In Michigan, the Use of a Firearm in the Commission of a Felony (Michigan Compiled Laws section 750.227b), also known as Felony Firearm, carries significant punishment. As a first offense, the mandatory incarceration is a flat 2 years in prison; as a second offense, a mandatory, flat 5 years in prison; and as a third offense the mandatory punishment is a flat 10 years in prison. The law provides for consecutive, or “stacked” sentencing. Hence, an individual who was convicted of selling marijuana and Felony Firearm first offense must serve 2 years in prison for the Felony Firearm before beginning to serve the sentence for selling marijuana. In most circumstances, the Judge has no discretion and MUST impose the flat, consecutive 2, 5, or 10 year sentence as required by Michigan law.
A determination of guilt can be based upon actually possessing the firearm on a person (for example, in a coat pocket), or constructively possessing the firearm (for example, in the glove compartment of the car). However, there must be a nexus (a connected relationship) between the possession of the firearm and the commission of an applicable underlying felony with the firearm. A person stealing a car in Detroit could not be charged with Felony Firearm for a gun found in the person’s house in West Bloomfield which has nothing to do with the stealing of the car.
Prosecutors are very eager to charge Felony Firearm when applicable. The Michigan Legislature allows a Felony Firearm charge in connection with the charge of Felon in Possession of a Firearm. It is not considered double jeopardy under Michigan case law, and Prosecutors commonly charge these two offenses together. Because the penalty is so harsh, it is important to retain an experienced, seasoned criminal lawyer to assist you.