Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Lawyers, Guns and Money (Explained)

With apologies to the late great Warren Zevon ... as an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney I often need to advise and advocate for clients on issues related to firearms. 

The situation could be one where someone is accused of crime based on a gun - for example, the charge of Felon in Possession or he or she might be facing an enhanced charge or sentence based upon a gun  - for example, a Minnesota Statue 609.11 

In addition, criminal charges and/or convictions can impact an individual's right to own and possess firearms --- to extents never explained to them by a prosecutor or judge --- even when the crime they're charged with/convicted of had absolutely nothing to do with a gun - such as in cases of Domestic Assault and certain Drug Charges. 

What are Common Gun Crimes

As an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorneys I am often asked about common fire-arm related offenses - and their impact on one's future ability to own or possess guns.  Here is just a partial list of the more common offenses that could impact that equation:  
Minnesota law prohibits any person, other than a law enforcement officer or a state prison guard who is performing assigned duties, from carrying a pistol in a motor vehicle or in a public place without obtaining a “permit to carry.”

However, a permit to carry is not required to carry the pistol in the following situations:
  •  in one’s home, place of business, or on one’s land;
  •  from the place of purchase to one’s home or place of business;
  •  from one’s home or place of business to a repair shop;
  •  between one’s home and place of business;
  •  in the woods, fields, or on the waters of this state for hunting or target shooting in a safe area; or
  •  in a motor vehicle, snowmobile, or boat if the pistol is unloaded and in a secured box or package.
Enhanced Sentences
In addition to crimes based upon prohibited possession or uses of firearms, Minnesota has criminal statutes which enhance penalties or provide “mandatory minimum” sentences, if some other type of underlying crime is also associated with a gun in certain ways. If a gun is possessed or used impermissibly in relation to one of those other, listed crimes, then a mandatory minimum sentence can apply. 
However, an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Lawyer will try to get a prosecutor to agree to drop a gun enhancement under 609.11. If that does not succeed, I can also make a motion to the court to do so.  This called a "Royster" motion.   
Right to Own & Possess Fire Arms
When it comes to a person losing  their civil rights to purchase, possess, or use firearms, there are many ways that this can happen.  The two most common scenarios I've observed are:
  1. someone one who has lost their civil rights to firearms due to a felony conviction; and
  2. when someone has been charged with/convicted of a selected misdemeanor, or other crimes of domestic violence. 
One abnormality in this whole scenario that a felon in the State of Minnesota, who has completed probation, can apply to have their rights restored if they petition the court for their restoration and the court grants that request.  However, a person convicted of, for example, misdemeanor domestic assault cannot.  

What Should You Do?
Who would have thought getting in trouble was the easy part?  Seriously though, this is a very complicated area of the law and if you or someone you love (who loves to hunt or own and possess fire arms) has been charged with an offense that might impact their 2nd Amendment rights, you owe to him or her to at the very least speak to an attorney.  I've worked with individuals on cases where guns rights was an issue. 

Call the Rolloff Law Office today - (612) 234-1165 - to set up a free consultation to learn about how you can preserve not only your rights - but also your future.   

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