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What Are The Penalties For A Convicted Felon In Possession Of A Firearm In Michigan?

A felony conviction in the State of Michigan has several collateral consequences that go beyond the fines, probation and imprisonment imposed. Convicted felons lose the ability to serve on a jury, may lose their professional licenses, jeopardize their immigration status, and ruin their housing and employment prospects. Additionally, the ability to possess or use a firearm is severely restricted. In fact, a convicted felon in possession of a firearm contrary to Michigan law may face additional criminal charges.

A person convicted of a felony ("a violation of a law of this state, another state or the United States that is punishable by imprisonment for 4 years or more) shall not possess, use, transport, sell, purchase, carry, ship, receive, or distribute a firearm or ammunition in this state, contrary to MCL 750.224f(1) and MCL 750.224f(3), until the expiration of 3 years after ALL of the following circumstances have occurred:

  • The person has served all terms of imprisonment imposed for the violation.
  • The person has successfully completed all conditions of probation or parole imposed for the violation.

However, a person convicted of a "specified felony" shall not possess, use, transport, sell, purchase, carry, ship, receive, or distribute a firearm or ammunition in this state, contrary to MCL 750.224f(2) and MCL 750.224f(4), until the expiration of 5 years after ALL of the following circumstances have occurred:

  • The person has paid all fines imposed for the violation.
  • The person has served all terms of imprisonment imposed for the violation.
  • The person has successfully completed all conditions of probation or parole imposed for the violation.
  • The person had their rights restored by court order to possess firearms and ammunition.

A "specified felony", as defined in MCL 750.244f(10), means a felony in which 1 or more of the following circumstances exist:

  • An element of that felony is the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person or property of another, or that by its nature, involves a substantial risk that physical force against the person or property of another may be used in the course of committing the offense.
  • An element of that felony is the unlawful manufacture, possession, importation, exportation, distribution, or dispensing of a controlled substance.
  • An element of that felony is the unlawful possession or distribution of a firearm.
  • An element of that felony is the unlawful use of an explosive.
  • The felony is burglary of an occupied dwelling, or breaking and entering an occupied dwelling, or arson.

A convicted felon prohibited from possessing, using, transporting, selling, purchasing, carrying, shipping, receiving, or distributing a firearm or ammunition due to a "specified felony" may petition the circuit court for restoration of those rights pursuant to MCL 28.424. A circuit court judge may restore these rights if ALL of the following have been satisfied by clear and convincing evidence:

  • The individual properly submitted a petition for restoration of those rights as provided under this section. MCL 28.424(4)(a).
  • 5 years have passed since the individual has paid all fines imposed for the violation resulting in the prohibition. MCL 28.424(4)(b)(i).
  • 5 years have passed since the individual has served all terms of imprisonment imposed for the violation resulting in the prohibition. MCL 28.424(4)(b)(ii).
  • 5 years have passed since the individual has successfully completed all conditions of probation or parole imposed for the violation resulting in the prohibition. MCL 28.424(4)(b)(iii).
  • The individual's record and reputation are such that the individual is not likely to act in a manner dangerous to the safety of other individuals. MCL 28.424(4)(c).

These restrictions do not apply to a conviction that has been expunged, set aside or pardoned unless the expungment, order, or pardon expressly provides that a person shall not possess a firearm or ammunition. MCL 750.224f(8).

A convicted felon who possesses, uses, transports, sells, carries, ships, or distributes a firearm or ammunition in violation of this section is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 5 years or a fine of not more than $5,000.00, or both.

If you or a loved one is charged with felon in possession of a firearm, you need a talented criminal defense lawyer in your corner that will vigorously protect your rights. Even if the evidence against you is strong, it may be possible to negotiate a reduction in charges or possible penalties. You should expect that sentencing judges do not take matters related to firearms lightly. Worse yet, if you are still on probation or parole, this offense will be considered a violation of your supervision that can send you back to jail or prison. Contact the experienced attorneys at Kershaw, Vititoe & Jedinak PLC to start your best defense today.

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