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.