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Loaded Firearm in Motor Vehicle

Michigan Laws Loaded Firearm in a Car

Michigan laws lay out strict rules for transporting guns in motor vehicles. Specifically, the law explains when and how firearms can be legally transported by those who have valid concealed pistol licenses (CPLs) and those who don’t. It also explains the various criminal charges that can be filed against anyone who illegally possesses a firearm in a motor vehicle.

For gun-carrying Michiganders and those accused of illegally possessing a firearm in a vehicle, understanding the ins and outs of weapon possession laws in Michigan can be essential to protecting their rights in and outside the courtroom.

To help in that effort, the following shares key information about Michigan laws and criminal charges associated with the illegal possession of a firearm in a motor vehicle. As insightful as this information is, a 5-star Lansing criminal defense attorney at O’Keefe Law can provide more answers and case-specific advice whenever you need it.

When Is It Legal to Carry a Loaded Gun in a Motor Vehicle in Michigan?

In general, law-abiding citizens are legally permitted to carry pistols in their vehicles, as long as they follow the restrictions set forth by Michigan law. These restrictions differ, based on whether an individual is a CPL holder. Nevertheless, regardless of CPL status, Michigan law only allows pistols and other firearms to be transported for “lawful” purposes. These include (and are not limited to):

  • Protection
  • Hunting or shooting practice
  • Traveling to or from a gun show or a firearm repair shop

Carrying a Firearm in a Motor Vehicle: Rules for CPL Holders

According to Michigan law, there is no way to openly carry a firearm within a motor vehicle. As a result, it’s necessary to have a valid concealed pistol license in Michigan in order to legally carry a loaded pistol in motor vehicles. This goes for Michiganders, as well as out-of-staters who hold an equivalent CPL in their home state, as long as that state has a reciprocity agreement with Michigan.

Carrying a Firearm in a Motor Vehicle: Rules for Non-CPL Holders

For those who don’t have a CPL, carrying a pistol in a motor vehicle can still be in full compliance with the law as long as the firearm is:

  • Not loaded
  • Kept in a case specifically designed for firearms
  • In an area of the vehicle that cannot be accessed from the vehicle’s cabin (such as the trunk)

In the case of other legal firearms (that are not pistols), non-CPL holders must transport them the same way—unloaded, encased, and inaccessible from the vehicle’s cabin.

What Charges Are Filed for Illegal Possession of a Weapon in Motor Vehicle?

The charges for this weapons offense will depend on a number of factors, like whether:

  • The accused individual was allegedly transporting an illegal firearm.
  • The firearm was loaded and/or accessible from the vehicle cabin.
  • The accused is able to show proof of a CPL and/or driver’s license during a traffic stop.

Generally, the charges for illegal possession of a weapon in a motor vehicle can vary, being filed as:

  • A misdemeanor if the firearm is not encased or unloaded.
  • A felony if a non-CPL holder has access to the firearm from the cabin of a vehicle.

For both misdemeanor and felony charges, incarceration and expensive fines can be imposed in the event of a conviction.

Partner With an Experienced Lansing Criminal Defense Lawyer Who Will Fight for You: Contact O’Keefe Law

If you or someone you love has been charged with illegal possession of a firearm in a motor vehicle, you a strong defense if you’re serious about protecting your rights and setting your case up for the best possible outcomes. You need Lansing Criminal Defense Lawyer Patrick William O’Keefe.

The truth is that, when you’re facing misdemeanor and felony weapons charges, you can only clear your name by winning in court—and your attorney can be pivotal to the success of your defense and the resolution in your case. At O’Keefe Law, we don’t just fight for shorter sentences. We aim for the best possible resolutions, including dismissals and acquittals.

Call 517-273-0421 or email O’Keefe Law for a free, confidential consultation and important advice about your defense options.

With years of courtroom experience, Attorney Patrick William O’Keefe is skilled at providing exceptional advocacy and getting results inside and outside of the courtroom. He is also dedicated to prioritizing his clients' needs and cases while providing the defense representation he would demand if he faced the weapons charges his clients were facing.

Remember, it is never too early to hire the right attorney, but it could be too late.

The team at O’Keefe Law looks forward to helping you with a weapons case or any criminal case. In the meantime, check out our previous results and client testimonials to learn more about why we are a 5-star criminal defense law firm in and around Lansing, MI.

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