Gun laws in Michigan are highly technical. The tiniest little nuance of exactly where a gun is or how it’s being carried will make the difference between the situation being legal or illegal. If you’ve been charged with having an illegally concealed weapon, what are your potential consequences, and how do you fight the accusation?
Carrying a Gun in Michigan
The differences between an open carry and a concealed carry in Michigan are minute. First of all, Michigan has no open carry laws. It’s all just a legal loophole. In Michigan, you may openly carry a firearm because there are no direct laws saying you can’t. To cover for this, there are some exceptions.
In Michigan, it is illegal to have a firearm in the following places:
- Financial institutions
- Churches, synagogues, mosques, etc.
- Sports venues
- Daycares and schools
- Bars and liquor stores
Carrying a firearm in these venues is punishable by up to 93 days in jail and fines up to $500, but there are even exceptions to these rules.
In the above locations, security and peace officers may have guns. Anyone with a concealed carry license from any state may carry, and anyone that the owner gives permission can carry a gun.
There are laws against carrying a concealed firearm without a permit, and they get very granular. For example, if your gun is visible on the outside of your coat, it’s not illegal to carry. If, however, your gun is just on the inside of your coat by your waistline, it’s considered to be concealed. The weapon doesn’t even need to be fully invisible. By law, if it can’t be seen by someone who is “casually observing” you, it’s considered concealed.
Michigan Concealed Gun Charge
With all of those various rules, you may find yourself charged with illegally concealing a weapon. This crime is considered a felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and fines of up to $2,500. If you’ve been accused of this crime, call a lawyer right away. A good defense lawyer knows the gun laws in and out and can craft a reasonable defense for you.
Defenses Against Concealed Weapons Accusations
With the help of your lawyer, you can use the intricacies of gun laws to argue against your charges. Here are some defenses you and your lawyer can use.
Lack of Knowledge
A big part of any criminal accusation is intent. For a gun charge to stick, the prosecution needs to show that you were aware that you were concealing a gun. But what if the gun was inside of a coat pocket that you borrowed from a friend? If you weren’t aware that it was on you at all, you can argue that you had no knowledge of the weapon.
Who saw you with this weapon? How could they have seen it if it was concealed? Maybe, yes, you had a gun on you, but it was in the open. Was this witness positioned in such a way that it only looked concealed from their vantage point? Once you start to break down the reliability of the witness, it becomes much easier to demonstrate that you were not carrying a concealed weapon.
Untie the Knot
With all of the rules and exceptions and caveats in Michigan’s gun laws, it may be possible to “untie the knot” and show that, technically, you were carrying the firearm legally. This is where the help of a skilled lawyer will be invaluable. With their experience and knowledge, they can sift through all the laws and subsections to argue that you were legally carrying the firearm all along.
How was the officer able to find the gun in the first place? Was it during a traffic stop? Maybe that traffic stop was made under false pretenses. Perhaps the stop was legal, but the search the cops made to your vehicle wasn’t. Did the officer just stop you on the street and claim they had probable cause to pat you down? Once again, a professional with knowledge of the law can use those laws against your arresting officer.
You Had a Legal Right to Conceal Carry
Researching the timeline of when you were arrested, your lawyer may be able to argue that at the time of the arrest, you had a legal CPL (concealed pistol license).
If you’ve been charged with carrying a concealed weapon, call us today. You don’t have to take this accusation lying down, and we want to help you fight for your freedom. Set up a free consultation with us today by calling (517) 316-1195 or contacting us online.