Many different convictions in Pennsylvania will affect your ability to purchase, own, and possess firearms. Most people when they are facing criminal charges are worried about the immediate consequences such as how much is this going to cost me, how long will I have to go to jail, or how long will I be on supervision. Not everyone thinks about the secondary effects of a criminal conviction such a will this conviction affect my immigration status, does this conviction have a license suspension, or will this conviction affect my right to purchase, own, or possess firearms. These secondary consequences are called collateral consequences and not every attorney will be aware of them or know how your particular case will be affected by them.
If you are a hunter, gun collector, or even just enjoy going out to the range every now and then; a conviction in Pennsylvania even to some misdemeanor offenses can result in a lifetime ban on your gun rights. Pennsylvania statute 18 Pa CSA 6105 goes through the offenses that would result in losing your gun rights and that list is long. Some of the Offenses included are: felony offenses all the way down to a drug conviction in which the sentence could have been longer than two years, even Driving Under the Influence (DUI) convictions, if you have convicted of three or more within a five year period. Also included are individuals with active Protection From Abuse (PFA) orders and numerous Juvenile convictions.
So far I have only discussed the Pennsylvania restrictions; there are also Federal restrictions on your gun rights when you have been convicted. The Federal Firearms Act states any crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year will not be allowed to purchase, own, or possess firearms. For crimes in Pennsylvania this means all felonies and misdemeanors of the first degree. However even if you did not receive a sentence where the maximum punishment was over two years does not mean that you were not subject to a possible sentence of incarceration exceeding one year. Meaning that your gun rights depend on what you could have been sentenced to in Pennsylvania not what you were actually sentenced to.
Do not be surprised when it comes to a collateral consequence of a criminal conviction. Especially when it is dealing with your gun rights, losing your gun rights can be devastating if you are required to carry for your employment, or even if you just enjoy hunting or target shooting. Going into a case without the right representation can have disastrous consequences beyond the immediate penalties of jail, supervision, or fines.
It is extremely important to contact an experienced law firm right away if you or someone you know is facing criminal charges in Pennsylvania. If you, your son, daughter, or loved one in Pennsylvania has been arrested for a crime in state or federal court in Pennsylvania you need legal representation. Here at Manchester and Associates, we represent people across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. For a free consultation we can be contacted at 1-800-243-4878.