Gun charges are always serious charges, and as such, a conviction can result in a significant amount of time behind bars. Your potential sentence will depend on a wide variety of factors, but you should always retain an experienced Minnesota criminal defense lawyer to represent you after an arrest for any crime.
Gun Permit Requirements
In order to carry a gun in a public place or in your vehicle in Minnesota, you need a permit to carry. There are, however, several occupations that can exempt people from this law, including state prison guards and police officers. Further, the general public is not required to have a permit to do any of the following:
• Have a gun in one’s own home
• Have a gun in one’s own business
• Have a gun on one’s own property
• Have a gun when traveling between the gun’s place of purchase and one’s home, business, property, or gun repair shop
• Have a gun when hunting or target shooting in an area where it is safe and legal to do so
• Have a gun that is unloaded and cased in one’s vehicle or on one’s boat or snowmobile
It is a gross misdemeanor to intentionally and knowingly falsely represent any information in an application for a permit to carry. Possession of a firearm without a permit is also a gross misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to one year in jail and/or with a fine of up to $3,000. If convicted of gun possession without a permit a second time, the charge becomes a felony, which can lead to several years behind bars and to tens of thousands of dollars in fines.
Carrying under the Influence
It is illegal to carry a gun for which you have a permit if you are under the influence of alcohol with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.04 percent or greater. It is not, however, illegal to carry with a permit in a bar as long as your BAC remains below 0.04 percent. If you are charged for carrying with a BAC of 0.04 percent or over, it is a misdemeanor, but if you have a prior conviction or if your BAC is 0.10 percent or higher, it becomes a gross misdemeanor with a potential penalty of up to a year in jail. Further, if your BAC is 0.10 percent or higher, your authority to carry a gun in a public place will likely be revoked.
Those Ineligible to Carry
It is a crime when a person who is identified as ineligible to carry a gun does so. Ineligibility in this context generally refers to people who:
• Have been convicted of a felony (or of certain misdemeanors)
• Have a history of mental illness
• Have history of chemical dependence or addiction
• Is undocumented
• Is a fugitive
The maximum penalty for unlawful possession by an ineligible person who is a felon is 15 years in prison. For most other forms of ineligibility, the maximum sentence is one year behind bars.
Many Minnesota laws include charge enhancements which increase the severity of an underlying crime if certain conditions exist. One such condition is the possession of a firearm during the commission of certain crimes.. An enhancement increases the maximum potential sentence you will face. Examples of charges that are enhanced by possession of a gun include:
• If you are in possession of illegal drugs and there is a gun in the vicinity
• If your charge involves assault, burglary, robbery, murder, or kidnapping
• If your charge involves criminal sexual conduct
Whatever kind of charge you face, if a gun is involved, it’s a serious charge with serious potential penalties that should never be taken lightly.
If your gun charge rises to the level of a felony, it can affect your life in surprisingly negative ways that go beyond the jail time and fines you face. These negative consequences can include:
• A felony can limit your ability to rent the home of your choice
• A felony can limit your ability to obtain student loans or to be accepted in the college of your choice
• A felony can decrease your standing in society
• A felony can limit your employment opportunities
• A felony can cause you to lose your professional licensure
An Experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help
If you are facing gun charges, it’s time to consult with one of our experienced criminal defense attorneys at Gerald Miller in Minneapolis. Our dedicated legal team is committed to skillfully defending your constitutional rights while advocating for your case’s most beneficial resolution. Your case matters, so please don’t hesitate to contact or call us at 612.440.3212 today.