Convictions of Misdemeanor or Felony Domestic Violence in California End Your Federal Right To Bear Arms
The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution protects your right to keep and bear a firearm. A conviction for felony domestic violence in California strips you of this right unless, under limited circumstances, you are pardoned or have your conviction expunged. In addition, a conviction for misdemeanor domestic violence will mean that under federal law you will lose you right to own a gun for life.
A recent decision in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upholds a lifetime ban barring a person with a misdemeanor domestic violence conviction from possessing, transporting or receiving a firearm under federal law. Our attorneys at Wallin & Klarich want to share with you this important decision so that you understand what your rights and responsibilities are in the event you are facing a misdemeanor or felony domestic violence charge in California.
United States v. Chovan (9th Cir. Nov. 18, 2013)
In 1996, Daniel Chovan was convicted of misdemeanor spousal abuse in California (Penal Code 273.5(a)). California law prohibited him from gun possession for 10 years. Federal law under 18 U.S.C. § 922 (g)(9) removed this right for life.
In 2010, Chovan was charged with possessing a firearm. He moved to dismiss the charge, claiming his Second Amendment right and alternatively that under a “civil rights restored exception,” the federal law did not apply to him because California law provided restoration of his firearm rights. The federal district court denied his motion, and he conditionally pled guilty preserving his right to appeal.
The Ninth Circuit rejected Chovan’s exception claim holding that his civil rights had never been “lost” and therefore could not have been “restored” as a result of California’s time limit on firearm possession. The panel reasoned that his original misdemeanor conviction had not taken away his “core civil rights” such as voting, jury participation, or the right to hold public office.
On Chovan’s Second Amendment challenge, the panel upheld federal law finding that the government has an important interest in “preventing domestic gun violence,” and that keeping guns out of the hands of those convicted of domestic violence is substantially related to that goal.
Consequences of a Domestic Violence Conviction
If you are facing a domestic violence charge, you need to be aware that there are many more consequences to a conviction than jail time and/or paying a fine. Depending on whether you are convicted of a misdemeanor or felony domestic violence offense, you may be subject to any of the following:
- Restraining orders filed against you for up to 10 years;
- No contact with your victims including your spouse, children, or other family members if any of them were abused by you while a restraining order is in effect;
- Moving out of your home in order to comply with a “no contact” order;
- Probation or Community Supervision for up to five years;
- Return to custody if you violate conditions of supervision;
- 52 weeks or more of Anger Management/Domestic Violence classes;
- Community Service (including Cal-Trans);
- Restitution to your victims;
- Restitution to the government;
- A permanent record of abuse;
- Loss of your custodial rights;
- Loss of your current job;
- Loss of future employment opportunities;
- Loss of public benefits;
- Civil liability should any of your injured victims decide to sue you for damages;
- Suspension or revocation of your state license (e.g., a doctor, attorney, teacher, etc.);
- Deportation out of the country if you are not a U.S. Citizen; and
- Loss of your Second Amendment right to possess or own a firearm for the rest of your life.
Call Misdemeanor/Felony Domestic Violence Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich
A domestic violence conviction can have lifelong, devastating consequences beyond a jail sentence. If you or someone you love has been accused of a misdemeanor or felony domestic violence offense, you need to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Wallin & Klarich today. At Wallin & Klarich, our attorneys have over 40 years of experience successfully defending our clients facing domestic violence charges.
We may be able to get the charges against you reduced or dismissed. Or, we may be able to negotiate a sentence that relieves you of some of the many other consequences of a conviction. Our first priority is to get you the best possible result in your case.
With offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Tustin, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, our attorneys at Wallin & Klarich are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to make certain all of your rights are protected. You don’t have to go through this alone.
Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL (877-466-5245) for a free telephone consultation. We will get through this together.