Criminal Defense. A big component of our Spokane area criminal defense practice is dedicated to restoring the right to own firearms. Up until a few years ago, the NICS did not recognize restoration of rights for non-felony domestic violence convictions entered in Washington state. With many Domestic Violence (DV) convictions, a person is still prohibited by Washington state law from possessing firearms under RCW 9.41.040 (2)(a)(i).
Domestic Violence. The Domestic Violence convictions that prohibit possession of firearms under Washington state law are the following crimes when committed by one family or household member against another, after July 1, 1993: Assault in the fourth degree, coercion, stalking, reckless endangerment, criminal trespass in the first degree, or violation of the provisions of a protection order or no-contact order restraining the person or excluding the person from a residence.
Convictions That Prohibit Firearms. Convictions for a felony offense require five or more consecutive years in the community without being convicted (or found not guilty by reason of insanity) or charged with any felony, gross misdemeanor, or misdemeanor crimes and no prior felony convictions that prohibit the possession of a firearm counted as part of the offender score under RCW 9.94A.525. Therefore, in the case of subsequent felony convictions, convictions must be “washed out” and no longer counted as part of a person’s offender score. The five years starts from the date of sentencing or when released from jail or prison.
(B) If the conviction was for a non-felony offense, you will be eligible after three or more consecutive years in the community without being convicted or currently charged with any felony, gross misdemeanor, or misdemeanor crimes. RCW 9.41.040 requires that there not be subsequent felony convictions that prohibit the possession of a firearm counted as part of the offender score under RCW 9.94A.525 and the individual must have completed all the conditions of his or her sentence.
An individual may petition a court of record to have his or her right to possess a firearm restored only at:
(i) The court of record that ordered the petitioner’s prohibition on possession of a firearm; or
(ii) The superior court in the county in which the petitioner resides.
Experience Counts. There is a great deal of safety in relying on the advice of an experienced attorney. We can restore your rights in most cases provided that there is not a Class A felony- such as kidnapping- and provided that the prior conviction was not for a sex offense. Your attorney needs to focus in the area of firearms rights in order to understand the complexities and conflicts between the various laws and jurisdictions.
Get Your Criminal Defense Team in Place. We are often able to handle criminal defense matters in such a way as to avoid convictions that prohibit the use of firearms. For example, Reckless Endangerment charges may be interpreted as a DV conviction under Washington state laws if your child or wife is in your vehicle and you are deemed to have endangered the passengers within your vehicle.
Keep in mind that federal definitions of domestic violence are different than the list of DV convictions that prohibit possession of firearms under Washington’ state law as set forth above.
Need a Private Investigator on Your Defense Team? Our Spokane area law firm handles many criminal defense matters, including DUI, assault, domestic violence and weapons charges and self-defense cases. We will get the important facts and then quote a reasonable flat-fee retainer. That way, you have a good idea of the cost when we begin the representation. A good investigator can make a big difference when you are dealing with self-defense issues. If we need to hire an investigator or incur other expenses in your case, we will discuss the additional expense at the earliest point possible so that you can decide whether the increased cost is in your interest.
Self-Defense is an Affirmative Defense. We had one case where a client shot and seriously wounded a guest in his home with a rifle. The guest had consumed a great deal of alcohol and would not stop beating the client. We convinced the prosecutor not to file charges. The arraignment was scheduled for the next day when we provided a written statement. We prepared our statement with the help of a former police officer who only had time to read some reports and talk to the client. The defense team was not able to investigate as deeply as we wanted but the statement apparently caused the prosecutor’s office to start asking the witnesses some of the right questions! The case never went to court because we asserted a strong affirmative defense- self-defense.
Act Quickly. Our criminal defense team was able to act quickly to communicate with the prosecutor! We are ready to represent you. And if you are preparing to enter a plea agreement and have any question about how the plea will impact your right to possess firearms, we can conduct a consultation in person or on the phone.