This is the third post in our series on how Arkansas defendants may be able to retain their firearm rights after having been charged with a crime. Our last post discussed how a defendant may maintain their gun rights by defending against the allegations and gaining a dismissal or acquittal. It is important to understand that one will lose their right to bear arms after a conviction and not just from simply being charged. In this post we will discuss the possibility of one retaining their gun rights through a plea agreement. If you are considering entering a guilty plea, and you are concerned about your firearm privileges, then you should contact an attorney immediately.
As we discussed in our last post, one will lose their firearm rights after being convicted of either a felony or domestic violence. This is due to state law as well as the Federal provisions of USC 922(g). Again, a conviction is required for one to lose their ability to possess a gun. This, in other words, means that if one’s final conviction is for an offense other than a felony or misdemeanor domestic violence then they will still be allowed to own a gun. Many people resolve charges through a plea agreement in which the final conviction entered into the Court’s record is for a lesser offense. Such agreements are a way to maintain one’s gun rights.
It is common for a defendant to enter a plea agreement in which adjudication is deferred and a lesser conviction is entered upon completion of probation. As an example, a defendant may be charged with a felony and enter a plea of guilty under such an agreement. The Court, however, would not make the felony conviction an official part of the Court record. The defendant would complete informal probation, along with additional requirements, and have a return Court date. If the defendant has completed all of their requirements by that return Court date then the Judge will enter a misdemeanor conviction into the record. Under such a situation the defendant would be entitled to keep their firearm rights.
It is important that accused persons contact a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible after charges are filed. The type of plea agreement available may hinge on the attorney’s ability to raise particular issues (such as those related to search and seizure) and to discuss the matter with the prosecutors. Our attorneys have over twenty-five years of combined experience and we take each and every case seriously. Contact our Little Rock office today to schedule an initial consultation. We also handle matters in Fort Smith, Fayetteville, Springdale, Jonesboro, North Little Rock, Conway, Rogers, Pine Bluff, and throughout the rest of Arkansas.