Felony-firearm is the offense of carrying a firearm during the commission of a felony. The penalties are steep.
Penalties for a Felon-Firearm Conviction
A felony-firearm conviction results in a mandatory minimum incarceration of two years in prison. A second felony-firearm conviction results in a mandatory minimum of 5 years imprisonment. A third or subsequent conviction means a mandatory minimum of ten years.
The mandatory minimum sentence is consecutive and in addition to a conviction for another felony, including the underlying felony for the felony-firearm conviction. This means a person would serve the sentence for felony-firearm before the sentence for any other conviction begins.
For example, let’s say a person is convicted of felony-firearm first-offense in addition to assault with a dangerous weapon. The person would go to prison for two years, and at the end of the two years, the sentence for the assault charge would begin.
What is the Underlying Felony for Felony-Firearm Mean?
For a person to be convicted of felony-firearm, the person must have committed a felony while in possession of a firearm. This can be any felony, including felon in possession of a firearm, with the exception of four felonies specifically listed by statute. The four felonies that would not lead to a felony-firearm conviction include:
- Carrying a Concealed Weapon – MCL 750.227
- Selling Firearms/Ammunition Illegally – MCL 750.223
- Altering Firearms Identification Numbers – MCL 750.230
- Unlawful Possession of a Pistol by a Licensee – MCL 750.227a
A Pneumatic Gun Can Result in a Felony-Firearm Charge
A person could be convicted of felony-firearm if they are in possession of a pneumatic gun. What is a pneumatic gun? This is a gun that fires a projectile by air pressure, as opposed to a traditional firearm. An example of this would be BB guns, which come in various levels of strength.
The Firearm Does Not Need to Work
A firearm is a firearm for purposes of this so long as it is a device designed to expel a projectile by explosive, gas, or air. It does not matter if the gun is unable to actually shoot because of a defect or missing equipment. If is a firearm, a person can be in trouble for felony-firearm. This comes from the Michigan Supreme Court case People v. Peals.
Fighting Felony-Firearm Charges
Felony-firearm charges are very serious because of the potential consequence of a mandatory minimum prison term. There are two main ways to fight these cases. First, fight the underlying felony charge. A person cannot be guilty of felony-firearm if they did not commit a felony. And second, arguing there was no possession of the firearm. A person who did not have the firearm in possession while committing a felony cannot be guilty of felony-firearm.
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Sam Bernstein is a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Ann Arbor.
ArborYpsi Law is located at 4158 Washtenaw Ave., Ann Arbor, MI 48108.