Many people in Arizona are convicted of misdemeanors or felonies each year. Misdemeanor crimes are considered to be less severe than felony crimes.
In addition to the penalties you might face for a conviction, one type of collateral consequence that you might face is a loss of your civil rights, including your right to own or possess firearms.
Below is some information about the types of crimes that can lead to a loss of your Arizona gun rights and when or if it is possible for a Restoration of Gun Rights from the Shah Law Firm.
Can You Lose Your Arizona Gun Rights for a Misdemeanor Conviction?
Many types of misdemeanor crimes will not result in a loss of your civil rights, including your Arizona gun rights. However, if you are convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence, you will lose your right to own or possess firearms. This is because of the federal Domestic Violence Offenders Act, which was passed by Congress in 1997 and amended the 1968 Gun Control Act.
This law is codified at 18 USC 921 et. seq. Under 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(9), it is unlawful for anyone who has been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence to buy, sell, own, or possess a firearm.
Even if you don’t have a misdemeanor or felony conviction, you can also lose your Arizona gun rights if you are the subject of a restraining order preventing you from contacting or harassing someone with whom you have had a domestic relationship.
Under 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(8), you cannot own, possess, purchase, or transport a firearm if you are the subject of a restraining order when the court finds that you pose a credible threat to the named victim or that prohibits you from making threats of force against the named victim.
While there isn’t a specific Arizona state law that causes the loss of your Arizona gun rights following a misdemeanor conviction, you will still lose your rights under federal law because of the federal statute listed above.
Similarly, being the subject of a domestic violence restraining order in Arizona will likewise cause you to lose your gun rights under federal law.
Can You Lose Your Arizona Gun Rights Following a Felony Conviction?
You lose your Arizona gun rights if you are indicted for or convicted of a felony conviction. How long you might not be able to possess or own a gun in the state following a felony conviction will depend on whether it is a non-serious felony, a serious felony, or a dangerous felony and whether you apply to have your conviction set aside or file to restore civil rights, including your gun rights.
Set Aside Vs. Applying to Restore Civil Rights
If you have been convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence offense, there is no law in Arizona that will cause you to lose your rights. However, you will be barred from possessing or owning a gun under federal law. This means that you can’t apply to restore civil rights in Arizona, but you can move the court to set aside your conviction.
If your conviction for a misdemeanor domestic violence or assault is set aside, your Arizona gun rights will be restored. This will allow you to purchase, possess, and own a firearm.
If you have been convicted of a felony that is classified as a non-serious crime, you can either apply for a set-aside or restore civil rights.
A person who is convicted of a felony that is non-serious can apply for a set-aside once the case is completed or wait for two years to apply to restore civil rights under ARS 13-910.
If the court grants your motion for a set-aside, the court will automatically restore your right to own or possess a firearm under ARS 13-905(M). However, there are two exceptions when you have been convicted of a serious felony under ARS 13-906 or a dangerous felony under ARS 13-907.
Can You Get Your Arizona Gun Rights After a Conviction for a Serious Felony?
If you are convicted of a felony that is classified as a serious felony, you can’t apply to have your conviction set aside.
However, you can apply to restore civil rights once 10 years have passed following the discharge of your sentence.
Serious felonies are defined in ARS 13-706 and include the following:
- First- or second-degree murder
- Sexual assault
- Aggravated assault causing serious physical injury or involving the use, threatening exhibition, or discharge of a weapon
- Dangerous crime against a child DCAC
- Arson of an occupied building
- First-degree burglary
- Armed robbery
- Child sex trafficking
- Sexual conduct with a child under the age of 15
Can You Restore Your Arizona Gun Rights After You Are Convicted of a Felony Deemed as a Dangerous Felony?
If you are convicted of a felony that is classified as a dangerous felony, you will not be eligible to have your conviction set aside. You will also be permanently ineligible to restore your civil rights, meaning you will never be legally allowed to own, possess, or buy a firearm.
Under ARS 13-105(13), a dangerous felony is a felony in which you used, discharged, or threateningly exhibited a deadly weapon during the course of the crime or when you knowingly and intentionally inflicted serious physical injury on the victim.
Reference Chart for Restoring Gun Rights in Arizona
The following chart is a valuable reference for understanding how to legally restore your gun rights in Arizona:
|A domestic violence or assault misdemeanor conviction||Non-serious felony conviction||Serious felony conviction||Dangerous felony conviction|
|Motion to set aside when the case is completed||Motion to set aside when the case is completed; Motion to restore civil rights two years after the sentence is discharged||Ineligible for set-aside; Apply to restore civil rights after 10 years||Permanent loss of gun rights|
What Happens if You Possess a Firearm Without Restoring Your Rights/Getting a Set-Aside?
If you are a prohibited offender because of any of the above-listed types of convictions and are caught in possession of a firearm, you can be charged with a class 4 felony misconduct with a weapon under ARS 13-3102(A)(4).
If you are convicted, you will face a presumptive prison sentence of 2.5 years and a fine of up to $150,000. The penalties will be more severe if you have previous allegeable felony convictions on your record, however.
Possessing a weapon as a prohibited offender can also subject you to federal charges. If you are convicted of possessing a weapon as a prohibited offender in federal court, you will face up to 10 years in federal prison and a fine.
The potential penalties for possessing a weapon as a prohibited person should make you want to either set aside your conviction or apply to restore your Arizona gun rights instead of risking prosecution under either state or federal law.
How to Apply for a Set Aside or to Restore Your Civil Rights?
If you are granted a set-aside or have your civil rights restored, you will be able to possess and own a firearm without worrying about the potential for a new arrest and charge. Here’s how you can do both.
How to Get a Set Aside
To get a set-aside, follow these steps:
- File a motion to set aside your conviction in the court in which you were convicted.
- Make sure to wait until you have completed your sentence before applying.
- Wait for the court to notify you of its decision or if an objection has been filed.
- If an objection has been filed by the prosecutor, a hearing will be scheduled.
- If the court grants your motion, it will issue a certificate of a second chance and update your record that your conviction has been set aside.
How to Restore Your Civil Rights
To restore your civil rights for a non-serious or severe felony, follow these steps:
- Know when to file your application. If you were convicted of a non-serious felony, you could apply two years after your sentence has been discharged. If you were convicted of a serious felony, you could apply 10 years after your sentence has been discharged.
- File your application with the court in which you were convicted.
- Wait for the court to notify you of its decision or whether an objection has been filed.
- Attend a hearing if the prosecutor has objected.
- If your application is granted, you will be allowed to own or possess firearms.
Talk to the Shah Law Firm to Restore Your Arizona Gun Rights
If you have lost your Arizona gun rights because of a domestic violence misdemeanor or a felony conviction, you should speak to the Shah Law Firm for help with restoring your rights. Call us today to request a consultation at (602) 560-7408.