Gun Charges Against Craig DeRoche Dropped Following Michigan Court of Appeals Ruling

According to the Michigan Court of Appeals, individuals cannot be charged with a crime when they are found to be intoxicated inside their own homes and own a firearm. In 2010, former state House Speaker Craig DeRoche was charged by Novi police with possessing a firearm while intoxicated. The charge stemmed from an incident in which DeRoche was allegedly involved in a dispute with a neighbor, who called police.

Initially, the charge against DeRoche was dismissed by a district court based on the Constitution’s Second Amendment rights. The prosecutor in the case then appealed, however the dismissal of the charge was upheld by the appeals court based on an unlawful search.

According to news reports, the appeals court found that, “The government cannot justify infringing on defendant’s Second Amendment right to possess a handgun in his home simply because defendant was intoxicated in the general vicinity of the firearm. Accordingly, the district court did not err in finding the MCL 750.237, as applied to defendant, was unconstitutional.”

The three-judge panel cited the Second Amendment in upholding the dismissal of the charge against DeRoche, saying that he was not engaging in behavior which was unlawful. The panel also determined that DeRoche was not in possession of a handgun to be used for any unlawful purpose.

DeRoche had a history with alcohol, and in fact was found guilty in 2010 on a charge related to drunken driving. According to DeRoche has no works for Justice Fellowship, a prison reform group, and has been sober since 2010.

While in most circumstances the charges against a defendant are not dismissed, they were in this case. Individuals who are convicted on criminal charges may have grounds to appeal; only a Michigan criminal defense appellate lawyer can review your case to determine if it may be possible to have a conviction overturned, or sentencing reduced in the Michigan Court of Appeals.

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