There are laws that you must follow when Transporting your 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.
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.
People usually think of a pistol when they think of a CCW charge. However, all firearms and air guns have rules which must be followed to transport them in motor vehicles 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, 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 of 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.
Long guns (loaded) – Transporting a loaded long gun in a motor vehicle carries a penalty of 2-years in jail, 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 1 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 important to know that even air guns (BB and pellet guns) are covered by this law.
Pistols – Transporting a pistol in a motor vehicle is a much more serious offense than transporting a long gun. Transporting a pistol in a motor vehicle is a felony and carries a penalty of 5 years in prison, 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 any 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 pistol in a car 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 these charges, and some possible defenses may include:
- Someone else stowed the gun in the vehicle 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;
- Unconstitutional search of the vehicle.
A savvy defense expert will be able to craft a winning defense depending upon the facts. Even if the charges cannot be dismissed completely and thrown out of court, a top-rated defense expert will be able to make the situation much better in one or more ways, and it is always important 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.
Elite Automobile Firearms Charges Defense Firm in Michigan
Every lawyer with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. has extensive experience in a practice solely focused 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 to be successful in achieving dismissals, winning motions, sentences without incarceration, and other extremely favorable results. No lawyer can ethically promise or guarantee any particular result; however, our lawyers can promise and guarantee that we will do everything reasonably possible to help our clients achieve the best achievable results. Give us a call, and we will explain how we can help you.
Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation, or complete a Request for Assistance Form and we will contact you promptly.