Effect of Drunk Driving Conviction on Right to Carry a Concealed Weapon
Does an alcohol-related misdemeanor driving conviction affect a Concealed Pistol License CPL (also known as a CCW)?
Yes, depending upon the offense. MCL 28.421, et seq., prohibit the issuance of a CPL for certain alcohol-related misdemeanor driving offenses. Once notice of a pending felony or misdemeanor charge against a current concealed pistol licensee is given to the county Concealed Weapon Licensing Board (CWLB), as mandated by the statute, the CWLB is required to suspend the license until final disposition of the charges.
As a conviction of a covered misdemeanor prohibits the CWLB from issuing a CPL, it seems likely that a suspended license would be revoked. The former licensee would then have to re-apply for a new CPL after the statutorily required waiting period.
In general, the CWLB “has exclusive authority to issue, deny, revoke, or suspend a license to carry a concealed pistol.” MCL 28.425a(5)(emphasis added). The CWLB is constrained by statute regarding issuance of a CPL to applicants who have been convicted of certain alcohol-related misdemeanor driving offenses.
Specifically, as related to alcohol driving offenses, no license can be granted to an applicant who has been convicted of “operating under the influence” under MCL 257.625, for three years after the date of conviction. MCL 28.425b(i)(i). In the case of a second alcohol-related misdemeanor conviction, the applicant must wait eight years after the conviction before the CWLB may issue a CPL. MCL 28.425b(h)(ii). This eight-year waiting period also applies to an alcohol conviction while operating a commercial vehicle. MCL 28.425b(h)(iii).
Where a license has already been issued, and the CWLB “is notified by a law enforcement agency or prosecuting official that an individual licensed to carry a concealed pistol is charged with a felony or misdemeanor as defined in this act, the concealed weapon licensing board shall immediately suspend the individual’s license until there is a final disposition of the charge for that offense[.] MCL 28.428(3) (emphasis added).
A “misdemeanor” is defined in the statute as:
[A] violation of a penal law of this state or violation of a local ordinance substantially corresponding to a violation of a penal law of this state that is not a felony or a violation of an order, rule, or regulation of a state agency that is punishable by imprisonment or a fine that is not a civil fine, or both. MCL 28.421(c).
Misdemeanor alcohol-related driving offenses of operating while intoxicated (OWI) or operating while visibly impaired (OWVI) under MCL 257.625, meet this definition as they are penal laws punishable by imprisonment or a fine. It seems likely, then, that should there be an OWI or an OWVI conviction, the CWLB would revoke the license and the former licensee would have to wait three or eight years, depending upon the type of conviction, before re-applying for a new CPL.
An applicant has the right to appeal a denial of a CPL. This appeal is taken to the circuit court in the county where the applicant resides. MCL 28.425d(1). In almost all cases, the burden is on the applicant to show that the CWLB’s decision was clearly erroneous. MCL 28.425d(2). Should the applicant be successful, the CPL will be issued and the county and the CWLB must pay for the applicant’s attorney fees and costs. MCL 28.425d(3). However, should the appeal fail, the applicant is responsible for the attorney fees and costs incurred by the CWLB in responding to the appeal. MCL 28.425d(4).
The CWLB generally has exclusive authority to issue, deny, revoke or suspend a CPL. The CWLB is prohibited from issuing a CPL to an applicant who has been convicted of certain misdemeanor alcohol-related driving offenses until a statutorily required waiting period has been met. With a first offense of “operating under the influence,” the applicant must wait three years following the conviction. A second offense requires an eight-year waiting period, as does an alcohol conviction while operating a commercial vehicle.
A current license must be suspended when the CWLB receives notice that the licensee has been charged with a felony or a misdemeanor. The suspension must last until the final disposition of the charge. It seems likely, therefore, that if a licensee is convicted of operating while intoxicated (OWI) or operating while visibly impaired (OWVI), any suspended CPL would be revoked. The former licensee would then have to meet the statutorily required waiting period before the CWLB would be authorized to issue a new CPL.
An applicant can appeal a denial of a CPL to the circuit court where the applicant resides. A successful appeal results in the issuance of the CPL and recovery of attorney fees and costs. An unsuccessful appeal leaves the applicant without a CPL and liable for the attorney fees and costs incurred by the CWLB in responding to the appeal.
In any case, a person facing this situation should consult with counsel who specializes in concealed pistol licensing and restoration in the State of Michigan.