Firearm & Weapons Charges
At Cripps & Silver we have extensive experience representing individuals facing firearms or weapons charges. We are well-versed in Michigan’s complex gun laws and regulations and no case is too challenging for us to take on. We will thoroughly investigate the case against you, determine whether any of the numerous gun law exceptions apply to your situation, and explore every possible defense, including Fourth Amendment violations (illegal search and seizure).
We are dedicated to helping our clients out of difficult situations and guiding them through the criminal justice system with skill, compassion, and respect. We keep clients and their families well-informed throughout the process, both to avoid any surprises and to provide some comfort and peace of mind during what can be a stressful and overwhelming time. We will explore every option while providing honest advice so that clients understand exactly what they are facing.
Under Michigan law, the following firearms are banned:
- Machine guns
- Automatic weapons
- Short-barreled shotgun (except as permitted by federal law);
- Short-barreled rifle (except as permitted by federal law); and
- Armor-piercing ammunition.
Possession of an illegal firearm is a felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison, or a fine of up to $2,500, or both.
Certain individuals are prohibited from owning a firearm in Michigan including:
- People under the age of eighteen
- Convicted felons (individuals may have their gun ownership rights restored 3 years after certain conditions are met)
- Individuals who have been declared insane and their sanity has not been restored by court order
- Individuals under order for commitment due to mental illness
- Individuals who failed to answer 70% of answers correctly on the basic pistol safety questionnaire needed to purchase a gun.
Felon in Possession of a Firearm
Anyone convicted of a felony in Michigan loses their rights to own or use firearms for 3 or years, depending on the original charges. If you have a felony on your record and you are found with a gun on your person or in your home or vehicle, you could face new criminal charges as a felon in possession of a firearm. This is a new felony with a maximum punishment of 5 years in prison and a fine of $5,000. Your weapon will also be confiscated without compensation.
Other Firearms Charges
It is also a felony punishable by 5 years in prison, or a fine up to $2,500, or both, to “with intent to use the same unlawfully against the person of another, go armed with”:
- A pistol or other firearm
- Pneumatic gun
- Knife having a blade over 3 inches in length
With certain exceptions, it is a misdemeanor punishable by nor more than 90 days in jail, or a $100 fine, or both, to possess a firearm on certain premises, including: a house of worship; a court; a theater; a hospital; a day care center; and a sports arena.
Purchasing, carrying, possessing, or transporting a pistol without a license is also illegal. Pointing or aiming a firearm at another person “without malice” is a misdemeanor punishable by no more than 93 days in jail, or a fine up to $500, or both.
Under Michigan law it is a felony, punishable by 5 years in prison, or a fine up to $2,500, or both, to manufacture, sell, or possess the following weapons:
- A bomb or bombshell.
- A blackjack, slungshot, billy, metallic knuckles, sand club, sand bag, or bludgeon
- A device, weapon, cartridge, container, or contrivance designed to render a person temporarily or permanently disabled by the ejection, release, or emission of a gas or other substance
Exceptions include self-defense spray, or a person manufacturing firearms, explosives, or munitions of war under a government contract.
It is a felony (punishable by 5 years in prison, or a fine up to $2,500, or both) to carry a “dangerous weapon,” including a dagger, dirk, stiletto, a double-edged non-folding stabbing instrument of any length (except a hunting knife adapted and carried as such), concealed on your person, or in any vehicle you are occupying or operating. Exceptions to this law include your own house, place of business, or other land you possess.
The same is true for carrying a concealed pistol without a license or, if licensed, “in a place or manner inconsistent with any restrictions upon such license.”
Michigan Felony Firearm Laws
Michigan law also allows for additional criminal charges if a person is carrying a firearm when he or she commits or attempts to commit another felony. It does not matter if the firearm was used in the commission of the felony or was merely on the defendant’s person at the time. This “felony firearm” law carries a penalty of 2 to 5 years in prison. This is a mandatory prison sentence with no probation or parole option. The penalty must also be served consecutively to any other jail or prison sentence. If the defendant has two prior felony firearm convictions, the prison sentence is increased 5 to 10 years.
How a Detroit Firearms & Weapons Attorney Can Help
If you have been charged with a firearms or weapons offense, we welcome you to contact Cripps & Silver now.