Will Domestic Violence Charges Impact My Gun Rights?

Will a Domestic Violence Charge Impact my Gun Rights?

The overarching answer to this questions is yes; a domestic violence charge may impact your gun rights. A domestic violence charge comes with a lot of questions and stress. One of the most common questions is whether a conviction of domestic violence will impact your right to own or possess guns. The right to bear arms comes from the second amendment of the U.S. Constitution. That right then trickles down to the states. In Idaho, those gun rights are broad.

What gun rights do Idaho citizens typically have?

Along with the constitutional right that all U.S. citizens have to bear arms under the second amendment, Idaho has additional rules and regulations regarding guns. Idaho is an open carry state, meaning that, unless prohibited by other laws, anyone over the age of 18 may  carry a firearm without any special licensing or permit. Idaho residents, however, are bound by certain federal laws regarding gun rights, such as the restriction of gun rights for felons and those subject to a domestic violence protection order.

What gun rights are at risk with a domestic violence charge?

Your gun rights may be at risk when you are charged with domestic violence. Even if someone is not convicted yet. Federal law 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(8) states that anyone that has a protection order against them restraining them from contacting or interacting with a protected person may not possess a gun. This means that if the prosecution gets a protection order, commonly known as a no contact order, that order may prevent that person from possessing guns or ammunition while the order is in place.

If you are convicted of a domestic violence charge, felony or misdemeanor, you may also lose your right to possess guns and ammunition. Congress amended the Gun Control Act of 1968 in 1996, which prohibits felons from possessing firearms, by introducing a federal ban on domestic violence offenders owning guns. Federal law 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(9) states that anyone who has been convicted in any court of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence cannot possess any firearm or ammunition.

Can I have my gun rights reinstated if I am convicted of domestic violence?

Yes! The easiest way to have your gun rights reinstated is through using a withheld judgement. Under Idaho Misdemeanor Criminal Rule 10, first time offenders that are likely to abide by the terms of probation may be granted a withheld judgement if the impact of a criminal record would have a negative impact on their future. But what is a withheld judgement? Essentially, a withheld judgment means you are placed on probation, but the Court does not enter an Order of Conviction unless you violate probation. With a withheld judgement, when your probation is completed, your rights to possessing a firearm may be restored.

If you are not eligible for a withheld judgement or subject to a felony, there may be several other ways to have your firearm rights restored after having them removed due to a felony conviction or a misdemeanor domestic violence conviction such as having the conviction set aside or getting a pardon.There are other ways to have your firearm rights restored; however,  these are complex legal issues, and you should consult an attorney to assist you in restoring your gun rights.

Aaron Hooper has significant experience defending Felony Domestic Violence Cases

Aaron Hooper is a Criminal Defense attorney with significant experience defending cases of Domestic Violence in the state of Idaho. As a prosecutor for 5 years prior to switching to Criminal Defense. Aaron was the lead prosecutor in Canyon County's Domestic Violence Court, as well as a specialty felony prosecutor on a Felony Domestic Violence caseload. This experience allowed him to get a feel for how these cases are pursued and has placed him in an exceptional position to defend his clients charged with Domestic Violence. Crimes of Domestic Violence are treated very seriously in Idaho. They can lead to prison time and impact your rights, especially your firearm rights. If you have any questions or need representation on your case, please reach out to our office.

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