Many lawyers who are not Michigan Gun Crimes Lawyers, fail to fully understand or appreciate the interplay between State and Federal firearms laws. This can lead to the catastrophic loss of rights, including the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.
An example of this would be the Federal Firearms Law found at 18 United States Code § 922(g)(9), which provides that even a single conviction for misdemeanor domestic violence will result in the loss of many of your Second Amendment rights, including the shipping, transporting, possession, or receipt of a firearm or ammunition that has been shipped in or affects interstate commerce. In plain language, any domestic violence conviction will eliminate your ability to legally purchase or possess or ammunition for any purpose. This includes keeping a firearm of any kind in your home for self-defense.
Oftentimes this impact is overlooked because local attorneys are members of a State Bar and focused on State penalties. The average State attorney doesn’t often consider Federal Penalties. They are also often focused on the more pressing penalties of jail, probation, or fines.
In the state of Michigan, Domestic Violence is often charged as a state crime. That means that the charge is often under Michigan Compiled Laws 750.81or 750.81a. Essentially, Domestic Violence is an assault charge, where the alleged victim either is related to you or a current or former relationship partner. These charges are misdemeanor crimes with the possibility of no more than a year in jail. However, even if there is not a jail sentence, your firearms rights will still be taken away under Federal Law.
How to Avoid a Loss of Your Second Amendment Rights When Charged With Domestic Violence
There are plea offers that can potentially avoid such a result. Michigan Compiled Laws sec. 769.4a allows a first offense Domestic Violence Charge to be dismissed if you successfully complete a deferral program. Similarly, the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act (HYTA) allows a deferral for persons who commit such an act before the age of 26. However, these programs must be offered and, most importantly, successfully completed. If the program is not successfully completed, then a conviction will enter on the record and the prohibition from firearms and ammunition will automatically follow.
Will Expungement Restore My Second Amendment Rights?
It is also now possible that such a conviction could be removed or expunged from your record. The recent Clean Slate Act in Michigan, under Michigan Compiled Laws sec. 780.621, allows for the removal of a misdemeanor domestic violence, if certain conditions are met. However, this would not be an automatic expungement and would likely require the assistance of an attorney. Moreover, an expungement would not be available for over five years after you complete your probation. This means you could be without your Second Amendment Rights for years with only a possibility of removal if you can convince the judge that you have substantially changed.
While no one wants to face a domestic violence charge, it only takes a simple accusation to be facing the State with your Firearms Rights on the line. As you can see, it is best to understand your Rights before they are gone. With that in mind, you should start your search for Michigan Gun Crimes Lawyer who is familiar with the importance of the Second Amendment and willing to fight to keep your Rights intact. If you have already lost your rights, you should see if you are eligible for expungement.