In Michigan, you can be charged with a felony for possessing a concealed firearm or a firearm in a vehicle if your permit to carry a concealed weapon is expired. With a felony conviction, you will be permanently barred from carrying a gun under federal law.
Michigan Concealed Weapon Charges
It is illegal to carry a concealed pistol without first obtaining a concealed pistol license. Concealed can mean carried on a person and not visible upon casual inspection or concealed can mean possessed within a motor vehicle. Possession can be actual (in your hand or on your body) or it can be constructive, meaning within reach your or accessible. A conviction for Carrying a Concealed Weapon (CCW) can result in a prison sentence of up to 5 years, a fine of up to $2,500.00, and up to 5 years of probation.
An expired CPL (Concealed Pistol License) is the same as no CPL
Although efforts have been made to reduce the penalty for possessing a concealed weapon with a valid but expired CPL, those laws have not yet been successfully passed. As of today, possession of a valid but expired concealed weapons permit is the same as never having obtained a permit. This means that even if you have passed a background check, completed all the requisites, and have in your possession a valid but expired CPL, you will be charged with and potentially convicted of a felony punishable by up to 5 years in the Michigan Department of Corrections.
Impact of a Felony Conviction on the Right to Possess Firearms
Although it is possible to achieve firearms rights restoration under state law, restoration of firearm rights under federal law is not possible with a felony conviction in Michigan. Unless you are able to get your CCW conviction expunged, if you are caught with a firearm or ammunition can be prosecuted in federal court as a felon in possession of a firearm or ammunition. This crime carries a possible penalty of up to ten years in prison, three years of supervised release, and up to $250,000 in fines. Under the United States Sentencing Guidelines, a person convicted of Felon in Possession of a Firearm, first offense, would have a guideline range of 10-78 months in prison before taking into account any mitigating or aggravating circumstances.
How to avoid a conviction for Carrying a Concealed Weapon in Michigan?
Seasoned defense lawyers will defend a client charged with CCW in a variety of ways. A 4th Amendment challenge can result in an outright dismissal of all charges. The 4th Amendment guards against unreasonable searches, i.e. those not supported by a lawful warrant or probable cause. If a law enforcement officer conducts a search in violation of the 4th Amendment, a judge may rule that the evidence seized be excluded or suppressed. Other defenses such as inoperable firearms, lack of concealment, duress, lack of knowledge, and others may also result in a dismissal or acquittal on CCW charges.
In those cases where there may not be a strong legal defense, there still may be ways to get these charges dismissed by agreement of the prosecutor. Successful defense lawyers know how to effectively negotiate with the government to get felony charges reduced or dismissed, even when there is overwhelming evidence of guilt. Plea bargaining is common in most courts, and if the prosecutor can be convinced that a conviction is not necessary or equitable, bargains resulting in the dismissal of felony charges are very possible.
Collateral or Indirect Consequences of a Felony Conviction
Unfortunately, jail, fines, and probation are not the only consequences of a criminal conviction, especially a felony. The loss of the ability to possess firearms and ammunition is an example of collateral consequences. Collateral consequences are the indirect penalties that happen to a person when he or she has a felony record. Other examples include, but are not limited to, damaged reputation, inability to vote (while incarcerated), inability to serve on a jury, damaged credit, difficulties in obtaining credit, loss or inability to obtain a professional license, and loss of employment. A person never knows what the future holds, and even those who are self-employed should still do everything possible to avoid a felony conviction. In the event that circumstances are different in the future and a career path is changed, a felony conviction will severely limit the options available for employment.
Carrying Concealed Weapon Defense Attorneys
There are those cases where someone’s actions may be technically illegal but it is simply not fair that that person gets convicted of a crime. An example of this would be when a person mistakenly carries a concealed weapon after the expiration of a concealed weapons permit. In these cases, it is more important than ever to hire a lawyer with a track record of successfully defending clients charged with CCW in state and federal court.
The Defense Team with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. has decades of experience successfully defending clients with these charges in Oakland County, Wayne County, Macomb County, Washtenaw County, Livingston County and throughout Michigan. When you need help and cannot afford to be sold out, call us at (248) 263-6800 or complete a Request for Assistance Form and we will promptly contact you. Our team of lawyers know and understand your rights under the 2nd Amendment and we will not let you down.