One of the most overlooked areas of criminal defense is the consequence to the defendant, after a conviction, to his or her gun rights. There are numerous convictions under the statutes that would bar a defendant from possessing or owning a firearm for 10 years. To name a few, any threats to police officers or public officers, intimidating witnesses, possessing a deadly weapon with the intent to intimidate witnesses or threatening witnesses will result in a firearms ban.
There are crimes of violence that can also trigger a ban. These include, but are not limited to assault, battery, sexual battery and any assault with a firearm, whether it creates injury or is used with force likely to produce great bodily injury. As you can imagine, discharging a firearm in a grossly negligent manner will result in a ban.
One very common area that creates a prohibition is domestic violence. It doesn’t matter whether or not there is measurable harm to the victim, either. Any of the other related domestic violence charges like stalking or threats or harassment could trigger the ban. What frustrates many people is that after being convicted and told that there’s a ten-year ban, they then learn that it’s actually a lifetime ban under federal law.
Convicted felons may not possess guns and, unknown to many people is the fact that if you have been issued or served a Temporary Restraining Order or an injunction under the civil code, that may prevent you from possessing firearms. Logically, any person who is mentally incompetent found insane or is considered a mentally disordered sex offender or under a court imposed conservatorship cannot possess firearms.
Please note that an expungement does not automatically restore your right to possess guns. If you have a felony conviction that could have been a misdemeanor (“a wobbler”) you would want to have a matter reduced to a misdemeanor and then expunge the conviction. But be advised that even though some rights are restored automatically after a ten-year period, you may be subject to a lifetime ban if you were convicted of brandishing a gun or discharging it.
It is extremely important, if you possess firearms and want to maintain possession of them, that you consult a qualified attorney who can help you determine whether or not the charge you are facing will trigger a ban on possession or ownership. Do not admit to charges without knowing the full scope of the consequences. I get many calls from individuals, after they have already been convicted, trying to have their gun rights restored. However, as indicated above, once an individual admits certain charges and is convicted, the chances of getting their gun rights restored are very slim. The most important thing a person can do is seek the advice and assistance of an experienced criminal defense lawyer, who has experience defending these types of charges, before admitting to or pleading to any charges. If you have any questions regarding any aspect of this, feel free to contact me I will be happy to discuss with you further.