You must follow laws when Transporting a Firearm in a Motor Vehicle.

If you have been accused of Carrying a Concealed Weapon (CCW) in a motor vehicle, a proactive, intelligent, and aggressive defense may help you avoid charges or persuade a prosecutor to dismiss a case. Here is what you need to know.

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Transporting a Firearm in an Automobile (Motor Vehicle)

Michigan law states that “motor vehicle” includes any self-propelled vehicle, including cars, boats, aircraft, motorcycles, and off-road vehicles. People may not carry a firearm or air gun in such vehicles without a concealed weapons permit. A firearm in the passenger compartment of a car is considered “concealed” under the CCW statute, even if it is in plain view. Although you might not have any criminal intent, if a police officer becomes aware that a firearm is transported in a vehicle’s passenger compartment, they will likely make a felony arrest.

People usually think of a pistol when they think of a CCW charge. However, all firearms and air guns have rules that must be followed to transport a firearm in a vehicle legally. The law separates pistols from long guns in terms of the penalty the charges carry.

Penalties for Transporting a Firearm in an Automobile

Long guns (unloaded) – Rifles, shotguns, and air guns may not be carried in any motor vehicle unless they are unloaded and one of the following:

  • Taken down (apart);
  • Enclosed in a case;
  • In the trunk or otherwise inaccessible from the interior passenger compartment of the vehicle.

This charge carries a penalty of 90 days in jail, two (2) years of probation, and a $100 fine. This offense typically pertains to hunters and target shooters who don’t know the rules and unwittingly step outside the law. Ignorance of the law is no defense, but an astute, experienced defense attorney may be able to arrange for a dismissal of charges or another favorable resolution. You might face serious criminal charges if you do not follow the law when transporting a long gun firearm in a vehicle.

Long guns (loaded) – Transporting a loaded long gun in a motor vehicle carries a penalty of up to two (2) years in jail, five (5) years of probation, and a $2,500.00 fine. It should be pointed out that even though the law calls this a “misdemeanor,” any charge that carries more than one year in jail is considered, for all practical purposes, a felony, so this is an extremely serious offense which, if it results in a conviction will mean the loss of the ability to possess or own a firearm or ammunition in Michigan. It is essential to know that this law also covers air guns (BB and pellet guns).

Pistols – Transporting a pistol in a motor vehicle is a much more severe offense than transporting a long gun. Transporting a pistol in a motor vehicle is a felony and carries a penalty of five (5) years in prison, five (5) years of stringent court-supervised probation, and a $2,500.00 fine. It also carries the added penalty of stripping the defendant of the right to own or possess firearms or ammunition.

Of course, people may carry a concealed pistol in a car or other motor vehicle if they have a concealed pistol license (CPL). You may transport a handgun in a vehicle even if you do not have a CPL if the gun is unloaded, inaccessible to an occupant, in a secure case designed for firearms, and completely separated from the ammunition.

Defenses to Firearms in an Automobile

There are defenses to charges related to transporting a firearm in a vehicle, and some possible defenses may include:

  • Someone else stowed the gun in the car without the driver’s knowledge;
  • The vehicle does not have a trunk or a backseat;
  • The gun was innocently forgotten and left behind in the vehicle by someone else without the knowledge of the driver;
  • The driver has a valid CPL but was unable to produce it at the time the officer found the gun;
  • The driver did not know the gun was still loaded;
  • An unconstitutional search of the vehicle.

A savvy defense expert will be able to craft a winning defense, depending on the facts. Even if the charges cannot be dismissed entirely and thrown out of court, a top-rated defense expert can make the situation much better in one or more ways, and it is always vital to hire the best attorney you can find. A well-respected, formidable lawyer has the best chance of getting charges reduced and persuading a judge not to impose jail or prison time.

2nd Amendment Right to Possess Firearms in a Vehicle

The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution explicitly recognizes the right of the people to keep and bear arms, reflecting the historical and philosophical importance of an armed citizenry as a safeguard against tyranny. Extending this constitutional right to the possession of firearms in a vehicle aligns with the fundamental principles of personal autonomy, self-defense, and individual freedom. The right to possess firearms is not confined to the home but encompasses the need for security and self-protection in various aspects of daily life, including transportation and travel. Limiting the right to bear arms in a vehicle infringes upon the broader understanding of the Second Amendment. Still, it could also compromise the ability of law-abiding citizens to protect themselves and their families when they are most vulnerable. The constitutional guarantee of the right to keep and bear arms should include the responsible possession of firearms in a vehicle, respecting both the letter and spirit of this vital aspect of American liberty.

Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney

Elite Automobile Firearms Charges Defense Firm in Michigan

Every lawyer with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. has extensive experience. Our criminal defense law firm focuses on providing the highest caliber of criminal defense possible. Since 1998, our Defense Team has diligently worked to develop techniques and strategies that have proven successful in achieving dismissals, winning motions, sentences without incarceration, and other highly favorable results. No lawyer can ethically promise or guarantee any particular outcome; however, our lawyers will promise and ensure that we do everything reasonably possible to help our clients achieve the best achievable results, even when facing changes for transporting a firearm in a vehicle. Call us for a free consultation. We will explain how we can help you.

Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete an online Request for Assistance Form. We will contact you promptly and find a way to help you.

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