California Gun Rights Restoration After Conviction

If you are convicted of a crime in the state of California, you will face an uphill battle to restore your right to own and use a firearm. However, a California criminal defense attorney will help you restore these important rights in due time. Let’s take a closer look at the process necessary to restore your gun rights following a conviction.

Confusion is the Norm in the Context of Restoring Second Amendment Rights

California’s gun laws are inherently confusing. If you are convicted of a crime in the Golden State, you will likely spend a considerable amount of time and effort attempting to understand your post-conviction Second Amendment rights. Let’s set the record straight.

California law states all felony convictions as well as misdemeanor convictions are to punish the offense and also preclude the individual in question from owning or possessing any type of gun. This even means owning, using or borrowing a hunting rifle is illegal following a conviction. If there is a felony conviction, the individual in question cannot own or use a firearm for the remainder of his or her life aside from the exceptions detailed below. However, those convicted of a misdemeanor are barred from owning or using a firearm for a period of a decade.

Felony Convictions

Though California law states those convicted of a felony face a lifetime ban on possessing or owning a gun, there is the potential for relief in the event that the offense is considered a wobbler. Plenty of offenses in the state’s criminal statute are considered wobblers. Wobbler offenses are unique in that they are prosecuted as a felony and have the potential to result in a misdemeanor conviction. The best California criminal defense attorneys do their best to have charges reduced to those of the misdemeanor variety. The overarching aim of reducing the charge from a felony to a misdemeanor is to minimize the potential penalty including the prospect of a lifetime ban on the defendant’s firearm rights.

An individual who has a wobbler felony might still end up being convicted of the felony. However, the unique circumstances of the supposed crime ultimately dictate whether the felony will qualify as a wobbler. There is the possibility for gun rights to be restored if the suspect is not sentenced to a period of time in prison.

Courts commonly sentence felony convictions for offenses considered to be wobblers to time spent in county jail or even probation. The defendant is then empowered to petition the court to decrease the felony to a charge of the misdemeanor variety in accordance with Penal Code 17(b.). This petition is provided to the court following the serving of the sentence and in unison with the petition for the conviction to be expunged. If the court grants the petition, the felony charge will be decreased to a misdemeanor. As a result, the individual in question will have his or her firearm rights restored a decade following the date of the conviction.

However, such relief is not available for every single wobbler conviction. As an example, if the conviction relates to domestic violence, federal law prevents the individual from owning or possessing a gun for the remainder of his or her life. An individual found guilty of a felony in relation to a domestic violence incident will only be able to restore his or her firearm rights with a pardon from the governor and/or a certificate of rehabilitation.

Gun Rights After a Misdemeanor Conviction

Some misdemeanor convictions result in a ban of the individual’s ownership or use of firearms. The ban is applicable to misdemeanor convictions relating to domestic violence and violations of protective orders. Wobbler crimes are also included. Certain wobbler offenses such as assault, battery, stalking, criminal threats and threatening a public official/officer will spur a gun ban regardless of whether they are convicted as a misdemeanor or a felony.

However, the remainder of misdemeanor convictions in Florida are likely to result in a restoration of the individual’s gun rights after a decade passes. However, there are some exceptions such as that pertaining to misdemeanor violations in the context of domestic assault as noted in section 273.5 of the Penal Code.