Being charged with a DUI can have serious ramifications, and many of those charged are surprised to learn about how their DUI can impact many other areas of their lives, including their Second Amendment rights.
The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution provides American citizens with the right to keep and bear arms. It was ratified back in 1791 and has consistently been one of the most important and talked-about amendments in U.S. history.
In brief, this amendment gives individual citizens the right to own firearms without needing to be involved in the army, police, or other services where firearms are needed. It also allows for individuals to bear and use firearms for lawful purposes, like defending their property.
For many Americans, the Second Amendment holds enormous importance. Many people see it as a sign of the unique freedoms and liberties granted by the U.S. Constitution. However, having a criminal record, including DUI convictions, could harm your 2nd Amendment privileges.
On average, statistics show that well over 1.5 million people are arrested and charged with a DUI each and every year in the U.S. The specifics of the process can vary slightly from state to state and will also vary depending on the conditions and circumstances of each case, but tend to follow the same basic format:
- Arrest: The first step of any DUI is arrest. This is when the police physically stop vehicles, check the state of the drivers with the aid of sobriety tests and their own discretion, and choose to arrest drivers who they believe to be operating a vehicle while under the influence.
- Legal Proceedings: After the arrest, charges are filed and legal proceedings can begin against the individual who has been charged. During this stage, the individual may choose to hire a DUI lawyer to defend themselves and argue their side of the case, potentially getting the charge overturned.
- Penalties: If the individual is found to have been operating a vehicle under the influence, they will have to deal with certain penalties. The penalties for DUIs can vary from state to state and also vary based on the severity of the case. Repeat offenders or those who endanger the lives of others will have harsher penalties, like time in jail and big fines.
It’s also important to note that DUIs don’t only extend to those caught driving a car after drinking alcohol. A DUI charge can also apply to any driver found operating a vehicle while under the influence of cannabis, too. And, with California cannabis laws and laws in other states softening in recent years, the risk of cannabis-related DUIs has risen.
So, how can a DUI conviction have an impact on your Second Amendment rights? Well, this is just one of the so-called “invisible” consequences of DUI charges. It’s not as obvious and visible as something like a fine or jail sentence, but it can still impact your life.
The DUI charge will go on your criminal record, and when it comes to buying guns, store owners have to conduct background checks.
In some states, depending on the type of conviction you have on your record, there’s a risk that you may not be allowed to buy or own certain types of guns. This is particularly true in relation to cannabis-related DUIs, but can also apply to alcohol-related incidents, too.
Again, the specifics will vary from state to state, but if you have multiple DUIs on your record or felony DUI charges in which you endangered lives or caused an accident, you may be prohibited from possessing any firearms or ammunition.
Finding out that your Second Amendment rights have been revoked or reduced after a DUI conviction can be a scary and frustrating experience. But there may be steps you can take to navigate these restrictions or reduce them.
The restoration process may involve seeking expungement of the DUI from your record, or requesting a pardon. DUI lawyers can help you find out more about your options and the paths available to restore your rights, so it’s best to contact a lawyer to learn more.
Many people have been shocked to learn that they’re prohibited from buying or owning guns after getting a DUI, but there should be avenues available to help you. Contact a DUI lawyer to learn about how you can restore your rights.
This article was written by paralegal Douglas Parker of Manshoory Law Group.