There are Various Misdemeanor and Felony Charges in Michigan Involving Firearms
As you might imagine, prosecutors and judges frequently and aggressively prosecute and punish defendants for the illegal use or possession of firearms. All is not lost though and we can help you!
Weapons Crimes are Serious and Require a Serious Defense.
Some of the most serious criminal offenses in Michigan are weapons crimes. Carrying a Concealed Weapon (CCW), Felonious Assault (FA), Felony Firearm, Felon in Possession of a Firearm, Armed Robbery are some examples of offenses that routinely result in lifelong convictions and serious jail time. Your best defense is a seriously experienced and effective criminal defense attorney.
What is Defined as a Weapon?
Many things can be defined as a weapon, and it can be based on the inherent design (gun, knife, brass knuckles) or on the circumstances of their use, meaning used as a weapon against another person in combat or in furtherance of an assault or defense to an assault. In one Michigan case, a glass mug was found to be a weapon because of the way it was used. The persuasiveness of the defense attorney frequently makes the difference between a finding that an object is or is not a weapon.
Types of Weapons Crimes
- Carrying a Concealed Weapon: This law covers both knives and pistols. This law forbids carrying any dagger, dirk, stiletto, double-edged stabbing instrument or any other dangerous weapon concealed on your person or in your car. It also forbids carrying a pistol concealed on your person or in a car. Violating this law is a felony and carries a penalty of 5 years in prison. BB guns and pellet guns are not firearms according to the statute.
- Felony Firearm: If you are found to have possessed a gun during the commission of a felony, you may be charged with Felony Firearm, which carries a 2- year jail sentence for a first offense. Importantly, if convicted of this offense, the 2-year sentence starts after you finish serving the underlying felony jail term. In these cases, a BB or pellet gun, if used to commit a felony, will be treated as seriously as an actual firearm.
- Felon in Possession of a Firearm: If you have been convicted of a felony, you may not possess a firearm. If you are found to possess a firearm, you can be convicted of this crime. The penalty is up to 5 years in prison. It does not matter if the gun is actually operational, as long as it can be “readily converted’ to being able to fire or if it was originally designed and intended to propel a dangerous projectile. This means that even if the gun is broken and won’t fire or taken apart, you can still be charged. This law also applies to possession of ammunition.
- Transporting a Stolen Firearm: If you are found to have transported a stolen firearm or ammunition, you may be charged with a 10-year felony.
- Felonious Assault: Assault is placing someone in fear of an imminent battery. Assault is the threat. Battery is the actual physical touching. Pointing a gun at someone is clearly an assault. In many of these cases, the prosecutor charges defendants who possessed ordinary items because of how they were used during an alleged assault. This crime carries a 4-year prison term. Items that are often considered “weapons” include baseball bats, tire irons, belts, bricks or rocks, cars, and any other object that can possibly cause serious bodily injury or death.
- Brandishing a Firearm: Brandishing means waving a gun around in a threatening manner. You do not have to point the gun at someone to be charged with this 90-day misdemeanor.
- Possessing a Firearm in Prohibited Places: There are some places where you cannot possess a firearm even if you have a concealed pistol license. These places include a bank, church, court of law, theater, sports arena, daycare center, hospital, and places with liquor licenses such as bars. Violation of this law is a misdemeanor and carries a 90-day penalty.
- Reckless Use of a Firearm: This offense occurs when someone handles or discharges a firearm in wanton disregard for the safety of others. This is often the charge prosecutors use when people fire off guns on the 4th of July or New Year’s Eve. This crime is a misdemeanor.
- Possession of a Firearm While Under the Influence: If you have more than .08 blood-alcohol level or are under the influence of drugs, you may not possess a gun. The reason why is obvious. This crime carries a 93-day penalty. If the use of the gun under the influence causes a serious injury to someone, you may be charged with a 5-year felony.
- Illegal Transportation of a Firearm: In Michigan, a firearm that is transported in a vehicle, other than a pistol, mu7st be unloaded and be taken down, enclosed in a case, carried in the truck, or at least inaccessible from the interior of the car. A violation of this statute can result in a jail sentence up to 90 days.
Federal Firearms Charges
The crimes listed above are all Michigan crimes. Of course, federal law also covers weapons of all kinds. The gun control Act of 1968 Title 18, United States Code, Chapter 44 is the federal law covering firearms. Federal crimes involving firearms almost always result in prison sentences unless the defense is particularly strong. If you are accused or charged with a federal firearms charge, hiring a top defense attorney is your best hope!
The Weapons Crimes Defense Attorneys
As can be seen above, the laws regarding weapons can be confusing if a person is not familiar with them. Actions that one may assume are legal may actually be illegal. When someone is charged with a crime involving a firearm, the stakes are high and everything possible must be done by a defense attorney to help the client avoid a conviction and/or a jail sentence if possible.
The dedicated, experienced and zealous defense attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have an unparalleled track record of successfully defending clients on misdemeanor and felony firearms-related charges in Oakland, Macomb, Wayne, Washtenaw, and Livingston Counties and throughout Michigan. We have a well-earned reputation for providing the highest quality defense and aggressive representation, while showing empathy and care for each client.
Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation, or complete a Request for Assistance Form and we will contact you promptly.