Gun Rights and Domestic Violence in Los Angeles
A conviction for a domestic violence offense often carries many unanticipated consequences. In California, when a person is convicted of a domestic violence crime he or she is precluded from owning or possessing firearms. While the California firearm restriction may only last for 10 years, Federal law may prohibit firearm possession or ownership for life. Anyone who is facing domestic violence charges should understand how a conviction may affect their right to own or possess firearms.Effect of a California Conviction on Gun Ownership Rights
Domestic violence in California is defined as abuse against a current or former spouse, a cohabitant, a co-parent, someone in a current or previous dating relationship or a current or former fiancée. Depending on whether or not there were injuries, domestic violence can be charged as a felony level offense. For example, a defendant can be charged with corporal injury to a spouse as a felony in violation of California Penal Code Section 273.5 PC. Anyone convicted of a felony in California loses their right to possess a firearm for the rest of their lives. Under California Penal Code Section 29800 PC, someone with a prior felony on their record who is found in possession of a firearm can be charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm and can face up to three years in prison.
Under California Penal Code Section 29805 PC, several misdemeanor convictions trigger an automatic 10 year firearms ban. This includes domestic violence misdemeanors such as domestic battery under California Penal Code Section 243(e)(1), stalking under California Penal Code Section 646.9 PC and criminal threats pursuant to California Penal Code Section 422 PC. Anyone convicted of one of these misdemeanor offenses would have their gun ownership rights in California suspended for a period of ten years.Federal Firearms Restrictions and Domestic Violence Convictions
Even if a person’s gun rights in California are restored, they may still be subject to a Federal ban on owning or possessing firearms. Under Federal law, anyone convicted of a felony or anyone convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence will permanently lose their right to own or possess firearms. In addition, those who were subject to a domestic violence restraining order would also be prohibited from ever owning a firearm.
Federal firearm rights are only surrendered due to a restraining or protective order when the protected person is an “intimate partner.” Federal law defines an intimate partner as a current or former spouse, a co-parent or a current or former cohabitant. This means that there likely would not be a Federal firearm ban when dealing with a civil harassment restraining order or an elder abuse restraining order. Also, the Federal lifetime ban only applies when there has been a hearing or where the respondent was lawfully served and had an opportunity to contest the protective order. A lifetime ban is not triggered by the issuance of an ex parte, emergency or temporary restraining order issued without notice to the other party.
Those who violate the Federal firearm ban can be charged with a Federal felony and can be sentenced to serve up to ten years in prison with fines of up to $250,000.
If you or a loved one have been arrested for a domestic violence offense and have questions about firearm rights, it is imperative that you consult with an attorney experienced in handling domestic violence cases as soon as possible. Michael Kraut is a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience who understands that a conviction can trigger unforeseen consequences, including a potential lifetime firearm ban. In many cases, Mr. Kraut’s early involvement in a case has resulted in charges being rejected completely or significantly reduced.
For more information about domestic violence and gun rights and to schedule your free consultation, contact Michael Kraut at the Kraut Law Group located at 6255 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 1480, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 323-464-6453.