A DUI conviction can have a domino effect on an individual’s life. For example, insurance rates could increase depending on the type of offense, a person may face hefty fines, and a person could even face jail time. The individual convicted of a DUI may also have to participate in community service, court-appointed substance abuse programs, and driver improvement programs.
Individuals convicted of more than two DUIs lose the right to own a firearm. In Louisiana, first and second DUI offenses are considered misdemeanors. Misdemeanors in Louisiana do not prohibit individuals from owning a gun, as long as the offense is not a domestic violence offense. A third and fourth DUI offense, however, would be considered a felony. Under Louisiana and federal law, those convicted of a felony cannot legally own a gun.
A DUI Felony Affects Your Right to Own a Firearm in Louisiana
Federal law states that anyone convicted of a felony in state or federal court, resulting in a maximum punishment of more than one year in prison, cannot legally possess a firearm. If you are convicted of a DUI more than two times in a Louisiana court, you will be unable to possess any firearm legally. Under Louisiana law, there are two types of individuals who cannot own a gun:
- Individuals convicted of a domestic violence offense (even a misdemeanor)
- Individuals convicted of felonies
In Louisiana, a DUI felony conviction results in suspension of gun possession rights while on probation or parole. Additionally, the suspension will extend an additional ten years after completion of sentencing, parole, probation, or deferral of a sentence.
Penalties for Possessing a Gun as a Felon in Louisiana
As stated above, those convicted of a felony in Louisiana cannot legally possess a firearm for at least ten years after sentence completion. Carrying a gun as a convicted felon is a dangerous risk to take. Penalties for carrying a gun as a felon or during the minimum ten-year suspension include at least ten years in prison and a maximum of twenty years. In addition to prison time, there is a minimum fine of $1,000 and a maximum fine of $5,000. Convicted felons need to steer clear of guns, even in their own homes, to avoid facing these penalties.
Can You Restore Your Right to Own a Gun in Louisiana?
Under federal law, it is theoretically possible to restore an individual’s right to possess a firearm; however, federal law gives jurisdiction to the body of law that convicted the individual. This means Louisiana law decides whether someone can have their firearm rights restored. Should Louisiana grant someone their right to possess a firearm, the federal government cannot prosecute them for being a felon in possession of a gun.
After an individual’s additional ten-year suspension, it is no longer considered a criminal offense to possess a gun under Louisiana law. Unfortunately, the end of the suspension period does not automatically restore the right to own a firearm. It simply means a previous felon cannot get in trouble under Louisiana law for possessing the firearm. Unless the right to possess a gun is explicitly restored, an individual can still be punished under federal law.
An individual can restore their gun rights under Louisiana and state law after completion of sentencing and must meet the following conditions:
- The conviction was not a crime of violence
- The ten-year suspension period has passed
- The conviction is expunged
The best approach to restoring gun rights in Louisiana is to receive a governor’s pardon. This pardon expressly restores all rights and returns the individual to their position before they were convicted. The convicted individual must apply to the Louisiana Board of Pardons and Parole to receive a governor’s pardon.
Contact the Louisiana Criminal Defense Lawyers at John D. & Eric G. Johnson Law Firm
Under Louisiana law, convicted felons may restore their Second Amendment rights to own a firearm. An experienced criminal defense lawyer in Louisiana knows and understands the legal process of restoring your rights. At John D. & Eric G. Johnson Law Firm, our legal team is highly experienced in criminal defense cases.
Our firm dedicates itself to defending and upholding the rights of all our clients, regardless of the charges they face. Attorney Eric G. Johnson and his skilled staff have the knowledge and experience to provide the best representation for their clients. For a free consultation, you can fill out our online contact form or call (318) 377-1555.