it. 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 or private daycare center;
- A sports arena or stadium;
- A tavern or bar where the primary source of income is the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages;
- 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 a Prohibited Zone
A concealed pistol is subject to immediate seizure if found in a prohibited zone. A pistol carried “open carry” style (not concealed) is not supposed to be seized by law enforcement. You will probably get the pistol back and not suffer any penalties described below if you did not conceal the pistol. 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 for 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 Concealed Weapon in a Prohibited Zone
The defense of CCW in a Prohibited Zone is an area of criminal law where the phrase “Ignorance of the law is no defense” is applicable. For instance, it is not a defense that you didn’t know you could not carry a pistol into a bar. Anyone who possesses a pistol must make sure they know the rules. That being said, an astute criminal defense expert can always craft a defense with any facts.
The most common defense is that the person forgot they had the pistol on them. The “I forgot” defense is especially applicable for women who carry a pistol in their purses rather than a holster or leg strap. Just as people sometimes forget things at the office or home, they can forget they have something in a pocket, holster, or bag. Criminal convictions require criminal intent or knowledge. There would be no criminal liability if you did not intend to do something or know it was happening (with some limited exceptions). A few defendable scenarios may be:
- The pistol was in the pocket of a bulky jacket;
- A person was not planning to enter a prohibited area with a gun but had an emergency develop, and there was no time or ability to stow the weapon 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 their briefcase and forgot it was there when they entered a bar or courthouse.
Whatever the scenario, there is always something a top-rated, formidable defense expert can do to improve the situation. Even if the evidence of guilt is overwhelming and the prosecutor will not dismiss the case 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 with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. has decades of experience defending felony and misdemeanor weapons charges with great success in Oakland, Macomb, Wayne, Livingston, and Washtenaw Counties and throughout Michigan. We can always find a way to help and protect our clients no matter what the circumstances. If you have been charged with any weapons offense or believe you are under investigattion 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. We will contact you promptly and find a way to help you.