Can California DUI Stop Me From Buying a Gun?
The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees your right to own a firearm. State and federal laws can, however, impose reasonable restrictions on that right. They can limit your ability to own certain types of weapons or carry firearms in certain areas. Once you are convicted of a crime, moreover, the government has much more ability to limit your rights. If you are convicted of a serious crime, the government can stop you from voting, living in certain areas, or owning a gun. Can that happen for a simple DUI?
Read on to learn about how a DUI conviction can affect your gun ownership rights. If you’ve been arrested for DUI, make sure you’re ready to defend yourself against the worst possible consequences of a conviction by calling the zealous Oxnard DUI/DWI defense attorney Paul Tyler for advice and representation.
California Law Prevents Felons from Owning Firearms
California law prevents certain people from buying or owning a gun. Anyone convicted of a felony will automatically face a lifetime ban on owning, possessing, or buying a gun in the State of California. If you have a gun, even if it’s properly licensed, and you are convicted of a felony, you’ll be forced to turn over the firearm.
Certain other criminal convictions also affect gun rights. Defendants convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence, people with a domestic restraining order imposed against them, as well as anyone who has been arraigned in court for crimes punishable by at least a year in jail are prohibited from owning guns. California can also take away gun ownership rights from people with a substance abuse addiction, people with certain mental illnesses, or people who were dishonorably discharged from the military.
The length of the ban on firearm ownership for people convicted of misdemeanors or who otherwise qualify varies, but it is usually at least ten years and can last a lifetime.
DUIs and Felonies
Not every DUI will automatically strip you of your right to own a gun. Most first-time DUI defendants will face only misdemeanor charges. Conviction for a misdemeanor DUI will not lead to limitations on your gun rights.
Under certain circumstances, however, a DUI can be charged as a felony, and such a conviction will impair your ability to buy or own a gun. DUIs may be charged as felonies under the following circumstances:
Fourth DUI. California law provides that a fourth consecutive DUI offense will lead to felony DUI charges. Conviction for a fourth DUI will result in firearm prohibition.
Prior Felony DUIs. A defendant accused of DUI after a prior felony DUI conviction may be charged with felony DUI.
Death or Injury. If an accident causes serious injury or death, and the at-fault driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the crash, the driver can be charged with felony DUI. A conviction for felony DUI will lead to firearm prohibition.
Vehicular Manslaughter. Defendants who drive under the influence and cause an accident leading to the death of a victim can be charged with vehicular manslaughter. Depending on the circumstances and the defendant’s conduct, vehicular manslaughter can be charged as a felony.
Other Crimes. If you are charged with DUI along with other qualifying crimes, such as felony drug possession or domestic violence, your gun rights may be at risk.
The Right Legal Defense Matters
A conviction for any crime can derail your life and impact any number of your rights. Many of the crimes discussed above are “wobblers,” meaning they are chargeable as either misdemeanors or felonies. The consequences for a felony conviction are much more severe, including a permanent ban on your ability to own a firearm.
If you’ve been pulled over on suspicion of DUI, arrested for DUI, or charged with DUI, talk to a seasoned DUI defense lawyer as soon as possible to protect your rights and your freedom.
Call Paul Tyler for Help After a DUI Arrest in Oxnard or Ventura County
If you are facing criminal charges in southern California, get trusted, professional legal help by contacting the Ventura offices of Paul Tyler for a free consultation at 805-889-9000.