One of the most common questions that a
criminal defense attorneys is asked is "how will an Order of Protection affect my
gun rights." To answer this question, let's break the answer
into bite size pieces.
What is an Order of Protection?
An Order of Protection (OOP) is a type of restraining order that a court
may issue after finding that two things exist:
- First, the Court must find a domestic relationship between the parties.
This could be a familial relationship, a dating or intimate relationship,
or something as simple as two people being roommates.
- Next the Court must find that some act of domestic violence occurred within
the last year, or that one is likely to occur in the future. Once the
domestic relationship is established, almost any crime against property
or a person can be considered an act of domestic violence. The most common
examples are assault and disorderly conduct.
How Are My Gun Rights Affected?
If the Court finds a credible threat of violence to the plaintiff (the
person seeking the OOP), the Court can order the accused person to turn
their weapons over to law enforcement.
A person served with an OOP has the right to a hearing to contest the order
any time with think the one year period in which the order is valid. If
after a hearing the Court finds a credible threat of violence still exists, the accused
person can be prohibited
under federal law from possessing weapons for up to one year.
The consequences of such a finding can be tragic to individuals who rely
on their ability to make a living. Most commonly affected are police officers
and members of the military.
A Domestic Violence Attorney Can Help
After more than 20 years of practice, I am still dumbfounded by how few
attorneys understanding the implications that OOP's can have on gun
rights. Even past clients who are police officers don't fully understand
how OOP's work, what domestic violence really means under the law,
and the effects that it can have on gun rights.
If you have been charged of a domestic violence offense such as aggravated
assault, kidnapping, or any other serious felony, you need a Phoenix criminal
defense attorney who is qualified both in the courtroom and in the subtleties
of domestic violence law.
Confidential consultations can be scheduled by calling (602) 663-9100. Being convicted of a domestic
violence offense can result not only in the loss of gun rights, but can
also have an impact on custody of family court proceedings, and can result
in the imposition of jail or prison sentences.