It’s a crime in Minnesota for a person convicted of a felony to possess a firearm. See Minn. Stat. Sec. 624.713.
Before the state can obtain a conviction, it will need to prove the defendant is a person who is ineligible to possess a firearm. An experienced criminal defense attorney will advise his client to stipulate to this fact in order keep the jury from learning about the defendant’s negative past.
Secondly, the state must prove that the person had either actual or constructive possession of a firearm. For actual possession of a firearm, the state will need to prove that the defendant had physical possession of the handgun on his person. This can occur, for example, when a person is arrested on an outstanding warrant and the police discover a gun concealed in a coat pocket. Constructive possession may be proven by showing that the police found the handgun in a place under the defendant’s exclusive control, his bedroom for example, to which other people did not have access. The state can also prove constructive possession where the police find the gun in a place to which others had access, a living room for example, but there is a strong probability that the defendant was consciously exercising dominion and control over the gun at the time. When the state cannot prove a case of actual gun possession, it will attempt to prove constructive possession of a firearm and may rely on fingerprint, DNA, or gun registration evidence.
If you, or someone you know, has been charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm, call firearm possession defense attorney Robert J. Shane for a free phone consultation at (612) 339-102.