In the State of Michigan, two laws can be confused with each other, but both are equally strict. One is the Felon in Possession of a Firearm (FIP) and another is a Felony Firearm (FF).
What are the differences between the two? When would one be charged compared to the other? There are only a few differences between the two crimes. To begin, let us talk about the law on Felony Firearms in Michigan.
Law on Felony Firearm in Michigan
The crime of Carrying or Possessing a Firearm During The Commission of a Crime or an Attempt to Commit a Felony is one that every person in Michigan knows.
A person who carries or possesses a firearm while committing a felony in Michigan can be charged with a Felony Firearm as well as another felony. This is called the existence of a predicate crime for the charging of another crime.
Does this mean that for a felony firearm to be charged, I must be committing a crime?
Yes, there should exist a predicate crime which is the existence of another crime charged before you can be charged with a felony firearm.
Should the gun be discharged?
No, the mere carrying of the firearm is enough to be convicted of the crime. Even if the gun had not been used or discharged, it is still chargeable as an offense under felony firearm.
What if I only made the person believe that I was carrying a firearm when I was not?
You cannot be charged with a felony firearm if you did not use a firearm and only pretended to carry a firearm and you did not.
Does that mean that I can commit a misdemeanor while carrying a weapon?
The opinion on this matter is not yet settled and the Supreme Court of Michigan also has split opinions on the matter.
In the case of People v Washington, Docket No. 156283 ruled on June 12, 2018, the court ruled the following:
“Whether a person is guilty of felony-firearm under the Penal Code depends on whether that person committed or attempted to commit a “felony” when he or she was carrying or possessing a firearm. The Penal Code defines “felony” as an offense punishable by imprisonment in a state prison. Although the Legislature intended the offense of keeping or maintaining a drug house to be a misdemeanor for purposes of the Public Health Code, that offense is punishable by imprisonment in a state prison, and therefore it satisfies the definition of “felony” in the Penal Code and may serve as the predicate felony for a felony-firearm conviction. Thus, under the clear and unambiguous language of the Penal Code, a person who carries or possesses a firearm when keeping or maintaining a drug house is guilty of felony-firearm”
Here, it is clear that the definition of the felony is the controlling factor on whether or not it is proper to charge a felony firearm against a person.
In the case of People v Washington, he was charged with a misdemeanor of keeping and maintaining a drug house. The point of contention was whether the charge can be a predicate crime to the charge of felony firearm. According to the decision, the following is the decision:
“According to the majority, only by applying the Michigan Code of Criminal Procedure’s definition of “felony” can the misdemeanor offense of keeping or maintaining a drug house be treated as a felony for purposes of a felony-firearm conviction.11 This would be impermissible, said the majority, because that definition “cannot be used to make a two-year misdemeanor offense that is located in a different act, such as the Penal Code or the Public Health Code into a felony[.]” Thus, the majority concluded that defendant’s conviction for keeping or maintaining a drug house could not serve as the underlying felony for his felony-firearm conviction because the offense is a misdemeanor, not a felony”.
Is there an exemption to the rule?
The prosecutor can charge you with a felony firearm in all instances. As long as you carried or possessed a firearm while committing the felony, you will be charged with the offense. It is, however, subject to certain exceptions.
One of the known exemptions to the rule is the crime of Unlawfully Carrying a Concealed Weapon. Here, if you are carrying a firearm that is concealed you will only be charged with the predicate crime of unlawfully carrying a concealed weapon.
The same thing applies if you are caught with a firearm that is concealed, whether or not you are committing a crime. Here, you can only be charged with Unlawfully Carrying a Concealed Weapon and not the Felony Firearm anymore.
Contact Your Lawyer Today
If you have been charged with gun possession crimes in Michigan, you should contact us today. A lawyer can help you get started fighting for your rights. A lawyer at Haque Legal will see to it that your needs are met from beginning to the end of the proceedings. You are always in good hands with Haque Legal and what it has to offer.
The article that you have read is based on general applications of the law. It is not legal advice and it is not to be construed as any legal consultation with the firm. No client-attorney relationship is created when you read the articles we have provided.
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