Michigan Firearm Right Restoration Lawyers
Dedicated to Helping Those Who Chose to Bear
Firearms to Do So Legally Under Michigan Law
Gun Rights Restoration is Complex and the Stakes are High
The restoration of firearms rights is complex and the assistance of an attorney is necessary given the seriousness of laws criminalizing the possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. As it relates to a charge of Felon in Possession of a Firearm, the definition of a “felony” is specific and vastly different than in most other areas of the law. It is defined as a violation of a state or federal law that is punishable by imprisonment for four years or more (or an attempt to violate such a law). Felony convictions with maximum possible sentences of less than four years do not cause the loss of gun rights under Michigan law.
“Conviction” is Broadly Defined
Many people do not believe they have been “convicted” of a felony unless they were sentenced to greater than a year in prison. Unfortunately, a person is “convicted” when he or she is found guilty at trial (bench trial or jury trial), pleads guilty, pleads no contest or pleads guilty but mentally ill to a felony where the maximum penalty is at least four or more years in prison. There is still a conviction even if the person is sentenced to probation without incarceration or even just a fine. If you are unsure whether you have a conviction, an attorney with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C.can help you understand your criminal history.
Firearms Restoration is Critical
It is important that an individual with a “felony” conviction restore his or her right to possess a firearm before they possess a firearm of any type. Possession means personally holding a firearm and/or exercising dominion and control of a firearm. Essentially, a person is in possession of a firearm if that weapon is in their home, business, automobile or any other location that they have possession of or a right to. A felon who possessed a firearm could be charged with “felon in possession.” When a person convicted of a felony possesses, uses, transports, sells, purchases, carries, ships, receives or distributes a firearm during the time period when they do not have firearm rights, that is the crime of felon in possession. Felon in possession is a felony punishable by imprisonment for up to 5 years, a fine of up to $5,000, or both. A conviction for being a felon in possession can result in a violation of parole or violation of probation as well.
A firearm is any weapon from which a dangerous projectile may be propelled by using explosives, gas or air as a means of propulsion, except any smooth bore rifle or handgun designed and manufactured exclusively for propelling BB’s not exceeding .177 caliber by means of spring, gas or air.
Restoration of Right to Possess Firearms
Generally, for individuals convicted of most felonies, he or she is eligible for restoration of gun rights in Michigan three (3) years after all of the following circumstances exist:
- the person has paid all fines imposed for the violation, and
- the person has served all terms of imprisonment imposed for the violation, and
- the person has successfully completed all conditions of probation or parole imposed for the violation.
After the three year time period, the felon can once again possess, use, transport, sell, purchase, carry, ship, receive, or distribute a firearm if he or she does so in a manner otherwise allowable by law.
The Gun Rights Restoration Team with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. strongly recommends anyone who may be automatically reinstated to go through the formal restoration process so that he or she has an ORDER from a judge formalizing the restoration. This will prevent any false or mistaken arrests and prosecutions. An unnecessary and mistaken arrest, even if there is a valid, legal defense, still results in a considerable financial expense (the cost of hiring an attorney), inconvenience, stress and temporary loss of liberty.
If the person was convicted of certain “specified” felonies, the time period for restoration can be longer. Michigan gun law defines “specified felony” as a violation of state or federal law punishable by imprisonment for four years or more (or an attempt to violate such a law) if the felony involved one or more of the following circumstances:
- if an element of that felony is the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person or property of another, or that by its nature, involves a substantial risk that physical force against the person or property of another may be used in the course of committing the offense; or
- if an element of that felony is the unlawful manufacture, possession, importation, exportation, distribution, or dispensing of a controlled substance; or
- if an element of that felony is the unlawful possession or distribution of a firearm; or
- if an element of that felony is the unlawful use of an explosive; or
- if the felony is burglary of an occupied dwelling, or breaking and entering an occupied dwelling, or arson.
For individuals convicted of a “specified” felony, he or she is eligible for restoration of gun rights in Michigan five (5) years after the person:
- has paid all fines imposed for the violation, and
- has served all terms of imprisonment imposed for the violation, and
- has successfully completed all conditions of probation or parole imposed for the violation.
After 5 years from the time that these requirements are met, the individual must then apply to the circuit court in the county in which he or she resides for the restoration of gun rights. The circuit court judge then reviews the person’s record and reputation to determine whether he or she is a danger to others. The applicant must show by clear and convincing evidence that he or she is not likely to act in a manner that is dangerous to the safety of others.
If the burden of proof is satisfied, the court will officially restore the felon’s gun rights so that he or she can legally possess, use, transport, sell, purchase, carry, ship, receive, or distribute a firearm in a manner otherwise allowable by law.
If the Circuit Court refuses to restore the felon’s firearm rights, an appeal to the Michigan Court of Appeals is possible.
We Can Help You With Firearms Restoration in Michigan
Proving by “clear and convincing” evidence that you are not a danger to other is much more complicated than you may realize. Evidence of “rehabilitation” must be well documented, persuasive and credible. The lawyers with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have vast experience in convincing the government that our clients are rehabilitated. We have decades of experience developing petitions which convincingly and categorically demonstrate that our client is deserving of the restoration of various rights and privileges. If you are interested in achieving restoration of your Michigan gun rights, please call us for a free consultation at (248) 263-6800 or kindly fill out a Request for Assistance Form and we will promptly contact you.
Attorney Fees – $3,500 to Start
Every case is different and attorney fees can vary from case-to-case. As a general guideline, LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. requires a retainer of $3,500.00 on a gun rights restoration case. If this amount is within your budget, please call us at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete a Request for Assistance Form and we will promptly contact you.
WARNING: FEDERAL LAW
Gun rights cannot be restored under Federal Law. If a person’s gun rights are restored under Michigan law, his or her rights are NOT restored under Federal law. Generally, a person is not charged under federal law for being a felon in possession of a firearm unless there is an accompanying felony that was committed. This is not a guarantee and theoretically, the federal government could charge a person with being a felon in possession even if there is no other alleged criminal activity. Being a felon in possession of a firearm under federal law is punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment. The person may receive a minimum sentence of 15 years without parole if an offender has three or more prior convictions for a felony crime of violence (e.g. burglary, robbery, assault, possession of offensive weapons) and/or drug trafficking felony.