In the United States, citizens take their rights to bear arms very seriously; however, each state has enacted strict laws regarding firearms possession – who can buy firearms, where they can carry them, and what types of firearms can be purchased. Understandably, these strict laws were enacted to help keep the public safe, and keep weapons out of the hands of those who may misuse them.
If you’re facing driving under the influence (DUI) charges, you may be wondering if you can legally possess a firearm with a DUI conviction on your criminal record, and this is a valid concern. The State of California has what are called “prohibited possessors,” classes of individuals who are prohibited from possessing firearms and ammunition, and certain convicted criminals are strictly prohibited from possessing firearms.
Are You a Prohibited Possessor?
Suppose you are convicted of DUI in California, does that automatically make you a prohibited possessor? It depends. DUI is a “wobbler” offense, which means it can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the facts of the case.
When someone is convicted of misdemeanor DUI, they are NOT prohibited from possessing a firearm. But, if they are convicted of a felony DUI, they will be prohibited from possessing a firearm for life under California law.
Learn more about California’s firearm laws by clicking here.
According to the California Department of Justice Bureau of Firearms, state and federal law make it illegal for certain individuals to own or possess firearms, including: “Any person who is convicted of a felony, or any offense enumerated in Penal Code sections 29900 or 29905.” The following individuals are also prohibited from possessing a firearm:
- Illegal aliens.
- Fugitives from justice.
- Anyone who is prohibited from possessing a firearm as a condition of their probation.
- Anyone who has been convicted of certain violent misdemeanors.
- Individuals with an active domestic violence restraining order against them.
- Anyone who has been found to be a danger to themselves or someone else because of a mental illness.
- Anyone who has been deemed a mentally disordered sex offender.
- Anyone who is addicted to narcotics.
- People who have been dishonorably discharged from the military.
If you are convicted of misdemeanor DUI, it should not affect your ability to possess a firearm. On the other hand, if you are convicted of a felony DUI, you would be categorized as a “prohibited possessor.” When is DUI a felony? Generally, a DUI is a felony when the defendant has three prior DUI convictions within 10 years, or when the defendant seriously injured or killed another person during the DUI incident.
Facing DUI charges in Orange County? Contact the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc. for a free case evaluation!