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California Gun Ownership After a Domestic Abuse Arrest

Posted by Lynn Gorelick | May 25, 2022 | 0 Comments

A conviction for domestic violence in California can have more serious penalties than a conviction for battery against a stranger. Domestic violence involves violence between people in a close personal relationship. Additional penalties for a DV conviction in California may include restrictions on gun ownership for years. 

If you were charged with domestic violence in California, you may be at risk of losing your firearms that you use for hunting, sport, or personal protection. The consequences of a DV conviction are high and there may be a lot at risk. Talk to an experienced California DV defense attorney about your legal options after accusations of domestic violence. 

California Gun Law Restrictions For Violent Offenses

California has strict restrictions on gun ownership and possession for domestic violence crimes and other violent offenses. Depending on the type of criminal violation, individuals can be prevented from owning or acquiring a firearm for 10 years on up to a lifetime ban. 

Under California Penal Code 29805, a person convicted of certain violent or firearm-related misdemeanors may be prohibited from owning, purchasing, or possessing a firearm within 10 years of the conviction. This includes a conviction for: 

  • Assault
  • Battery
  • Stalking

The penalties under this section include imprisonment for up to a year and a fine of up to $1,000. 

However, under California Penal Code 29805(b), a conviction for domestic battery with corporal injury after January 1, 2019, carries a lifetime firearm ban. This involves willfully inflicting corporal injury resulting in a traumatic condition upon a domestic victim. A domestic victim could include:

  • Spouse or former spouse
  • Person who is a parent of the defendant's child
  • Fiancé or fiancée
  • Current or former engagement or dating relationship
  • Person with whom the defendant is cohabiting or former cohabitant

California Gun Restrictions After an Arrest With No Conviction

In most criminal cases, you can have your day in court before you are subject to criminal penalties. However, in some cases, you could be prevented from owning or purchasing a firearm while there is a protective order in effect after a charge for domestic violence, even if you have not been convicted. California Penal Code 136.2 

Generally, the court will issue a protective order upon good cause belief that a victim or witness of domestic violence will be harmed or intimidated. The court is to consider issuing a protective order where harm or intimidation of a victim or witness has occurred or is reasonably likely to occur. The order can also require the defendant to hand over possession or purchase of any firearm. 

Federal Gun Law for DV Offenses

Gun ownership and possession are already prohibited by federal law for domestic abusers. Under 18 U.S.C. § 922(g), certain people are prohibited from possessing any firearm or ammunition. This includes anyone who has been convicted in any court of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence. However, federal law provides the base level of legal limitations. Other states, including California, can implement additional restrictions on gun ownership for DV charges. 

Contact an East Bay DV Defense Attorney

East Bay attorney Lynn Gorelick has more than 39 years of criminal defense experience and understands the challenges involved in a California domestic violence case. Contact a local criminal defense lawyer who understands defense strategies and plea bargain negotiations.

About the Author

Lynn Gorelick

Lynn Gorelick has been an attorney for over 38 years. She is the Attorney Lynn Gorelick is the Immediate Past President of the California DUI Lawyers Association and a Faculty and Sustaining member of the National College of DUI Defense. Lynn is a Specialist Member of the California DUI Lawyers Association and lectures frequently to other attorneys regarding DUI and DMV issues.


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