Criminal, statutes in Texas and nationwide have long included specific provisions to address domestic violence offenses. Early statutes were only able to protect spouses from the alleged abuse, but the laws have developed in a way that now includes cohabitating parents, and even dating partners who do not live together and share no children. The recent expansion of the definition of domestic violence under federal law to include “dating violence” may affect the civil rights of Texans who have been accused of domestic violence offenses. More specifically, a conviction may mean that you are prevented from legally owning a gun, despite your Second Amendment rights.
The Second Amendment to the U.S. The Constitution protects the rights of Americans to keep and bear arms. Although many challenges to the Second Amendment have failed over the years, the U.S. The Supreme Court has ruled that the federal government can restrict people who have been convicted of a domestic violence offense from owning firearms. Congress passed such a law in 1968, and it has been used to keep firearms out of the hands of those who have committed domestic violence. Over the years, courts have upheld this restriction on gun ownership, finding that it is a reasonable interpretation of the Second Amendment.
As the definition of domestic violence has expanded under both Texas and Federal law, the application of the federal law restricting gun ownership has become broader. Cases that in the past would not have qualified for a firearm restriction are now serving as the basis of a restriction. The federal law that restricts gun ownership is applied automatically to any person convicted of a state-level domestic violence offense or who is subject to a domestic violence-related protective order.
Although a DV conviction automatically triggers a firearm ownership ban, Texans accused of domestic violence charges can still avoid firearm ownership restrictions with the right legal strategy. Even if domestic violence charges are pursued by law enforcement and prosecutors, it is possible for plea negotiations to lead to a resolution that permits a defendant to continue to own and use firearms. Furthermore, an accused domestic violence offender who is acquitted of charges against them will not have their firearm rights affected.
Challenging Domestic Violence Accusations
Texans accused of domestic violence offenses can face serious consequences from the accusations. Even reduced charges or diversion/probation agreements can affect the civil rights of a defendant. If you or someone you know is facing domestic violence accusations, it is possible to fight the charges and protect your constitutional right to bear arms. The experienced defense attorneys with Guest and Gray have helped hundreds of clients fight the charges against them and protect their constitutional rights. If you’ve been accused of a crime, give us a call to talk about your case. Contact our offices at 972-564-4644 and schedule a free consultation today. Reaching out to one of our Forney criminal defense attorneys may save your Second Amendment rights, not to mention all the other consequences that follow in the wake of a criminal conviction.