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Possession Or Illegal Possession Of Stun Guns Or Tasers

In this article, you will learn:

  • Potential charges for various firearms offenses in Minnesota
  • Potential defenses to these charges
  • How these penalties may affect minors

In Minnesota, it’s illegal to possess an electronic incapacitation device if you have been convicted of a felony.  Those could even be the little handheld ones that you just push the button and the electric charge shoots out, but you have to be very close and touch the person.  If you have one that shoots prongs, you also can’t have that if you’re a felon.  Five years is the maximum sentence for possessing an electronic incapacitation device as a felon.

The Charge And Potential Penalty For A Conviction Of Illegal Carry Of A Rifle In Public

If you do not have a valid firearm carry permit, and if it’s a first offense, carrying a rifle in public is a gross misdemeanor, which carries the maximum of one year in jail and a $3,000 fine.  If it’s a subsequent or a multiple offense, then it could be a felony, and depending on your prior record, it’s going to determine the sentence that you’re facing.  If you had a prior felony and you’re prohibited, it’s a presumptive five years in prison.  If you don’t have any prior felonies but you just keep carrying guns without permits, then you’re probably looking at a maximum of five years rather than the presumptive five years.

Gross Misdemeanor Weapons Charges In Minnesota

Gross misdemeanor weapons charge would be carrying a pistol in public without a permit, or improperly transporting it in a vehicle without a permit.  It could also be a reckless discharge of a firearm.  If you happened to shoot or discharge the weapon, that could certainly be a gross misdemeanor assuming no one gets hurt by it.  If someone gets hurt, then you’re probably facing a felony.

How A Gun Involved In A Crime Can Impact It

Having a gun involved or alleged to be involved in a crime typically increases the severity of the charge that somebody is facing.  For example, if you are charged with robbery and the allegation is you just came up to somebody and said “Give me your purse,” and the person hands it over, and there’s no allegations of a firearm, that’s going to be considered a simple robbery.  If there’s a threat that a firearm would be used, you’re taking yourself from a simple robbery to an aggravated first-degree robbery which is a higher severity level and carries a prison sentence even if you have no prior criminal history.

So, in a situation where somebody who has no prior felonies commits a simple robbery, they’re looking at a probationary sentence and a maximum of 18 months in prison if they violate their probation.  If you do the same conduct with the firearm, you’re looking at between 41 to 57 months in prison for the exact same conduct but because of the presence of the firearm, it’s increased in both duration and severity.

Potential Defenses To Unlawful Gun Possession Charges In Minnesota

There is the potential defense that you were lawfully allowed to be in possession of a firearm.  For example, if you’re on private property, then you can be in possession of a firearm, you just can’t carry it in public as long as you’re not a felon.  If you’re a felon, you’re prohibited from being in possession even on private property.  Some other defenses may be that you were acting in self-defense, so you took the firearm away from someone else, or you came into possession of it in a very brief or quick moment and used it for self-defense, then relinquished it to law enforcement once they arrived on the scene.  But certainly, any defenses are going to be fact-pattern-specific, and it is crucial that you consult with an attorney so that you can make sure that any and every defense is explored before you make any decisions regarding how to move forward with your case, either with a plea or with a trial.

The Punishment Range For Unlawful Possession Of A Firearm Conviction In Minnesota

If you’re charged and convicted of a gross misdemeanor, it could be a maximum of one year in jail; if you’re a felon in possession of a firearm, the maximum is 15 years in prison with a presumptive five years that you have to serve.

Charges And Potential Punishment Minors May Face Who Are Charged With A Gun Or Weapons Offenses In Minnesota?

If you’re a minor, it is illegal for you to possess a gun or firearm in Minnesota except for hunting, and then you have to be with somebody who is an adult.  So, if a minor is just in possession of a firearm, that’s going to be treated and charged just as an adult would, but it would be handled most likely in juvenile court.  If a minor is charged with a robbery offense that includes a firearm or if there’s allegations of a firearm, depending on the minor’s age, they may be certified as an adult, in which case, they would be facing the same penalties as somebody who was 18 or older.  They could be placed under what’s called Extended Juvenile Jurisdiction which allows the juvenile court to sentence them to an adult sentence but hold it over their heads until they actually turn 21; or it could remain in juvenile court where the judge would determine what is appropriate under the juvenile laws depending on the offense and the conduct.  It could still include custody time.

For more information on Gun Charges In Minnesota, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (651)-964-4512 today.

Jennifer Congdon, Esq.

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