An expired concealed pistol permit can result in a felony charge for carrying a concealed weapon (CCW). This is true even if a permit was valid, but it had expired by only a couple of days. Do not just admit guilt; there may be a way to avoid a conviction.
In Michigan, a person may only carry a concealed pistol if he or she has a CPL or a Concealed Pistol License. Because Michigan is a “shall issue” state, an application for a CPL must be granted for a qualified person. Once obtained, a CPL must be renewed about every five (5) years. According to the Michigan State Police, a “CPL is valid until the applicant’s date of birth that falls not less than four years or more than five years after the license is issued or renewed.” This can be a bit confusing, and an otherwise well-intentioned and responsible person may find that his CPL unknowingly expired.
In many cases, a CPL holder with an expired permit is pulled over for a minor civil infraction, like speeding, for example. A pistol is considered “concealed” under Michigan law if it is within the passenger compartment of a car. The law requires that CPL holders immediately advise a police officer if there is a pistol in their vehicle when there is a traffic stop. When the officer is told that the driver has a firearm, the officer will ask to see the CPL to ensure that it is valid. When the officer sees that it is expired, this can result in a felony charge for carrying a concealed weapon, also known as CCW. The officer may or may not chose to arrest the driver on the spot. If the driver is not arrested, a warrant will be issued and the driver will have to turn himself in to the appropriate court for arraignment.
Expiration of a CPL and Notice by the County Clerk
Even though CPL holders are supposed to be notified that their license is approaching expiration by their county clerk between three to six months prior to the expiration of their current license, this often does not happen, or the notice gets lost in the mail. Given that the renewal of a CPL isn’t required for several years, it is easy to forget that the license is expiring and failure to receive notice can cause serious problems.
Carrying a Concealed Weapon or Pistol with an Expired Permit
The possible penalty for CCW with an expired permit is the same as it would be if the person had never obtained a CPL in the first place. Unfair or not, the maximum penalty is up to 5 years in prison and up to 5 years on probation, with fines and costs. Furthermore, a person who has any felony conviction, including CCW, will no longer qualify for a CPL in Michigan.
Defense to a Carrying Concealed Weapons Charge
There may be several defenses to CCW felony charges in Michigan. One defense that is often valid is “lack of knowledge.” For there to be a conviction, the prosecution is required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant knowingly possessed the concealed firearm. A person’s knowledge can be proven by circumstantial evidence, and successfully raising this defense is complicated. A person’s best hope of avoiding a conviction is with a seasoned, veteran defense lawyer who has a track record of winning in court.
Attorneys for CPL Holders Charged with CCW Because of Expired Permits
If you are charged with a felony for Carrying a Concealed Weapon, and your CPL was expired, we can help you. The Defense Team with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. has decades of experience defending CCW charges and negotiating with prosecutors for dismissals and reduced charges. In some cases, a prosecutor might be persuaded to reduce the charge to a civil infraction under the right circumstances. We understand that your 2nd Amendment rights are critical to you and we will do everything possible to prevent a conviction that interferes with your ability to lawfully possess a concealed pistol.
If you would like a free consultation and confidential case evaluation, please do not hesitate to contact us at (248) 263-6800 or complete a Request for Assistance Form, and an experienced firearms lawyer will promptly contact you. We are not afraid to win!