Following the conviction of a crime, courts often impose penalties. The severity of the penalty will depend on the circumstances of the committed crime. Specifically, convictions for certain crimes can lead to loss of one’s civil rights such as voting, free movement, and possessing a firearm. DUI charges can bar someone from possessing firearms. However, this is only applicable to certain conditions of DUI charges. Only those categorized under the “prohibited persons” list are banned from possessing or purchasing guns. Among those categorized as prohibited persons are convicted felons, individuals convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence, those who have a domestic restraining order imposed on them, and persons arraigned in court for crimes which warranted a 1 year jail term (PC 29800). Others include fugitives of justice, illegal U.S residents, individuals addicted to substances, persons suffering from certain mental illness, and militants who have been dishonorably discharged from service.
While a standard misdemeanor may have little to no effect on a person’s rights, there are few instances which, if colluded with a DUI, can result in the loss of civil rights.
A Fourth DUI Offense
In the state of California, a fourth DUI arrest automatically constitutes felony charges. With this type of criminal charges, an individual will be banned from possessing a firearm for a period of 10 years. After the 10 year period is over, the individual can apply to have his or her right to possession of a firearm reinstated.
Felony DUI Charges
Apart from four DUI convictions, felony DUI charges may be applied if the DUI resulted in death or injury. Felony DUI charges are potentially life-altering and require the expertise of an experienced DUI attorney. Such charges can also limit one’s potential for opportunities since such records are difficult to expunge.
Dishonorably Discharged Military Service Personnel
Application of this law is tougher for people in military service. While a first time DUI offense may not attract heavy penalties including a dishonorable discharge, consecutive DUI charges can permanently cancel one’s military status. A military officer, who has been dishonorably discharged for multiple DUI charges or a DUI charge that included serious aggravating factors, can lose his or her right to own or possess a firearm.
A DUI with Other Crimes
If an individual committed a DUI offense with another crime, they may face charges that could inadvertently lead to losing their right to own a firearm. For example, if an individual is arrested for a DUI and illegal drug possession or domestic violence, a court may brand them as a prohibited person, which would make it illegal for them to possess guns in the future.
These bans on possession of firearms also vary depending on the circumstances of the charges. For example, felony charges applied to a DUI warrant a lifetime ban. The only exception to this is if the court categorizes the crime as a wobbler offense. If this is the case, the accused can have the charges ultimately reduced to a misdemeanor where the person can apply to have his or her gun possession rights again. Other instances include some misdemeanors where courts can impose a possession ban for 10 years.
DUI charges, if not properly handled by experienced attorneys, can have life-altering effects on individuals, including the right to bear arms. Don Hammond has the experience and knowledge required to get you back your gun rights or help in any criminal defense issue. Every case is different, please call us at 323.529.3660 for a free consultation.