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Can You Get a Gun with a Domestic Violence Charge?

| Mariam Ferguson

Facing a domestic violence charge in Arizona not only has immediate legal consequences but can also impact various aspects of an individual’s life, including their right to possess firearms. Arizona’s firearm regulations concerning domestic violence cases are stringent and interconnected with both state and federal laws.

Understanding Domestic Violence Offenses in Arizona

In Arizona, domestic violence offenses encompass a range of crimes committed against current or former household and family members. These offenses extend beyond traditional familial relationships to include some sexual or romantic relationships, following the enactment of “Kaity’s Law” in 2009. 

Convictions for domestic violence offenses trigger serious penalties, including restrictions on firearm possession. You should get legal representation from experienced criminal defense attorneys to defend you from domestic violence charges in Arizona.

Firearm Prohibitions for a Domestic Violence Conviction

Arizona law prohibits individuals convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors from possessing firearms, but the prohibition is tied explicitly to the probationary period. In other words, if you have been convicted of a domestic violence offense in Arizona, the state law only prohibits you from possessing a gun while you are serving the probation term related to that conviction. 

Federal Law Implications: The Lautenberg Amendment

The Lautenberg Amendment, enacted in 1996, amended the Gun Control Act of 1968 to include provisions prohibiting individuals convicted of misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence from possessing firearms. This federal law significantly impacts the ability of those with domestic violence convictions to acquire or retain firearms in Arizona.

Impact of Protective Orders on Gun Possession in Arizona

Courts issuing protective orders related to domestic violence cases in Arizona have the authority to restrict defendants from buying or possessing firearms. This prohibition is contingent on the court’s determination that the defendant poses a credible threat to the plaintiff’s safety or the safety of other designated individuals. Understanding the nuances of these orders is vital for individuals navigating the legal aftermath of a domestic violence charge in Arizona.

Surrendering Firearms in Arizona under Protective Orders

When an Arizona court prohibits firearm possession for the defendant while issuing a domestic violence protective order, the defendant is mandated to surrender any owned or possessed firearms either immediately or within 24 hours to law enforcement. This step is taken to ensure the safety of those protected by the order. Non-compliance with this requirement can result in legal consequences.

Emergency Protective Orders and Immediate Actions in Arizona

In situations where an emergency protective order is issued ex parte due to an immediate danger of domestic violence, the court may prohibit the defendant from buying or possessing firearms. The court may impose a prohibition if it determines that the defendant poses a risk of causing bodily harm to the plaintiff.

Law Enforcement’s Role in Seizing Firearms

Arizona law empowers peace officers responding to domestic violence incidents to question individuals present about the presence of firearms. If a firearm is identified and there is a risk of significant bodily harm, the officer can seize the firearm for at least 72 hours. 

Penalties for Violating Firearm Possession Restrictions After a Domestic Violence Charge in Arizona

Criminal Charges

Violating firearm possession restrictions may lead to new criminal charges. In Arizona, charges related to the unlawful possession of a firearm could be filed.

Felony Offense

Depending on the circumstances and the nature of the violation, the offense of unlawfully possessing a firearm after a domestic violence conviction could be classified as a felony.

Increased Sentencing

If convicted of unlawfully possessing a firearm after a domestic violence conviction, the court may impose additional sentencing beyond what was initially imposed for the domestic violence offense.

Will Expunging My Domestic Violence Conviction in Arizona Automatically Restore My Gun Rights?

While expunging or setting aside a conviction can positively impact your record, it does not automatically restore firearm rights. The process of restoring gun rights is separate and requires a specific legal petition to the court. Consult a knowledgeable Arizona domestic violence attorney to explore the possibilities of expungement and the subsequent restoration of firearm rights.

Photo of Domestic Violence

How to Restore Firearm Rights after a Domestic Violence Conviction in Arizona

Legal Consultation

Seek the advice of an Arizona criminal defense attorney with experience in firearm rights restoration cases. A proven and resourceful criminal defense law firm can assess your situation, guide the legal process, and help you increase the likelihood of success in restoring firearm rights.

Petition the Court

You can file a petition with the court to restore firearm rights with the assistance of your Arizona criminal defense lawyer. The petition should include a detailed explanation of why you believe your firearm rights should be restored, along with supporting documentation. The court will review the petition and consider factors such as the nature of the offense, rehabilitation efforts, and your overall conduct since the conviction.

Attend Court Hearings

Be prepared to attend court hearings to present the case for firearm rights restoration. Securing legal representation from a leading Tucson criminal defense attorney during these proceedings would be advantageous to proficiently advocate for your interests.

Comply with Court Orders

If the court grants the petition to restore firearm rights, individuals must comply with any additional court orders or conditions imposed. Failure to adhere to these conditions may jeopardize the restored firearm rights.

Federal Background Check

Bear in mind that, even if the state restores firearm rights, federal law may still impose restrictions. Individuals should be aware of federal regulations and consult a proven Arizona criminal defense law firm to ensure compliance.

Get a Seasoned Arizona Criminal Defense Lawyer 

If you are facing domestic violence charges in Arizona and are concerned about the potential impact on your gun rights, the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Ferguson Hill Filous, PLLC are ready to provide the guidance and representation you need. 

With a deep understanding of state and federal laws, our dedicated legal team can aggressively represent you in domestic violence cases and work towards the restoration of your firearm rights. 

We recognize the unique challenges individuals face in such situations and will do what it takes to build a strategic defense for your circumstances. To schedule your free consultation, call our law firm at 520-251-9584 or contact us online.

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