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How Much Jail Time for a Gun Charge in MN?

In Minnesota, firearms are heavily regulated. Whether it is the sale, possession, or use of these weapons, there are countless statutes that gun owners must abide by. The failure to do so could result in significant consequences. Any person facing criminal gun charge could face the prospect of years in prison if they are convicted.

Additionally, they could be burdened with steep monetary fines. A conviction for a felony offense could even cost that person their right to own firearms in the future.

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. Contact the attorneys of Gerald Miller today for your free consultation.

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.

Charges of carrying under the influence are often defensible. The state has a burden to establish that you were impaired by alcohol in ways that are similar to a DWI case. If you submitted to a blood, breath, or urine test your attorney could work to have the results excluded from trial.

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.

Charge Enhancements

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:

1. If you are in possession of illegal drugs and there is a gun in the vicinity
2. If your charge involves assault, burglary, robbery, murder, or kidnapping
3. 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.

Felony Charges

The most serious type of criminal charge in the State of Minnesota is a felony. A number of gun-related offenses are considered to be this type of charge. This includes the use of firearms in conjunction with other crimes. It is also a felony for a previously convicted felon to own a firearm. The penalties for these crimes could result in years behind bars.

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

The Importance of Hiring an Attorney to Fight Your Gun Charge

You are not obligated to hire a defense attorney when you face gun charges in Minnesota. Having the right to serve as your own attorney does not mean doing so is in your best interest. When it comes to gun charges, the stakes are high. A single misstep during the course of your prosecution could leave you with consequences that follow you for the rest of your life.

Hiring skilled legal counsel could put your mind at ease while giving you the best chance at a successful defense. Their efforts could assist you in countless ways during every stage of your case. Some of the ways our firm could assist in your defense include:

  • Evaluating the charges. Every gun charge is different, and our attorneys are ready get to the bottom of the allegations against you. Before our team can build a defense strategy tailored to your case, we first must understand every aspect of the charges against you.
  • Advising you of the law. It is helpful for you to fully understand the obligations involving the ownership, sale, and use of firearms. These laws are complex, and our attorneys could advise you on whether you complied with the law.
  • Develop a defense strategy. A strong defense is the best way to fight back against firearms charges in Minnesota. These defenses can vary depending on the facts of your case.
  • Negotiating with the state. There are often opportunities to come to an agreement with state prosecutors on firearms charges. This is especially true if you have never been charged with a crime before. These negotiations could result in reduced sentences or even a dismissal of the charges against you.
  • Advocating for you at trial. In some situations, making your case at trial is your best option. Your attorney will advise you when a trial is in your best interest, and they will do what is necessary to ensure you are prepared.
  • Provide unbiased advice. It can be difficult to look at a gun charge rationally when you are the one facing the prospect of time behind bars. Your attorney could provide you with independent, rational counsel that helps you understand the stakes in your case.

An Experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help

There are steep consequences that come with a conviction of a firearms offense in Minnesota. Many of these charges are felonies, which could result in substantial time behind bars in addition to steep monetary fines.

There are also collateral consequences that can come with these offenses. Outside of jail time and fines, a conviction for a gun offense could impact your right to own firearms. These convictions could also make it difficult to maintain your employment or find suitable housing.

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 for a free consultation.

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About the author

Gerald Miller

Gerald Miller is a top-notch and experienced DWI/DUI lawyer at Gerald Miller P.A. in Minneapolis, MN. He has more than 35 years of experience in Criminal Defense practice. He has also been a mentor to numerous DUI/DWI defense attorneys.

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