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Weapons Charges

Everything you need to know when facing a weapon-related charge, and how we attack the issue head on to either vindicate you or mitigate your charges

What Are the Different Weapons-Related Charges in Michigan?

To prove this charge, the prosecutor must prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. The accused knowingly carried a pistol or dangerous weapon;
  2. that this pistol or dangerous weapon was concealed on or about the person of the accused;
  3.  

Special Considerations

  • It does not matter why the accused was carrying the weapon, but to be guilty of this crime the defendant must have known that he or she was carrying a pistol.
  • Complete invisibility is not required. A pistol is concealed if it cannot easily be seen by those who come into ordinary contact with the accused.
  • The statute for carrying a concealed weapon covers two situations: where the weapon is concealed on a person and where the weapon is carried in a vehicle.

Penalty

  • Felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than five years or by a fine of not more than $2,500
  • A conviction under serves as a future bar to carrying any legal concealed weapons as well as legally owning any firearms. The weapon seized is usually subject to destruction

To prove this charge, the prosecutor must prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. The accused went armed with a Firearm or Dangerous Weapon; and 
  2. At that time the accused  intended to use this weapon unlawfully against someone else.

Special Considerations

  • Aggravated use of weapon is implicated if the weapon is displayed, implied, or actually shown.

Penalty

  • Felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than five years or by a fine of not more than $2,500.
  • A conviction under this statute serves as a future bar to carrying any legal concealed weapons as well as legally owning any firearms.
  • The weapon seized is usually subject to destruction

To prove this charge, the prosecutor must prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. That someone was injured or killed;
  2. That the injury or death was caused by the discharge of a gun; and 
  3. That either 
    1. the gun was discharged by the accused; or
    2. at the time of the discharge the gun was under the immediate control of the accused and the accused caused or allowed the gun to be discharged; and
  4. That the discharge was the result of the accused’s carelessness, recklessness, or negligence.

Special Considerations

  • The actual ownership of the weapon may be an issue to be explored along with the entire fact situation.

Penalty

  • Misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than two years, a fine of not more than $2,000, or imprisonment in the county jail for not more than one year, in the discretion of the court.
  • If the defendant holds a concealed pistol license, the license would be revoked.
  • A conviction under this statute serves as a future bar to carrying any legal concealed weapons as well as legally owning any firearms.
  • The weapon seized is usually subject to destruction

To prove this charge, the prosecutor must prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. The accused was intentionally pointing the gun at or toward another person but without intending to threaten or harm anyone

Special Considerations

  • This crime arises out of the specific factual context and mindset of the accused. Where, when, and how the accused acted is critical. Intent for self-defense is crucial, so we always look carefully at the specific circumstances.
  • In general, justified use of a firearm in self-defense is defined by three elements:
    • (1) the ability of the assailant to inflict grave bodily harm or death,
    • (2) the opportunity of the assailant to inflict bodily injury or death, and
    • (3) the actual jeopardy in which the defendant perceived himself or herself to be.
  • Prosecutors consider these practical factors in charging decisions. Another important factor is the ability of the accused to have escaped or avoided the potential trouble.

Penalty

  • Misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 93 days, a fine of not more than $500, or both.
  • A conviction will preclude an individual from applying for and receiving a concealed pistol license (CPL) for eight years.
  • If the accused is already a CPL holder, his or her license will be immediately suspended on arrest and revoked on conviction.

To prove this charge, the prosecutor must prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. The accused pointed a gun at or toward another person;
  2. That the defendant intended to point the gun but did not intend to threaten or harm anyone;
  3. That while pointing the gun the accused discharged it.

Special Considerations

  • We try to mitigate a plea for this charge when our client is facing a weapons assault charge.
  • It could also be used in an imperfect self-defense claim (e.g., a shot across the bow).
  • Because the crime is a misdemeanor, we urge the prosecutor’s office to offer it as a compromise crime.

Penalty

  • Misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than one year, a fine of not more than $500, or both.

And

  • A conviction  will result in a revocation of a person’s concealed pistol license (CPL).
  • The person also would not be eligible to apply for a CPL for eight years.
  • The weapon seized is usually subject to destruction

To prove this charge, the prosecutor must prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. The accused recklessly, heedlessly, willfully, or wantonly used, carried, handled, or fired a gun without reasonable caution for the rights, safety, or property of others.

Special Considerations

  • This charge is geared mainly toward hunters and people who are drinking and hunting at the same time
  • This could be a lesser included charge to a felony assault charge

Penalty

  • Misdemeanor
  • This charge carries with it the loss of hunting privileges

And

  • A conviction  will result in a revocation of a person’s concealed pistol license (CPL).
  • The person also would not be eligible to apply for a CPL for eight years.
  • The weapon seized is usually subject to destruction

To prove this charge, the prosecutor must prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. The accused knowingly manufactured, sold, offered for sale, or possessed;
    1. a machine gun;
    2. a muffler or silencer;
    3. a bomb;
    4. a blackjack;
    5. a slingshot;
    6. a billy club;
    7. a sand club or sand bag;
    8. a bludgeon;
    9. metal knuckles;
    10. a weapon designed for the purpose of rendering a person either temporarily or permanently disabled by the ejection, release, or emission of a gas or other substance;
  2. At the time the accused did so, they knew the object to be a weapon;

Special Considerations

  • This crime is usually tied to marketing of multiple weapons or an enhancing count associated with a drug offense. This is also a common count with gang offenses.
  • When these types of charges arise, we make sure to have an expert examine the alleged destructive devices, because they may not meet the strict definition given in the statute.
  •  

Penalty

  • Felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than five years, a fine of not more than $2,500, or both.

