Is This Enough for a Police Investigatory Stop and Criminal Charge?
Indiana has just debated “constitutional carry” which is generally thought of the innate right to carry a handgun without a license. Indiana’s License to Carry a handgun is not indexed to concealed or open carry, but is required for most to carry in the state. This bill did not advance and has not been reintroduced.
However, it raises a key criminal law and defense issue you should know and take care to ensure is familiar to your criminal counsel should you ever get a gun charge. This law is very technical and based on Indiana state laws, federal laws, and constitutional rights. Failure to carry a handgun without a license may result in arrest, conviction, imprisonment, and loss of gun rights.
At present, the Indiana Supreme Court has made it clear in a recent decision,1 the mere presence of a handgun standing alone is not sufficient for a police investigatory stop or criminal charge, which have could range from intimidation to disturbing the peace. The observation of a handgun is not evidence or inference of criminality; this is akin to observing an individual with any other inherently dangerous items, ranging from a chainsaw to gasoline and a car flare.
On the other hand, an individual may be subject to an investigatory stop if there is illicit, bizarre or concerning behavior. For example, in a case where the detained individual did not have a License to Carry a Handgun and it was needed, the gun was stolen, or other crime was discovered, then the stop would be “good” as well as the charge.2 These distinctions are very minor and the workplace of a skilled criminal defense counsel.
Thus, any time you are detained and ultimately charge with a gun crime it is imperative to retain skilled defense counsel to determine if the stop was “good”. If not, the evidence is suppressed and the case effectively has to be dismissed for lack of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. This is a very close and detailed analysis. Your freedom, right to keep and bear arms, and perhaps not to receive a felony charge depend on it.
This blog post was written by attorneys at Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. who handle gun cases, including criminal defense, across the state. Attorney Bryan Ciyou consults on firearms matters across the nation. This blog is designed to provide resource cites and general information to be a more educated gun owner, particularly if you carry a handgun. It is not intended to be specific legal advice or a solicitation for services.