Bentonville Domestic Violence Lawyer

The Effects of Domestic Violence Charges on Federal  
Firearm Restrictions

While the Second Amendment protects an individual's right to "bear arms," this is a right that can be taken away under certain circumstances. In 2015 I presented the above-titled speech in two different Continuing Legal Education (CLE) courses. Licensed criminal defense attorneys are required to attend a minimum of 12 hours of CLE every year to maintain their license to practice law. This goes for everyone with an active license, including judges.

After realizing how little information clients were getting about what effect on their gun rights their pending charges may have, I decided to do the research and teach other lawyers and judges myself. As a skilled Bentonville domestic violence attorney serving all of Northwest Arkansas, I have extensive experience with these criminal charges. 

Is Domestic Violence a Felony in Arkansas?

Domestic battering in the first degree is a Class A felony if the defendant either knew or should have known that the victim was pregnant, or if the defendant has a prior domestic battering conviction within the previous five years. Class A felonies can be punished by up to 30 years in prison.

Contact me today at (479) 777-0640 for your free consultation in Benton County & Northwest Arkansas  

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Over the years,  Cody W. Dowden has represented thousands of clients. He provides honest and straightforward representation to ensure that he works towards the best outcome in your case. Call (479) 777-0640 to learn more. 

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How Domestic Violence Affects Firearms

The Gun Control Act of 1968 was amended in 1996 to add a firearm restriction for any person convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence. Even though your state may not ban you from owning firearms due to a misdemeanor domestic violence conviction, you may be prohibited federally. So it's important to know what you are charged with and what effect it will have on gun rights.

The Offense - Part I

The first prong of the domestic violence offense that triggers the federal firearm restriction is the crime must have, as an element, the use or attempted use of physical force, or the threatened use of a deadly weapon.

This does not require you to actually be convicted of using force, but if you are charged with a crime that includes the use of force you must make sure your criminal defense lawyer understands this law to give you proper guidance.

The Offense - Part II

The second prong of the offense deals with the domestic relationship between you (the defendant) and the alleged victim. The federal definition of "domestic relationship" will likely differ significantly from what your state considers a domestic relationship. This is a very important distinction that may help you retain gun rights.

The Conviction

The underlying conviction must comply with certain requirements, including the use of a lawyer or the knowing waiver of counsel, and the opportunity to have a jury trial. This, too, can be complicated, so make sure your Benton County criminal defense attorney reviews the law and your domestic violence case.

What Happens if I Lose My Right to Own Firearms?

If your charge ultimately leads to the loss of firearm rights, you are no longer allowed to own, possess, or transport a "firearm." The definition of firearm includes almost all modern guns, ammunition, explosives, etc.

There is a very slim allowance for black powder muzzle loading weapons, but make sure the capabilities of the gun comply with the federal definition of firearm to include the inability to fire modern rim-fire or center-fire ammunition.

How to Drop Domestic Violence Charges in Arkansas 

The decision to drop domestic violence charges in Arkansas is not up to the victim alone. The prosecutor can drop the charges, but they will consider several factors before deciding. If you are the victim and wish to request that the charges be dropped, you can take the following steps:

  • Contact the prosecutor's office: You can call or visit the prosecutor's office handling your case and express your desire to drop the charges.
  • Explain your reasons: Be prepared to explain why you want to drop the charges. The prosecutor will want to know if you feel threatened or coerced by anyone to drop the charges.
  • Attend court hearings: If court hearings are scheduled in your case, make sure you attend and inform the court of your desire to drop the charges.
  • Consider the consequences: The prosecutor will consider the consequences of dropping the charges before deciding. They will consider the severity of the offense, the defendant's criminal history, and the impact on public safety.

It is important to note that if you are the victim of domestic violence, the court may still proceed with the case even if you want to drop the charges. The court has a duty to protect victims of domestic violence and may require the defendant to complete a batterer intervention program or issue a protective order. If you have concerns about your safety, you should discuss them with the prosecutor and the court.

How to Get My Gun Rights Back in Arkansas

Under certain circumstances, including expungement of your conviction, restoration of civil rights, and pardons, you may be able to regain your right to possess a firearm.

If you are concerned about your rights as a gun owner, call me today at (479) 777-0640 or contact me online. As a domestic violence lawyer in Bentonville, I have the experience on both sides of the courtroom and can help you fight your criminal defense case.

Reasons to Choose Cody W. Dowden

The Right Choice for Your Defense
  • 100% Focus on Criminal Law

    Unlike other firms that handle every type of case in the book, I focus exclusively on criminal law. I live and breathe it. You can trust in my focus.

  • When You Hire Me, You Get Me

    You won't be passed off to another lawyer or spend all of your time talking to a paralegal. I am your attorney. I'll be there every step of the way.

  • Accessible Legal Defense

    Life is busy and it can be hard to take the time you need to meet with your attorney. That's why I offer phone appointments for your convenience.

  • Affordable Fees & Payment Plans

    Protecting your legal rights shouldn't take every penny in your bank account. That's why I offer reasonable fees and payment plans.

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