One crime that has drawn legislative ire of late is Carrying a Concealed Weapon (MCL 750.227 (2). Carrying a concealed weapon which is often referred to as a CCW is a felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a $2,500 fine. Michigan does have a concealed pistol license (‘CPL’) law that allows individuals to carry a firearm if they meet the statutory requirements. While the 5-year felony is often worse than it may sound, one issue is the situation of immigration consequences. To discuss this matter in greater detail, we spoke to a few the top criminal defense lawyers in the state of Michigan.
Scott Grabel is the founder of Grabel and Associates and created what is considered by many the top criminal defense firm across the state of Michigan. Grabel spoke on the topic when he said, “CCW can generally equate to a probationary sentence but if someone is not an American citizen, we must be cautious in negotiations. A starting point is that the charge is generally not considered a crime of moral turpitude but there is no exact framework on this issue. A plea of no jail may sound appealing but not if it leads to deportation.”
Megan Smith is an Associate for Grabel and Associates and Tanis Schultz. Smith is known as a top criminal defense lawyer in Kent County and added her insight to this topic. Smith stated, “Some counties can view a CCW as an aggravated felony. When someone is here on a student visa or the like that can create a scenario where you should try the case as opposed to taking a sure thing with a plea. A certain plea on the criminal aspect can lead to uncertainty on the immigration front.”
Nancy Eaton-Gordon is a top defense lawyer in Lenawee County, Michigan. Eaton-Gordon added “The charge can be a trap to deportation. This is one of those charges can fall into the “other” category and as such plea deals can be deceptive.”
Ravi Gurumurthy is a top criminal defense lawyer in Northern Michigan and a Senior Associate for Grabel and Associates. Gurumurthy added to the words of Eaton-Gordon by saying “When we look at the charge of CCW we must remember this is a firearms offense. Turn to 8 USC 1227 (a) (2) (c) and many litigators forget that this charge can be deemed unfavorable to deportation proceedings.”
Jordan Vahdat is a partner at Vahdat Weisman and is a successful civil litigator but also has been a prominent criminal defense lawyer. Vahdat said “When you turn to case law, there is not much published authority in the topic. When faced with dual immigration issues look to “Carden Everald Todd, 2006 WL 3485847 (BIA Oct. 26, 2006, unpublished). That case explains loopholes on this charge for immigration purposes.”
William Amadeo is a partner at McManus and Amadeo and a Senior Associate for Grabel and Associates. Amadeo is known as one of the top criminal defense lawyers across the state of Michigan. Amadeo indicated, “The concept of immigration consequences leads us to discuss if the charge is a crime of moral turpitude or an aggravated felony. There is no blueprint on this. The way this charge is processed in Washtenaw is a different version than how it would be determined in Shiawassee. To understand the charge is one thing, to study the compound immigration consequences is entirely different. Sometimes setting 12 in a both is more beneficial than signing a plea agreement.”
With all crimes, immigration consequences have become a forgotten issue and if defense counsel is not verse on both potential sanctions, the criminal defendant can have their rights compromised on multiple fronts.