Michigan Felony Firearm Law – Understanding felony firearm
Call (734) 453-7806 to speak with felony firearm lawyer, Aaron J. Boria today.
A conviction for felony firearm will land someone in prison for two years. Unlike most criminal offense where someone can receive up to a term of prison, felony firearm carries a guaranteed two years prison time for a first offense. Most crimes allow a judge some leeway to deviate from a maximum prison term but with felony firearm the judge’s hands are tied.
Felony firearm is never charged by itself. There must be an underlying felony in order for the prosecutor to add this gun crime. However, someone can be found guilty of felony firearm even if they are found not guilty of the underlying offense.
For example: Police pull over a vehicle and arrest the passenger for possession of controlled substance and find a gun on that person. At trial the jury for whatever reason believes the passenger is not guilty of controlled substance possession (maybe they thought it was the driver’s drugs) the jury could still find the passenger guilty of felony firearm. As the write of this blog article we certainly do not agree with this result but it does happen and is legal.
Felony Firearm Charges
At the end of a trial the judge reads jury instructions. Every criminal offense has its own set of jury instructions. For the charge of felony firearm the judge will tell the jury the following:
The defendant is charged with the separate crime of possessing a firearm at the time they committed the crime of possession of controlled substance (or whatever the felony may be).
To prove this charge, the prosecutor must prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
First, that the defendant committed the crime of possession of controlled substance, which has been defined for you. It is not necessary, however, that the defendant be convicted of that crime.
Second, that at the time the defendant committed that crime they knowingly carried or possessed a firearm.
Defenses to Felony Firearm
A common defense is that the person was not in actual or constructive possession of a weapon. Actual possession is when the gun is in your hand or in a pocket. Constructive possession is where your gun is in your house. You don’t actually have it in your hand but it’s your gun.
Constructive possession is going to be a major issue in my current battle with Oakland County. Our client is accused of a felony that occurred at his house. Guns, that our client legally owned, were found in a different area of the house. For that reason alone he is being charged with felony firearm.
This very scenario shocks people because there is no evidence of any wrongdoing, they are just merely there so they prosecutor unfairly charges the offense that could send a person to prison for two full years. The Michigan Court of Appeals has made it law that there doesn’t have to be any connection between the gun and the felony in a case called People v Elowe, 85 Mich App 744.
Another defense is that the gun was not readily available. The Michigan Supreme Court has upheld felony firearm in cases where the gun wasn’t loaded so not being readily available would have to be more than that, maybe broken down.
Sometimes felony firearm is charged when it shouldn’t be. If police stop you and you are accused of concealing a weapon and later charged with carrying a concealed weapon the prosecutor’s office cannot legally add felony firearm. If they do charge felony firearm based on carrying a concealed weapon the judge will have no choice but to dismiss on motion.
Michigan Felony Firearm Lawyer
Michigan criminal lawyer, Aaron J. Boria, has successfully represented those accused of felony firearm resulting in a complete dismissal of the charge on multiple occasions.
If you have been charged with felony firearm then call the attorney that will stand up for you. We don’t just take on as many clients as we can. Michigan criminal lawyer Aaron J. Boria takes on a limited number of cases each month to make sure that his client’s get the absolute best representation available.
Call (734) 453-7806 or email email@example.com to speak with Boria today. We also have an open door policy so feel free to drop by at our office at 472 Starkweather Street, Plymouth, MI 48170. We have an open door policy.