Carrying a Concealed Weapon – CCW

Carrying a Concealed Weapon (CCW) is a felony in Michigan that carries a maximum punishment of 5 years in prison or a $2500 fine. If charged with Carrying a Concealed Weapon, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:

1)  The Defendant knowingly carried a concealed weapon such as a pistol, dirk (a straight knife with a pointed blade), dagger (a knife with a short, pointed blade). stiletto (a small dagger with a slender tapering blade), double edged non folding stabbing instrument, or a dangerous stabbing weapon. It does not matter if the Defendant carried the weapon for protection, because self defense is not a defense to this charge.

2)   The weapon was concealed on the Defendant’s person. Complete invisibility is not required. A weapon is concealed if it cannot easily be seen by those who come into ordinary contact with the Defendant.   A pistol carried in a holster or belt outside of a person’s clothing in plain view is not considered to be concealed. If a coat covered the holster or belt, the pistol becomes concealed.

3)      OR the Defendant had the weapon in a vehicle, knew that it was there, and took part in carrying or keeping the weapon in the vehicle.

4)      AND One of the exceptions listed below does not apply

The prosecutor has the burden to refute any of the following exceptions beyond a reasonable doubt:

1)   The law for carrying a concealed weapon does not apply to hunting knifes being used for hunting.

2)      The law does not apply to anyone who has a valid CCW pistol permit that is not handling the pistol in a manner contrary to any restrictions on the license.

3)      The law does not apply to a person who carries a weapon in his or her own home, place of business, or other land that he or she possesses.

4)  The law does not apply to an authorized agent of a licensed manufacturer of firearms who is engaged in the ordinary transportation of pistols as merchandise.

5)      The law does not apply to a person with an antique gun who is going to or coming from a hunting or target shooting area, a function involving the exhibition, demonstration or sale of antique guns. Antique guns include: guns that were manufactured before 1898 that are not designed or redesigned to use rimfire or conventional centerfire ignition with fixed ammunition; guns or reproductions of guns that use a matchlock, flintlock, percussion cap, or a similar type of ignition system; any gun made before 1898 that uses fixed ammunition of a kind no longer made in the United States and not readily, commercially, available).

6)      The law does not apply to a person who transports the pistol from the place of purchase, to and from the place of repair, and when moving from his or her home or place of business.

7)  The law does not apply to a person with a valid hunting license carrying a weapon to and from the hunting area.

8)      The law does not apply to someone with proof of a valid membership in an organization having a pistol shooting range carrying the weapon to and from the target shooting area.

9)  The law does not apply to sales of collector guns under some circumstances.

10) The law does not apply in some circumstances when transporting firearms between states who are not residents of Michigan.

A pistol is defined as a firearm, less than 30 inches in length, which includes any weapon from which a dangerous object can be shot or propelled by the use of explosives, gas, or air.  It does not include bb guns .177 caliber or smaller. To commit this offense it does not matter whether or not the pistol was loaded. However, it is not against the law to carry a gun that is totally not usable as a firearm which cannot be easily made operable.

A dangerous stabbing weapon is any object that is carried as a weapon for bodily assault or defense and that is likely to cause serious physical injury or death when used as a stabbing weapon. Some knifes are designed for peaceful purposes (for example, steak knives, Swiss Army knives) but may be used as dangerous weapons. The Judge or Jury decides if the prosecutor proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the weapon in question was a dangerous weapon based upon the facts and circumstances of the case. To be considered a dangerous weapon, the knife’s blade must be greater than 3 inches in length.

When moving a pistol in any of the above described situations, it must be unloaded, in a wrapper or container, and not easily accessible to the people in the vehicle to avoid prosecution. Failure to properly transport the pistol is also considered to be a misdemeanor, with a possible jail sentence of up to 90 days, or a fine of up to $100, or both. If the pistol is carried in violation of the conditions of a concealed weapons license (for example, if it is carried into a pistol free zone), a prosecution may commence as well, along with possible loss of the CCW permit.

If such an allegation is made against you it is recommended that you first exercise your right to remain silent and second hire a skilled and experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible after your arrest for the following reasons:

1.  You have a better chance of receiving a reasonable bail or bond through effective legal representation;
2.  The lawyer can prepare the case for preliminary examination to work for possible dismissal, lay the groundwork for possible motions, develop testimony to impeach witnesses, and develop defenses for trial.
3.   If you plan to plead guilty, the Defense lawyer can work to achieve the best result through possible plea bargains, possible Cobbs agreements, persuasive lawyering, proper scoring of the Michigan Sentence Guidelines, successful arguments concerning possible sentencing options such as HYTA – Holmes Youthful Trainee Act, SAI Bootcamp, drug and alcohol treatment.  Every case is different, and whether or not the factors in this paragraph apply depends upon your history, the facts of the allegation, the Prosecutor’s office, and the Judge assigned to the case.
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