handgun possession vs. DWI penalties


April 12, 2008, 09:52 AM
In NY, possession of a handgun without a CCW (that's right - possession, not carry) is a Class A misdemeanor - one step below a felony. If said handgun is loaded, the crime is a class C felony (Felonies and misdemeanors are graded A through E (I think E), with A being the worst, most penalized crimes). These are taken right from the consolidated laws.

From the NY DMV website (http://www.nydmv.state.ny.us/broch/c39.htm) for the worst DWI type (above 0.18% BAC - the LD 50 for ethanol is 0.55% BAC!) the first offense is a misdemeanor (the DMV site doesn't specify a class and conveniently doesn't immediately give a code reference), the second offense within 5 years is a Class E felony and the third offense (or more) within 10 years is only a Class D felony.

I don't know about the rest of you here, but I worry more for myself and my wife (we both have ~ 1 hour commutes) over drunk drivers than people minding their own business with a handgun in their pocket, CCW or not.

It is a well established statistic that vehicular accidents cause more fatalities per year than all firearm related deaths and that DWI is the most preventable cause of vehicular injury (i.e. just don't drink and drive).

I would like to know why the state doesn't care about the safety of the community by having such lax DWI laws with respect to the handgun possession laws.

It would be interesting to see how other states treat DWI vs. handgun possession / non-CCW carry so please post the penalties for your state.

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April 12, 2008, 12:51 PM
i suspect that many states are similar... ive heard stories of guys that are finally sent to jail after their 8th DUI arrest...

the problem is, laws dont make sense, they are there to serve the whims of whatever politicians put them into place... laws only affect the law abiding anyways, criminals dont care what laws they break, only that they dont get caught

April 12, 2008, 01:19 PM
In North Carolina there is no charge for a non-felon for possession of a firearm. Unlawful concealed carry is a class 1 misdemeanor (misdemeanors run A1, 1, 2, & 3 in NC, A1 being the most serious) for the first offense and a class I felony (felonies run A, B1, B2, C, D, E, F, G, H, & I) for a second offense. So, first offense is a mid-range misdemeanor, second is the lowest level felony possible (for which the maximum penalty is 4-12 months, depending on one's prior record). Class I felonies almost always result in probation sentences, not active time.

DWI in North Carolina is still covered by the old Fair Sentencing Act, so DWI is classified as a misdemeanor, but it is ranked in levels from 1 (most serious) to 5 (least serious). Under the fair sentencing act a level 1 or 2 DWI can result in a jail sentence of more than one year (up to two years for a level 1), but it is still classified as a misdemeanor under NC law (I suspect the feds would disagree).

Habitual DWI is a Class H felony, which makes it a low level felony with a maximum sentence somewhere around 18 months. Of course to be convicted of Habitual DWI, one has to have 3 prior DWI convictions within 10 years of the Habitual DWI charge.

I agree that DWI is quite a bit more dangerous to the public than illegal carry. DWI is quite a bit more dangerous than a lot of things, but most people just don't understand that.

As you can see, in NC, it is easier to get a felony charge for illegal carry, but a felony DWI charge is slightly more serious.

In all reality, we don't take criminal acts here very seriously. Most habitual offenders get case after case of probation and actual jail/prison sentences are short and rarely handed down. It wasn't always that way, but since they changed from "Fair Sentencing" to "Structured Sentencing" in 1994 things have really gone down hill.

The whole system is pretty much a joke to real criminals, and we wonder why we have folks on probation committing high profile murders?

There is also an excellent chance of getting a probation sentence for a felony DWI conviction. Basically you have to kill someone in NC while DWI to get real prison time, and even then there is no real set standard. When I worked in Orange County a habitual DWI driver killed a woman while he was DWI. He got 30 weekends in jail (60 days). I am SURE that will keep him from driving...NOT.

April 12, 2008, 01:44 PM
On a related note, I was looking into some statistics the other day and I found that annually there are more DUI-caused fatalities than there are homicides with a firearm. It was something like 14,000 DUI fatalities and 13,000 firearm homicides.

XD-40 Shooter
April 12, 2008, 01:59 PM
Here in Colorado, concealed carry while intoxicated is a felony. In 2006, there were 13,470 alcahol related traffic death's, vs about 800 accidental firearms death's. We have plenty of laws against DUI, people still drive drunk, killing quite a few people. Just goes to show that laws only regulate people that are inclined to obey laws.


April 12, 2008, 03:36 PM
In CA...
Open carry of an unloaded handgun is legal.
Carrying a registered loaded handgun concealed without a permit is a two misdemeanors (one for the handgun, the other for it being loaded).
Carrying an unregistered loaded handgun concealed without a permit is two felonies (one for the handgun, the other for it being loaded).
Driving under the influence (BAC greater than 0.08) is a misdemeanor.

In NV...
Open carry is legal.
Carrying a handgun concealed without a permit is a misdemeanor.
Driving under the influence (BAC greater than 0.08) is a misdemeanor.
Possessing a firearm under the influence (BAC greater than 0.10) is a misdemeanor.

April 12, 2008, 07:46 PM
Oh by the way, this is the scoop in Florida:

We have felonies, misdemeanors, and civil offenses. Felonies and misdemeanors are classified as third degree through first degree, with first degree being the most severe. In addition, certain felonies (e.g. murder, treason) are classified as capital felonies and are punishable by death. Civil offenses are typically minor traffic violations and things of that nature that do not carry any kind of jail time and are not classified as a crime.

-Open carry of a firearm on or about one's person is a misdemeanor of the 2nd degree. This carries a penalty of imprisonment not to exceed 60 days.

-Concealed carry of a non-firearm weapon without a concealed weapon license is a misdemeanor of the first degree (just below felony), and is punishable by imprisonment not to exceed 1 year.

-Concealed carry of a firearm without a concealed weapon license is a felony of the third degree, punishable by a term of imprisonment not to exceed 5 years. In addition, you can say goodbye to ever touching a firearm ever again.

-Driving (or actual physical control of vehicle) while intoxicated by alcohol (BAC > 0.08%) or illicit drugs is punishable by a term of imprisonment not to exceed 6 months for the first offense. Second offense is not to exceed 1 year. It isn't a felony until the third offense in Florida.

Keep in mind that I personally know one person who has had 1 DUI in Florida and has not been sentenced to a day in jail. Her blood alcohol content at the scene of the accident was .27! That's over three times the legal limit. She was also under the influence of cocaine. All she got was a year of probation and she had her license suspended for a year. But she has a hardship license so she still drives. Another person, my uncle, has had 2 DUIs in Florida and has never been sentenced to imprisonment either. He had a breathalyzer installed in his vehicle after the second offense.

Both of these people willfully decided to put other people's lives at risk when they chose to drive drunk. But if I so much as walk out to my car with an uncased shotgun slung over my shoulder I could go to jail for two months.

April 12, 2008, 07:53 PM
Mek42-handguns esp but guns in general are 'regulated' so politico can feel important. Chech your two senators for verification-esp Sr one.

Also states make millions from alcohol tax and fines. When one drinks very sooner or later they will drive drunk or nearly so.

Question-why do they need parking lots at bars??

April 12, 2008, 07:58 PM
Question-why do they need parking lots at bars??

For the designated drivers and taxi cabs and those who have not had more than one drink. I personally have a rule that I follow: if I have even a single drink, I do not drive that night. This way I do not have to rely on my own (perhaps impaired) judgment to determine whether I am capable of driving safely.

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