The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution gives you the right to carry a firearm. But, it is possible to lose these rights. In Virginia, people who have been convicted of a felony automatically lose their gun rights, regardless of the nature or severity of the crime. This means you are not allowed to use, possess, carry, or purchase a firearm if you have been convicted of a felony. Fortunately, criminal defense lawyers in Roanoke, VA may be able to help you restore these rights.
How Can You Get Your Gun Rights Restored in Virginia?
You must take several steps following a felony conviction in order to restore your gun rights. The first step is restoring your civil rights. People who have been convicted of a felony lose more than just their gun rights—they lose the right to vote, serve on a jury, and run for office. These civil rights must be restored before you can get your gun rights back. You can request the restoration of your civil rights by filling out an application on the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s website.
It usually takes between 30 to 60 days for the state to review and process the request. If you qualify, your civil rights will be restored. This means you will regain the right to vote, serve on a jury, and run for office. But in general, the Governor will exclude the right to carry firearms when restoring your civil rights. As a result, you will not necessarily have the right to carry a firearm if your civil rights have been restored. There is one additional step that you will need to take to get this right back.
To restore your gun rights, you will have to go through the Circuit Court in your jurisdiction. The court will review your petition to determine whether or not you should have the right to use, possess, carry, and purchase firearms. You will have an opportunity to explain why you should have your gun rights restored during a court hearing that takes place shortly after your petition is filed. If the court decides to grant your request, a court order will be issued that restores your gun rights. However, the court has the authority to place certain restrictions on your use, possession, or handling of firearms. Make sure you understand the rules that the court has set in place or you could face additional legal penalties.
There are no guarantees that you will successfully get your gun rights back even if you carefully follow each step in the process. It is ultimately up to the courts to decide if you should have these rights given your criminal record.
What Other Criminal Activity Can Affect Your Gun Rights in Virginia?
There are many types of criminal activity that can impact your right to bear arms in Virginia. For example, the law in Virginia prohibits anyone who is the subject of a protective order from possessing a firearm. This means if someone has filed a protective order against you, it is illegal to have a firearm in your possession unless the order has expired.
You can also lose the right to purchase a handgun in Virginia if you are a repeat drug offender. The law states that anyone who has been convicted of two or more misdemeanor drug possession charges within the last five years cannot legally purchase a handgun.
Juvenile offenders can lose their gun rights, too. Your gun rights are automatically revoked if you were convicted of certain felony crimes, but sentenced as a minor. These crimes include rape, murder, robbery with a firearm, and kidnapping.
Furthermore, you are not allowed to purchase or possess a firearm if there is an active arrest warrant with your name on it in any state in the U.S. This is true regardless of whether the crime you are accused of committing is a misdemeanor or felony.
Can You Restore Your Rights After An Out-of-State Felony Conviction?
The process that is outlined above only applies to people who have been convicted of a felony crime in Virginia. If you were convicted of a crime in another state, you must restore your gun rights in that state. For example, let’s say you live in Virginia, but were convicted of felony DUI in the state of Pennsylvania. In this case, you would need to restore your gun rights in Pennsylvania even though you reside in Virginia.
Each state has its own rules governing the restoration of gun rights after a felony conviction, so it’s best to work with an attorney who practices law in the state where you were convicted.
Can You Restore Your Rights After A Federal Felony Conviction?
People who were convicted of a felony crime at the state level should follow the steps listed above, but the rules are different for people who were convicted of a felony crime at the federal level.
The courts in Virginia cannot restore your gun rights after a federal felony conviction. The only way to restore your gun rights after a federal felony conviction is obtaining a presidential pardon. You can apply for a presidential pardon by contacting the Pardon Attorney’s Office within the U.S. Department of Justice.
How Can A Criminal Defense Attorney Help You Fight For Your Gun Rights?
Restoring your gun rights is a complex process, so it’s in your best interest to seek help from an attorney. Your attorney can review the details of your case to determine if you are eligible for restoration. If you meet the criteria, your attorney will guide you through the complicated restoration process and defend your rights every step of the way.
If you would like your gun rights restored, contact criminal defense attorney Seth C. Weston to learn more about your legal options. Seth Weston is an experienced criminal defense attorney who will aggressively fight to protect your rights. Contact the Law Office of Seth C. Weston by calling 540-342-5608 or filling out the form on this website.