Unlawful Possession Of A Firearm
The State of Minnesota criminalizes unlawful possession of a firearm. A person can be arrested for this crime if he or she was caught with a firearm they were not allowed to have. Unfortunately, weapon and firearm accusations of this nature carry significant penalties such as jail time and fines.
An arrest does not mean a conviction. If you are facing a firearm charge, it’s crucial to protect your legal rights and seek experienced legal counsel as soon as possible.
Minnesota Unlawful Possession Of A Firearm Lawyer
If you are facing an unlawful possession of a firearm charge in Minnesota, you should contact a skilled criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Defense lawyer James Blumberg at James Blumberg Law has years of experience in criminal law and can develop a proven strategy defend your rights.
Our initial consultation is free so call (952) 431-7758 today. James Blumberg Law gladly serves clients throughout the state of Minnesota including Dakota County. We also accept clients in nearby communities including Rice County, Steele County, Scott County, Sibley County, Dodge County, Olmsted County, and Carver County.
- Definition of Possession
- Definition of Unlawful Firearm
- What Are The Penalties For Unlawful Possession?
- Statute Of Limitations For Charges Of Unlawful Possession
- What Are Defenses To A Charge Of Unlawful Possession Of A Firearm?
- Additional Resources
Definition of Possession
This seemingly simple crime does have a complication. The complication comes from the definition of the word “possession.” There are two types of possession. The first type of possession is actual possession. This is precisely what it sounds like—the individual in question has their hands on the firearm. The second type of possession is known as constructive possession. Constructive possession occurs when the individual in question is considered to have had possession of the firearm even though they didn’t physically have the firearm in their hands.
Constructive possession can be found in two sets of circumstances. The first is when the firearm is found in a place that the individual in question had complete control over, such that no other individuals could have gained access to the firearm.
The second set of circumstances that can be considered constructive possession occurs when the firearm is found in a place that other individuals may have had access to, but the evidence indicates there is a strong probability the individual in question was exercising control over the area. For example, if an illegal firearm is found in a car you are driving, you may be found to be in constructive possession of the firearm even if the firearm does not belong to you and you are not actively holding it when it is discovered.
Definition of Unlawful Firearm
What is an “unlawful firearm” in Minnesota? Under Minnesota law, an unlawful firearm is possessed by an individual who is not allowed to possess a firearm. There are many reasons a person may be forbidden from possessing firearms under Minnesota law. Some of these reasons include:
- The individual is too young (under the age of 14) and is not supervised
- The individual has been convicted of a felony
- The individual has been convicted of a violent crime, even if that crime is not a felony
- The individual is a drug offender – if they have been convicted of a drug crime, they may not possess a firearm until they provide a doctor’s note that they have been clean for two years
- The individual has been committed for mental illness
- An individual who has been committed for chemical dependency on a noncontrolled substance cannot possess a firearm until they are released
- An individual who has been committed for dependency on an illegal drug cannot possess a firearm until they can prove (with a doctor’s note) that they have been clean for two years
- The individual is a nonresident alien—they can only possess a firearm to hunt game
- The individual is an illegal alien
- The individual was dishonorably discharged from the armed forces
- The individual has renounced their United States citizenship
What Are The Penalties For Unlawful Possession?
Unlawful possession of a firearm, also called possession of a firearm by an ineligible person in Minnesota, is a felony. The punishment for this crime is up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $30,000.
Statute Of Limitations For Charges Of Unlawful Possession
The statute of limitations in Minnesota for the crime of unlawful possession of a firearm, or possession of a firearm by an ineligible person, is three years.
What Are Defenses To A Charge Of Unlawful Possession Of A Firearm?
Having a valid permit to possess the firearm in question is likely to be the strongest defense to the charge of unlawful possession of a firearm. However, even if a permit is validly obtained, that permit can be voided. For example, a permit will be voided if the holder is convicted of a violent crime. Additionally, permits to possess a pistol expire five years after they are issued unless they are renewed. Individuals with a permit to possess a pistol do not have to conceal the gun, but they may conceal it if they want to.
There are some cases where it is legal to carry a firearm (specifically a pistol) without a permit in Minnesota. Law enforcement officers and on-duty state prison guards may carry a pistol in a public place without a permit. An individual member of the general public may carry a pistol in the following circumstances, even if they do not have a permit for the pistol:
- In the individual’s home
- In the individual’s place of business
- In the individual’s car or other vehicle, but only if the pistol is not loaded and is in a case
- On the individual’s land
- On public land, if the purpose is for hunting game or for target shooting (if the area is safe)
- When traveling between the individual’s home, place of business, the place the pistol was purchased, or a repair shop for the pistol
Firearm Possession Restrictions Under Minnesota Law – The Research Department of the Minnesota House of Representatives offers a concise document to provide information about restrictions on possession of a firearm in Minnesota.
Obtaining a Permit to Purchase a Firearm – The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension provides an application to legally purchase or otherwise transfer a firearm within the state.
Permit to Carry a Pistol – The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension provides an application to apply for a permit to carry a handgun (pistol) in public, along with other information about handgun possession.
Apple Valley Unlawful Possession of a Firearm Attorney | Dakota County, Minnesota
If you were arrested for unlawful possession of a firearm in Apple Valley, Minnesota, you could be facing significant jail time and steep fines. To acquire skilled legal representation, contact James Blumberg Law. Criminal defense attorney James Blumberg at James Blumberg Law has handled hundreds of criminal cases and understands what stressful time you may be facing. He can help you obtain a reduction or dismissal of charges.
James Blumberg Law accepts firearm cases throughout Dakota County, including Apple Valley, Eagan, Lakeville, Burnsville, Rosemount, Farmington, Inver Grove Heights and West St. Paul. Call (952) 431-7758 to schedule an initial consultation.