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Dom Vio & Gun Rights

Under Virginia law, if you are convicted of a Misdemeanor Domestic Assault, in violation of Virginia Code Section 18.2-57.2, you will not lose your right under Virginia law to possess a firearm (or ammunition).  If you are convicted of a Felony Domestic Assault, you will lose your right under Virginia law to possess a firearm because that is a consequence, out of many, to being convicted of a felony. 

(If you are subject to a permanent protective order (related to domestic family abuse or otherwise), under Virginia law, you may not possess a firearm while the protective order is in effect; Federal law prohibits possessing a firearm if you are subject to a permanent protective order and the petitioner is an intimate partner, child of an intimate partner, or your child.  An intimate partner could be a spouse, former spouse, person you share a child in common with or person you cohabit or cohabited with.  Click here to read about Protective Orders.)   

Under Federal law, the law is quite different.  United States Code Section 922 of Title 18 states, in pertinent part: 

  • "It shall be unlawful for any person...who has been convicted in any court of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence" to possess a firearm or ammunition "in or affecting [interstate] commerce."

18 USC Section 921 defines "misdemeanor crime of domestic violence" as any misdemeanor that "has, as an element, the use or attempted use of physical force, or the threatened use of a deadly weapon, committed by a current or former spouse, parent, or guardian of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabiting with or has cohabited with the victim as a spouse, parent, or guardian, or by a person similarly situated to a spouse, parent, or guardian of the victim."  

Therefore, even if you are not prohibited from possessing a firearm (or ammunition) under Virginia law, you may be prohibited form doing so under Federal law.  And, to be convicted of a "misdemeanor crime of domestic violence" as defined under Federal law does not even require that you be convicted of a violation of Virginia Code Section 18.2-57.2 under Virginia law - though that is typically the case.  The federal definition of domestic violence/assault is broader.  

This consequence of conviction is significant and something to be aware of if you are charged with Domestic Assault in Virginia.  In terms of having your rights "restored" so that you may possess a firearm under Federal law at some future point, because Virginia does not revoke your rights for misdemeanor domestic assault under 18.2-57.2 in the first place, there are no rights to be "restored."  

If you are facing a Domestic Assault allegation, or if you are uncertain whether your offense would qualify as Domestic Assault under federal law, contact Fairfax Criminal Defense Attorney George Freeman today.  He will gladly discuss your case with a free consultation.

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