Many times, a person charged with driving under the influence decides to just accept the consequences and not fight the charge. However, sometimes the consequences of a DUI conviction have long-reaching and long-lasting effects that the person never expected. One possibility is a DUI conviction affecting your right to buy or carry a firearm. If this would be a concern for you, consider hiring a DUI lawyer to provide legal representation and defend you against the charge.
Factors Affecting Gun Rights in DUI Cases
You will lose your right to buy or carry a gun if your DUI is a felony charge. Although the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees citizens the right to bear arms, federal law puts certain restrictions on that right. One of those restrictions is that convicted felons—even nonviolent offenders—lose the right to carry a gun.
DUI felony charges typically are only filed if the individual caused an accident, property damage, an injury or a fatality. Having multiple previous misdemeanor DUI convictions also can result in a felony charge, even if there were no other aggravating factors.
A felony DUI has serious implications aside from carrying a gun. A conviction could lead to a lengthy jail sentence. It's important to have skilled legal representation, as this can help prevent the harshest penalties from being assessed.
It's possible to appeal the loss of your Second Amendment right to carry a gun, but how easy the process is depends on your state. Some states automatically reinstate gun rights for nonviolent felons upon the completion of the sentence and the filing of an appeal. Others leave the matter up to a judge or even to the state's governor.
In several states, people lose their right to carry a gun after a misdemeanor DUI, as mandated by state law. They must file an appeal with the state and have it approved by a judge. Some states require that the offender complete a mental health or substance abuse evaluation before the right is reinstated. Some do not allow purchasing a handgun until a certain number of years have passed.
A DUI lawyer knows the relevant laws for your state and can provide you with the information.
What You Can Do Now
Contact a criminal defense attorney who handles DUI cases (like those at Kassel & Kassel A Group of Independent Law Offices). You should be able to have a free initial consultation, during which you'll learn more about the defense process. If the lawyer accepts your case and you decide to hire them, you can count on the law firm providing expert counsel and representation.