Your Gun Rights
The Second Amendment guarantees that "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” However, one of the serious consequences of being a convicted felon is that you lose your gun rights. It does not matter that it was your first felony or that the felony was a minor one. If you have a felony on your record, it is illegal for you to possess a firearm. You can face some stiff penalties if you do. Under Virginia Code § 18.2-308.2, if you are found to be in possession of a firearm as a convicted felon, you can face up to 5 years in prison, and a mandatory 5-year sentence if the felony is a violent one. Federal law is even stiffer. Under 18 U.S.C. §922, you can face up to 10 years in prison.
Other serious consequences of being a convicted felon are that you lose:
the right to vote
the right to serve on a jury
the right to run for public office
the right to be a notary public
Can I Get Back My Gun Rights as A Convicted Felon?
It depends. If you were convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence, you cannot possess a firearm under federal law. Beyond this exclusion, getting your gun rights restored is possible, but not absolute. There is a process in place to obtain your gun rights back. It involves first getting your civil rights restored by the governor and then making an application to the circuit court.
What if My Felony Conviction Is from A Federal Court or Another State?
You cannot get your gun rights restored in Virginia if you have a felony conviction in another state or from a federal court.
How Do I Get My Civil Rights Restored?
The process is very easy and can be done by contacting the Secretary of the Commonwealth, P.O. Box 1475, Richmond, VA 23218, or by calling (804) 692-0104. The application is only one page. Your right to vote, serve on a jury, run for public office, and be a notary public will automatically be restored if you have a felony conviction in Virginia and are free from any term or incarceration and/or supervision. (NOTE: The governor does not have the authority to restore firearm rights, but once your civil rights are restored you can proceed with petitioning the circuit court for your gun rights).
How Do I Go About Petitioning the Circuit Court to Restore My Gun Rights?
Once your civil rights are restored by the governor, a petition may be filed with the circuit court, pursuant to Va. Code § 18.2-308.1, to restore your gun rights. A hearing may be requested to present evidence that your rights have been restored and that you are a good candidate for gun rights restoration.
What Considerations Will the Court Give to Your Petition to Restore Gun Rights?
There are certain considerations that go into the decision on whether to grant back your gun rights. They include the nature of the crime resulting in the felony conviction and the reason why you want your gun rights back. Was it a violent crime? Was there alcohol or drugs involved? Do you want your gun rights for protection? For hunting? For sport? For hobby as in antique gun collecting?
It's also important to note that each judge is different. Each judge hears the evidence that you present and will decide whether you should have your rights restored.
Charlottesville Restoration of Rights Lawyer
There is no guarantee that if you're a felon you will ever get your gun rights restored. But "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms” is a cherished right worth fighting for. Whether you've been convicted of one felony or multiple felonies, you need an attorney who is trained restoration of rights defense. Such an attorney can make sure you get the best outcome in your case. Bryan J. Jones is committed to his clients and will develop a defense strategy tailored just for you. Contact Bryan J. Jones, LLC today.