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Concealed Weapon Under the Influence Charges
Michigan citizens holding a Concealed Pistol License (CPL) are legally permitted to carry a handgun on their person and may also carry a pistol inside the passenger compartment of their vehicle. However, as you might expect, you may not carry a concealed weapon (or open carry) while under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance or a combination of both. Under the influence is a legal term meaning because of consuming alcohol or drugs your ability to operate a firearm has been substantially lessened. Like drunk driving, there is also a “per se” element or legal limit to carrying a firearm, and a violation results in suspension of your CPL. Consequently, it is unlawful to carry a firearm if your Bodily Alcohol Content (BAC) is at or above .02%.
Michigan law does require that a police officer have probable cause before asking you to submit to chemical analysis of your breath blood or urine. If the officer is asking for a preliminary or portable breath sample, then the law also requires that the police first read to you some information about your rights, including that you can refuse but if you do the officer is likely to get a warrant for your blood and that if you do refuse then your CPL may be suspended or revoked.Implied Consent for CPL Holders
In the context of drunk driving, Michigan law requires you to submit to chemical testing on the reasonable request of a police officer. A failure to do so, meaning if you refuse, your driver license will be suspended.
Similarly, you are required by Michigan law, as a CPL holder, to submit to a chemical test when carrying a weapon. This is because, under MCL 28.425k, a person who has accepted a concealed weapon license impliedly consents to testing. Because you have the right to withdraw this consent, the police officer must read to you certain rights before testing. If you refuse however, even though it’s your right to do so, your CPL will be suspended for 6 months. And the officer is likely to get a warrant too.
If a person submits to chemical testing, they may have a similar test done by a person of their choosing. If the person refuses, the officer shall promptly report the refusal to the concealed weapon licensing board. If person submits to a test and any bodily alcohol is found while carrying a concealed weapon, the officer shall promptly report the violation in writing to the licensing board.Penalties for Carrying Under the Influence
In addition to ramifications to your CPL, it is also a crime to carry a weapon under the influence. The type of crime and the corresponding length of CPL suspension, will depend on the amount of alcohol found in your system as follows:
Being under the influence of alcoholic liquor or a controlled substance or a combination of both or had bodily alcohol content (BAC) of .10 or above is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 93 days in jail. A judge can order your CPL to be permanently revoked.
If BAC is .08 or more but less than .10 then you could be facing a misdemeanor punishable by up to 93 days and a fine of up to $100. Also, the court may order the concealed weapons licensing board to revoke but not more than 3 years.
If BAC .02 or more but less than .08 then you are guilty of a civil infraction with up to a $100 fine, but more importantly, a judge can order the firearms licensing board to revoke your license for 1 year.What if I Drive to the Bar Sober, but Drink When I’m There?
If you have your firearm with you and know you will be drinking then the way to stay compliant with the law is to put your firearm in your trunk, unloaded, with the ammunition separate. This law applies if you have any alcohol in your system so don’t wait until you’ve had a few, or feel intoxicated to separate yourself from your gun!