Memphis, TN asked in Criminal Law for Tennessee

Q: Can you explain the process of a non felon owning a gun that is on his or her body and the car is owned by the felon ?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Carla Grebert
Carla Grebert
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Nashville, TN
  • Licensed in Tennessee

A: Without more facts, it is difficult to know what you are asking, so I am answering based on this assumption: A person with felony conviction was driving a car, his/her passenger had a gun on him, and there was some sort of interaction with police that resulted in the driver being charged with "felon in possession of a firearm." Now, you want to know why the driver could be charged with the weapon.

The charge is based on the concept of "constructive possession." Constructive possession means that the person did not have the gun on him but could access it easily and have control over it.

Just being in the car with someone with a gun is enough that police can charge the driver with possession; however, there must be more evidence for a conviction. Tennessee law tells us that to prove constructive possession, the state must show that the person had the power and the intention to exercise control over the gun. That control can be either direct (by grabbing the gun) or indirect (by telling someone else to do something with the gun).

If you have been charged as "felon in possession of a firearm," you need an attorney. Depending on what sort of felonies you were convicted of, this charge is an E felony (possible sentence of 1 to 6 years) or a B felony (possible sentence of 8-30 years).

I hope this explanation is helpful!

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