Possession of a Handgun Under the Influence
In Tennessee, it is a criminal offense to possess a handgun while under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance. Sometimes, when individuals are pulled over for suspicion of driving under the influence, they may be charged not only with a DUI but also they may be charged with the additional criminal offense of possession of a handgun under the influence. It does not matter whether the person has a handgun permit; this provides no defense. In other words, possession of a handgun while under the influence is a crime whether or not the person has a license to carry such firearm.
This criminal statute does not just apply to those who carry a firearm while they are operating a vehicle under the influence. It also applies when a person is carrying a firearm in an establishment that sells alcoholic beverages (liquor, wine, or other alcoholic beverages) and the person is consuming such an alcoholic beverage. A violation of this law is a Class A misdemeanor. Under Tennessee law, a conviction for a Class A misdemeanor carries a possible imprisonment time of up to 11 months and 29 days and a fine up to a maximum of $2,500.  Furthermore, if the violation occurs in a place involving the sale of alcoholic beverages, then the person convicted loses their handgun permit if they have one for a period of three years.
To obtain a conviction under this law, the prosecution must establish beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly possessed a handgun while under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance. In Tennessee, there are two types of possession: (1) actual possession and (2) constructive possession. Actual possession means that the firearm is on the defendant’s person. In other words, it is obvious that the person had a firearm. Constructive possession is a more difficult concept. But, basically constructive possession means that the defendant has knowledge of the firearm’s existence and had the immediate ability to control the firearm. For example, if a defendant is pulled over on suspicion of DUI and there is a firearm in the backseat or under the floorboard, the prosecution will contend that the defendant had constructive possession of the firearm.
Contact Attorney Philip Clark of PNC Law
If you face criminal charges for possession of a handgun under the influence, then you need to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney. Such an experienced criminal defense attorney is necessary for you to fight these charges effectively. The attorney may be able to make a variety of defenses, such as constitutional-based challenges for an unlawful search or seizure under the Fourth Amendment or Article I, Section 7 of the Tennessee Constitution. The attorney also may be able to assert a self-defense justification depending upon the particular facts. Nashville-based attorney Philip N. Clark of PNC Law is just such an experienced attorney. He is a zealous advocate on behalf of his clients. Furthermore, he has nearly twenty (20) years of experience as a former Metro police officer. He may be able to assert a variety of defenses on your behalf. If you face criminal charges for possession of a firearm under the influence, then contact attorney Philip Clark at (615) 678-1033 or e-mail him at email@example.com.
 Tenn. Code Ann. §39-17-1321.
 Tenn. Code Ann. §39-17-1321(b).
 Tenn. Code Ann. §39-17-1321(c)(1).
 Tenn. Code Ann. §40-35-111(e)(1).
 Tenn. Code Ann. §39-17-1321(c)(2).