A Georgia charge of driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs can have a major impact on your second amendment right to bear arms. If you are a gun owner, your constitutional right to bear arms is likely of great importance to you. A conviction for DUI can have an effect on your rights and could cause you to lose your right to own and carry a gun.
Understanding the effect of a DUI arrest or conviction on your right to own and carry a firearm in the state of Georgia is of great importance to you as a gun owner. If you or someone you care about has been arrested for DUI, an experienced Atlanta DUI attorney can defend your case and protect your constitutional rights.
Gun Rights After a Georgia DUI Conviction
Many gun owners wonder about the effect of a DUI conviction on their right to own and carry a gun. Overall, a misdemeanor DUI conviction is unlikely to strip you of your right to bear arms. However, there are circumstances that can limit your rights or even strip them away altogether.
As part of your probation conditions, a judge may mandate that you not carry or possess firearms during the time you are on supervision. When this is the case, your second amendment rights are effectively suspended. You must follow the rules of the court or face serious consequences.
Fighting your DUI charges to prevent a conviction is one of the best ways to protect your gun rights. With the help of the right Georgia DUI lawyer, you can present a defense tailored to your unique case.
Most Georgia DUI cases are misdemeanor offenses. When this is the case, you typically face penalties ranging from a driver's license suspension to one year in jail. A misdemeanor conviction for DUI does not usually prevent you from owning and carrying a firearm as long as you comply with other applicable gun laws.
Under Georgia law, if a person discharges a firearm while he or she has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or more, he or she violates Georgia firearm laws. When that is the case, discharging the weapon as part of your DUI would likely strip you of your right to carry a gun and strip you of your concealed carry permit.
A DUI conviction, even as a misdemeanor, could mean that you are stripped of your concealed carry permit, or it may fail to get renewed when it comes time.
If a person is instead charged with and convicted of a felony, the consequences as related to your right to possess and carry a gun are much different. Felonies are punished by more than a year in prison and very high fines. Under federal law, a felon loses the right to possess firearms.
A DUI can be a felony after a fourth DUI conviction within a 10 year period. However, only convictions on or after July 1, 2008 count when making this determination. It may also be a felony when a person is labeled a Habitual Violator of Georgia DUI laws. It can also become a felony offense when a person is killed or seriously injured in an accident, or when a child's life is put in danger.
When a person is arrested on DUI charges – often following a DUI conviction – a person is likely to be placed on probation for a period of time. This supervision is overseen by the probation department in most cases, and you may even have a specific probation officer assigned to your case.
One of the common conditions of probation set by a judge is the requirement not to carry or possess a firearm. This requirement can be a part of your sentence. When a judge says you may not carry or possess a firearm, violating that order could land you in jail and could enhance the possible penalties you face.
It is critical that you speak with your experienced Atlanta DUI lawyer in order to understand what your probation conditions require, and what steps you need to take (especially if you are a gun owner).
Defending Your DUI Case
If you are a gun owner, you almost certainly want to protect your right to carry and own a gun. Depending on the nature of your charges, there are different methods and techniques that can be used to attempt to protect your gun rights. These defenses include, but are not limited to:
- Challenging Field Sobriety Tests: Field sobriety tests are not accurate and are often administered incorrectly by Georgia law enforcement.
- BAC Below Legal Limit: If your BAC is below 0.08% (the legal limit), not only can this be a defense against your DUI, but it may also protect you from other gun-related crimes that could significantly influence your second amendment rights in Georgia.
- Right to Carry: If you were arrested for a DUI with a permit, you can present this evidence to the judge to show that you comply with other gun laws and possibly avoid having your concealed carry permit stripped away.
- Avoiding a Felony: In many other cases, you may be charged with a felony DUI or related felony, but after negotiation or suppression of certain evidence, you instead end up with a misdemeanor. A misdemeanor will be much less likely to affect your gun rights.
Having a competent attorney at your side to analyze your unique case and present a defense particular to you is necessary to protect your rights.
Consult an Experienced Atlanta DUI Attorney
If you are facing a DUI charge and are worried about its impact on your second amendment rights, you need to discuss your rights and restrictions with a knowledgeable lawyer. These requirements can be very specific, complex, and hard to follow without excellent legal advice.