And

  • A conviction under this statute serves as a future bar to carrying any legal concealed weapons as well as legally owning any firearms.
  • The weapon seized is usually subject to destruction

To prove this charge, the prosecutor must prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. The accused committed or attempted to commit a felony;
  2. At the time the defendant committed or attempted to commit that crime he or she knowingly carried or possessed a firearm.

Special Considerations

  • It is not necessary that the defendant be convicted of the accompanying crime;
  • It does not matter whether or not the firearm was capable of firing a projectile or whether it was loaded
  • The defendant’s intent regarding his or her possession of the firearm during commission of the felony is irrelevant. People v Perry119 Mich App 98, 326 NW2d 437 (1982). No nexus between the firearm and the felony need be established.

Penalty

  • Felony punishable by imprisonment for 2 years.
  • Second conviction: imprisonment for 5 years.
  • Third or subsequent conviction: imprisonment for 10 years.

A term of imprisonment for this offense is in addition to the sentence imposed for the conviction of the felony or the attempt to commit the felony and must be served consecutively with and preceding any term of imprisonment imposed for the conviction of the felony or attempt to commit the felony.

To prove this charge, the prosecutor must prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. The accused intentionally discharged a firearm;
  2. That the accused did so either;
    1. from a motor vehicle;
    2. at a building; or
    3. in a building; and 
  3. The accused discharged the firearm in a way that endangered someone else, caused physical injury, serious impairment of a body function, or death.

Special Considerations

  • Cases in which this instruction may apply are fact specific. A careful investigation and development of the facts is critical in trying the case.

Penalty

  • Discharge from a motor vehicle: Felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than four years, a fine of not more than $2,000, or both;
  • Discharge towards a dwelling or building: Felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than four years, a fine of not more than $2,000, or both;
  • Discharge in a dwelling or building: Felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 10 years, a fine of not more than $10,000, or both;
  • Discharge in a dwelling or building and causing injury: Felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 15 years, a fine of not more than $15,000, or both
  • Discharge in a dwelling or building and causing serious injury of bodily function: Felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 20 years, a fine of not more than $25,000, or both
  • Discharge in a dwelling or building and causing death: Felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than life.

Enhanced penalties are also enacted for a violation that causes any physical injury, serious impairment of a body function, or death.

To prove this charge, the prosecutor must prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. The accused possessed,  used, transported, sold, distributed, received, carried, shipped, or purchased a firearm or ammunition in this state;
  2. The accused was previously convicted of a felon; and 
  3. That less than three years had passed since all fines were paid, all imprisonment was served, and all terms of probation or parole were successfully completed. (specified felonies require 5 years)

Special Considerations

  • The firearm does not have to be operable to qualify as a “firearm”
  • Self-defense is a defense to the charge of felon in possession of a firearm
  • A felony is a specified felony 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
    • An element of that felony is the unlawful manufacture, possession, importation, exportation, distribution, or dispensing of a controlled substance; or
    • An element of that felony is the unlawful possession or distribution of a firearm; or
    • An element of that felony is the unlawful use of an explosive; or
    • The felony is burglary of an occupied dwelling, or breaking and entering an occupied dwelling, or arson

Penalty

  • Felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than five years, a fine of not more than $5,000, or both

And 

  • A conviction under this statute serves as a future bar to carrying any legal concealed weapons as well as legally owning any firearms.
  • The weapon seized is usually subject to destruction

What will we do as your Defense Attorney?

These are very serious charges that require an aggressive defense in which all of the facts of the case are thoroughly reviewed. We listen carefully to what our clients tell us in order to both put together a strong defense and mitigate sentencing. We do this in several ways.

First, we never take for granted that the police report is an accurate representation of the incident in question. These reports are usually very biased towards convicting the accused, and are therefore often filled with inconsistencies. We use our client’s testimony, research, private investigators, and crime scene visits to poke holes in the prosecution’s case, and ultimately, prove your innocence or argue that the facts are so that a lenient sentence is appropriate. We always visit the scene of the crime. It’s the only way to learn details showing that the police investigation was flawed or that the prosecution’s eyewitness could not have seen what he or she claims.

Any concealed weapons charges against one of our clients is considered in light of the entire circumstances. This is especially important where our client has no prior offenses and the circumstances of the arrest do not suggest any other criminal activity was occurring.

Another consideration would be our clients first-time offender status. Each county prosecutor’s office has different policies on gun crimes. We always  determine whether our client may qualify for any special consideration under these policies.

In vehicles with multiple passengers, there may be a defense based on the proximity of the accused  to the firearm. The circumstances of the discovery of the weapon are important to establish this defense.

If the accused is between the ages of 17 and 24 they may be eligible to qualify for a sentence under the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act (HYTA). This Act allows the client to plead guilty, but have the offense dismissed by the court if he or she satisfies the terms set by the court. HYTA does not apply to any felony where the maximum penalty is life imprisonment (such as First Degree Arson). With that said, we always try to plea down to a non–life offense such as simple Second Degree Arson, so that HYTA is available. 

Convincing the prosecutor to reduce the charge  should always be on the table.  Mitigating factors that we look out for are things like the state of mind of the accused, prior history, and positive influence in the community. Also important is the circumstances of the arrest and whether other criminal activity was involved. In other words the punishment must fit the crime or we will not stand for it. 

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Email: kerrylawpllc@gmail.com

Tel: (734) 263-1193

Address: 214 S. Main St. Ste 200
                 Ann Arbor MI, 48104
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