Domestic Violence and Firearms
Guns and Domestic Violence
In 1996 Congress enacted legislation that disallows individuals convicted of domestic violence from possessing firearms. This is often referred to as the Luatenberg Amendment. This law has created big problems for many people. For instance, if you are a soldier or police officer, if you are convicted of domestic violence you may not be able to continue in your profession. And even for people other than police officers and soldiers, the law also made possession of firearms, following a conviction for domestic violence, a federal crime.
Domestic violence is a hot topic for almost every prosecutor's office in the country. Colorado is no exception. All you have to do is take a look at the web-pages for local prosecutors and you will see just how much of a priority domestic violence is for them. In the front range, most District Attorney Offices have what they call a "fast track" prosecution for Domestic Violence. This means that they try to resolve these cases quickly which means they try to convict you as soon as possible. In many instances speed is important. If you are charged with a crime, particularly a domestic violence charge, speed may cause you to plead guilty and to loose your rights to own or possess a firearm.
In a fairly recent case, the importance of sound legal advice in the context of Domestic Violence cases was demonstrated. In a Supreme Court case, the Court determined that for a conviction to trigger the 1996 provisions described above, which outlaw and criminalize the possession or ownership of firearms following a domestic violence conviction, the words "domestic violence" are not necessary. Instead, the Court held that:
The definition of "misdemeanor crime of domestic violence," contained in §921(a)(33)(A) [the law this article is discussing], imposes two requirements.
First, the crime must have, "as an element, the use or attempted use of physical force, or the threatened use of a deadly weapon." §921(a)(33)(A)(ii).
Second, it must be "committed by" a person who has a specified domestic relationship with the victim. Ibid.
The definition does not, however, require the predicate-offense statute to include, as an element, the existence of that domestic relationship.
Instead, it suffices for the Government to charge and prove a prior conviction that was, in fact, for "an offense ... committed by" the defendant against a spouse or other domestic victim."
If you are more of a visual learner, here is a slide show on this topic:
Domestic Violence and FirearmsThe Lesson:
Domestic Violence charges can cause you more problems than just the case you are charged with. If you are facing a charge of Domestic Violence, you need to get a Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer who will protect you and defend you against the charge you are facing as well as the potential problems that can come from being convicted of a crime of domestic violence. Call Miller Leonard, PC today at 303-907-9516 and get a Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer who will work with you to protect your freedom and your rights.