Criminal charges carry the possibility for serious penalties, including fines, court costs, and the possibility of jail time. A criminal conviction also can bring with it the loss of civil rights, including the right to own a gun.
If you were convicted of a felony or some gross misdemeanor crimes involving domestic violence in Washington, you may have lost the right to possess a firearm. The ban on possessing a firearm will last for your entire lifetime unless you ask the court to restore your right to possess a gun.
The Washington gun rights restoration attorneys at the Campbell Law Firm are here to help.
If you were convicted or found not guilty by reason of insanity of a felony or certain gross misdemeanor domestic violence crimes in Washington, you may have lost the right to possess a firearm. Possessing a firearm in violation of the law can lead to criminal charges for unlawful possession of a firearm in the first degree, which is a class B felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $20,000, or both. Unlawful possession of a firearm in the second degree is a class C felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a maximum fine of $5,000.
To have your gun rights restored, you must wait either three or five years after your sentence is complete, and you must file a petition for a restoration of gun rights in Superior Court. Petitioning for a restoration of your gun rights is the way you ask the court to allow you to possess a firearm after a criminal conviction.
If you were convicted of a felony you must wait five years after your conviction to petition to have your gun rights restored. If you were convicted of a non-felony that led to the loss of your gun rights, you can petition to have your gun rights restored after three years. If you are subsequently convicted of another crime, the five or three year clock will reset.
In addition to the five or three year waiting period, to be eligible, you must not have any additional felony or misdemeanor cases pending, not have any other convictions or court orders that prohibit the possession of a firearm, and must not have any prior felony convictions that prohibit the use of a firearm which could be counted towards your offender score. For non-felony convictions, you must have completed all conditions of your sentence. If you meet these criteria, you are eligible to petition the court to have your right to possess a firearm restored.
If you were convicted of a class A felony or a sex offense, you will never be eligible to have your gun rights restored under Washington law. Likewise, a conviction for certain domestic violence crimes may make you ineligible to have your gun rights restored under federal law. However, the federal definition of domestic violence is more narrow than the Washington state definition of domestic violence. Even if you were convicted of a domestic violence crime in Washington, it may not be classified as domestic violence at the federal level and you may still be eligible to have your gun rights restored. You may also be able to seek to have your domestic violence conviction vacated, then pursue restoration of your state and federal gun rights.
Once you lose your gun rights, they remain revoked until a court restores them. The only way to have your gun rights restored is to ask the appropriate court to reinstate them. This can be accomplished by filing a petition for restoration of gun rights in Superior Court.
Unlike some other states, Washington does not have exceptions for people to possess a gun for target shooting, to temporarily possess someone else’s gun, or to possess guns as collectible items. If you are prohibited from possessing a firearm but are caught possessing one illegally, you face felony charges for the unlawful possession of a firearm.
Even if you are not personally interested in owning a gun, you can still face charges for unlawful possession of a firearm if you are caught riding in a car or are in a home where firearms are present.
The loss of your gun rights means that you can be convicted of a felony simply for possessing a gun, something that is legal for people who have not been convicted of a crime. Petitioning for a restoration of your gun rights is another step on the road towards resuming the life you knew before a criminal conviction. Seeking restoration of your gun rights will enable you to protect yourself, to go hunting, and to carry a concealed weapon.
Working with a lawyer to petition for a restoration of gun rights will also help ensure that you pass the state and federal background check needed to lawfully purchase a firearm.
Washington does not require that your criminal record be expunged before you seek a restoration of your gun rights. In Washington, these are separate processes. However, vacating or expunging a conviction may be beneficial to restore your federal gun rights.
A Washington gun rights restoration lawyer can assist you in getting your gun rights back. To seek restoration of your gun rights, you must petition the appropriate court to have your right to possess a firearm restored under RCW 9.41.040(4). The petition can be filed either in the Superior Court that entered the order prohibiting you from possessing a firearm, or in theSuperior Court where you live.
Attorney Justin Campbell helps people throughout northwest Washington who need assistance having their gun rights restored. From his office in Anacortes, he works with people in Skagit County, Island County, and San Juan County. Attorney Campbell understands the local processes in courts across northwest Washington and can help you seek restoration of your gun rights.
Restoring your gun rights is a complicated process, and working with an experienced Washington gun rights restoration lawyer helps. If you need help having your gun rights restored, contact the Campbell Law Firm today.
Learn why people choose the Campbell Law Firm, read reviews from other people we’ve helped, and contact us today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case. Call the Campbell Law Firm at (360) 588-4111, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or complete our online form.
The Campbell Law Firm helps people throughout northwest Washington, including Skagit County, Island County, San Juan County, Anacortes, Mount Vernon, Burlington, Sedro-Woolley, Oak Harbor, Coupeville, and Friday Harbor.