According to the NCADV, the risk of homicide increases 500 percent when guns are present in domestic violence situations. It's no surprise, then, that police typically confiscate weapons when called to handle domestic abuse, and people convicted of this crime often have their gun licenses revoked. If you've had your gun privileges taken away because of a domestic violence conviction, you may be wondering if it's possible to have them reinstated. It is, but it may be very difficult to do. Here's more information about this issue.
Restricted By Federal Law
Federal law permanently bans anyone who has a misdemeanor conviction for domestic violence (or felony conviction for any crime) from owning a gun. The law also prohibits people subjected to protection orders (PO) instated as a result of domestic abuse from owning guns while the protection order is active. However, a person's firearm privileges are typically reactivated once the PO expires or is removed by the court.
As long as a person has a conviction for domestic violence on his or her record, though, the individual will be denied firearm privileges and subjected to criminal penalties if the person is caught with a gun. Therefore, the only way to restore your gun privileges in this situation is to have the conviction expunged from your criminal record.
Getting a conviction removed from your record can be challenging. First, the state where the incident occurred must allow domestic violence convictions to be expunged. Some allow only arrests and misdemeanor charges to be removed, while others won't take off the conviction if you were found guilty of other crimes. Still others will only expunge your record if you're proven innocent of the charges.
Second, there is usually a time restriction. You must wait five years after being sentenced or released from jail to request your record be expunged in Michigan, for example. Third, expunging a record doesn't mean the same thing in every state. In Connecticut, your record will be completely erased. However, in Maine, your record will only be sealed from public view, meaning it may still be accessible by government agencies. This can result in continued denial of gun privileges.
Get Help with Expunging a Criminal Record
While it's possible to get through the process of expunging a criminal record on your own, it may be better to work with a criminal defense attorney. A knowledgeable criminal defense attorney can provide you with sound advice that can help you avoid the pitfalls associated with expunging a record and increase your chances of success. For more information about this issue or assistance with defending a domestic violence charge in court, contact a criminal defense attorney or law firm like Kassel & Kassel A Group of Independent Law Offices.