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Intoxicated Possession of a Firearm Racine office (near the Village Center Strip Mall)

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Racine & Kenosha Attorneys for Intoxicated Possession

Being charged with intoxicated possession of a firearm, recklessly endangering safety by use of a dangerous weapon, or going armed while intoxicated are the same charge written 3 different ways.  If charged in Racine or Kenosha, you are facing a class A misdemeanor punishable by up to nine months in jail, a $10,000, or both.

For a prosecutor to prove their case, they must prove:

  1. went armed with a firearm
  2. you were under the influence of an intoxicant when you went armed

Going armed, however, does not mean that you must leave your house or that the firearm actually be in hand or on your person. Put another way, in Racine or Kenosha you can be charged with intoxicated possession of a firearm if you are simply drunk in your house and there is also a firearm in your house. Additionally, having a concealed carry permit does not protect you from this charge or allow you to drink while you have your gun.

While it is possible to be charged in the scenario where you drink at home, for the prosecutor to prove that you ‘went armed with a firearm’ there are two additional requirements:

  1. the gun was on your person or within your reach
  2. you were aware of the gun

Stopping by a friend’s house for some drinks and not being aware there is a firearm in the end table next to you would give you a defense if you were to face this charge.

An OWI May Lead to an Intoxicated Possession Charge

The most common scenario, in Racine or Kenosha, where you may be charged with intoxicated possession of a firearm is if you are issued an OWI. If the gun is in the car, whether it be on your person, in the center console, glove box, or under the seat you will be considered to have gone armed with a firearm. That does not mean that everyone who has a firearm and is guilty of an OWI is automatically guilty of intoxicated possession of a firearm. The prosecutor must show that the “person has consumed a sufficient amount of alcohol to cause the person to be less able to exercise the clear judgment and steady hand necessary to handle a firearm.”


How long does an intoxicated possession of firearm charge stay on my record?

If you are convicted of intoxicated possession of a firearm, it will remain on your record permanently.  Beyond the penalties specifically associated with your charge, you may also be unable to possess a firearm while your case is pending and a license for carrying a concealed weapon may have to be surrendered.  Additionally, the firearm may be forfeit upon a conviction.

How to beat an intoxicated possession charge

To beat an intoxicated possession of a firearm charge in Racine or Kenosha you must hire a lawyer who is able to challenge the elements of the charge. We will either be challenging that you went armed with the firearm or that you were under the influence of an intoxicant while you were armed. The location of the gun and its readiness of use are aspects the right lawyer can raise to challenge whether you went armed with the firearm. If the firearm is in a holster in a backpack and the backpack is closed, does that qualify as going armed with a firearm? In that scenario is the gun within reach or is just the backpack within reach? While a glove box is generally considered within reach by the Wisconsin courts, does that change if the glove box is locked?

Unlike an OWI, there is no magic threshold of 0.08 that determines if you are under the influence of an intoxicant for the purposes of this charge. You do not, necessarily, automatically become under the influence because you have been drinking or because you are above 0.08. With the right lawyer, you may be able to identify the differences between driving a vehicle and safely handling a gun (for example, lack of moving obstacles or doing nothing is always a safe option with a gun where it is not when driving a car). Our award-winning experienced Racine and Kenosha lawyers are practiced in challenging intoxicated possession of a firearm charge and exploiting the defenses to your benefit.

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We know
because we were prosecutors.

Tom Grieve, the firm's managing attorney and founder, is a former state prosecutor and is not the only ex-prosecutor at the firm. We love hiring attorneys from both sides of the wall to bring as many perspectives to fight your case as aggressively as possible. The State of Wisconsin likes it when you choose the run-of-the-mill fee to plea™ lawyers who don't even know how to analyze and defend cases instead of experienced criminal attorneys:

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