There is a lot at stake, and you should have legal help to assist you in the restoration of your rights.
We Are Dedicated to Helping Those Who Choose to Bear Firearms Do So Legally Under Michigan Law
Michigan’s gun rights restoration application process changed substantially in December 2015. Before that date, each Michigan county had a gun board made up of a member of local law enforcement (generally someone from the county sheriff’s office), the prosecutor’s office and the Michigan State Police. These gun boards heard all gun-related matters in Michigan. An appeal to the court system was necessary if the petitioner was not satisfied with the Gun Board’s decision. Now, gun boards have been disbanded. A person who has lost their firearm rights and wishes to have their right to possess, use, transport, sell, purchase, carry, ship, and receive a firearm restored, must apply to the circuit court in the county where they live for the restoration of those rights.
A person must wait either 3 or 5 years to file their petition depending on whether the felony that caused the loss of gun rights is a specified or a non-specified felony. A person with a specified felony must also have done the following:
- Paid all fines imposed for the violation.
- Served all terms of imprisonment imposed for the violation.
- Successfully completed probation or parole.
- Show that their record and reputation are such that they are unlikely to act in a manner dangerous to the safety of other people.
The intent of the changes in the gun rights restoration procedure was to streamline applications. Legislators felt that having to resort to a gun board was slowing down the process and that some applications were being denied that should have been granted.
Some attorneys have been routinely successful with seeking restoration through the court process.
It is important to note that a person can only file a petition for gun rights restoration one time per year. So, doing it right the first time is extremely important. A loss or adverse ruling by a judge can be very difficult to reverse with a subsequent petition, and that is why qualified legal help is paramount.
No Federal Gun Rights Restoration following a Michigan Felony Conviction
Even with a full restoration of gun rights in Michigan, a person with a felony conviction is still prohibited from possessing firearms under Federal law (with certain very limited exceptions). Federal courts have ruled that unless all of a person’s various civil rights are completely restored in the state, without limitation, the federal government may still prosecute a defendant for possessing a firearm. For example, in Michigan, a person with a felony conviction cannot sit on a jury. Serving jury duty is a civil right. Under federal law, a person with a prior felony conviction in Michigan, who’s right to possess firearms has been restored by the State of Michigan, can still be prosecuted as a felon in possession of a firearm by the federal government because the restoration of civil rights is not complete (because jury duty is still prohibited). Because the federal government will not recognize a Michigan restoration of firearms, a person who has successfully achieved restoration on a state level will not be able to purchase a firearm from a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL), which includes almost any store that carries firearms.
Regarding pistols, Michigan state law requires that ALL pistols (defined as any firearm under 26 inches in overall length) be licensed. To get a license, the applicant must pass a state criminal record check and a federal background check through the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). A person cannot pass a federal background check through NICS with a prior felony conviction in Michigan, even after a successful firearms rights restoration. The bottom-line is that a Michigan felon cannot be licensed to purchase, carry, possess, or transport a firearm under 26 inches in length, and thus may not legally do so.
What about a firearm that is 26 inches in length or longer, like a rifle or shotgun? A Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) will run a federal background check before the sale of a long-gun in Michigan and will refuse to sell such a firearm to anyone with a felony conviction in Michigan, regardless of whether the State of Michigan has restored his or her right to purchase firearms. A background check is not required for someone to obtain a long-gun through a private sale, gift, or inheritance. Under Michigan law (only), a person whose rights have been restored, can legally purchase, carry, possess, or transport a long-gun. Under federal law, a person whose rights have been restored in Michigan can still be prosecuted in federal court as a felon in possession of a firearm or ammunition.
Michigan Gun Rights Restoration Application Attorneys — We Can Help You Get Your Gun Rights Restored.
Drafting a pursuasive Michigan gun rights restoration application is an important part of our practice at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. We believe that after a person has served their punishment for an offense, and the appropriate time has passed, that person should be given a second chance. This includes restoration of all rights a person loses as a convicted felon (the right to vote, serve on a jury, etc.), not just firearms rights. The attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have had great success in getting our client’s Michigan gun rights restored. We would be happy to review your situation and determine the proper way to proceed. The attorneys of LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. specialize in the protection of the rights of people charged with criminal offenses, protecting people who have had their probation or parole violated, and making sure that every person’s rights are protected. We take great pride in this.
A Better Alternative – Removal of a Felony Conviction by Pardon or Expungement
Under certain circumstances, a judge can set aside a felony conviction through expungement or the governor of Michigan can grant a pardon. An expungement or pardon, also called executive clemency, results in federal and state restoration of firearms rights.
Although judges are frequently reluctant to set aside a felony conviction through an expungement, the lawyers with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have achieved unparalleled success in clearing felony convictions from our clients’ records. In Michigan, you qualify for a felony expungement after 5 years following your release from jail or probation, whichever was later, and if you have two or fewer misdemeanor convictions. If a judge grants your expungement, your Michigan and federal firearms rights are both restored.
If you do not qualify for an expungement because you have too many convictions, there may still be options for you. If an attorney can find a way to clear your record of a conviction that is making you ineligible for an expungement, then you may become eligible. For example, if you have one felony and three misdemeanors and one of the misdemeanor convictions is dismissed or removed, you then may become eligible.
If expungement is not an option, the Firearms Rights Restoration Team with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. can file a request with the governor of Michigan for a pardon, otherwise known as Executive Clemency. If the governor removes a felony through his or her executive power, both state and federal firearms rights are restored.
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.
“We Are Not Afraid To Win”
LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C.