Domestic Violence and Firearms

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When you are arrested for any type of Domestic Violence charge in Alabama there are serious ramifications and these may be unknown to you. If you are convicted of domestic violence, either in municipal or district court you may be ordered to pay a fine and court costs. There may be some jail time which will usually be suspended for a period of time and you will be placed on probation. The Court may also order you to attend some type of class or counseling sessions such as anger management or domestic violence classes.

But the unsuspecting person may have collateral consequences lying in wait. There are many attorneys and even some judges who are unaware of a very serious collateral issue with a guilty plea to domestic violence. Are you a hunter? Are you a police officer or want to become a police officer? Do you have a gun in your home? Do you have a pistol permit and carry a gun for personal protection?

Who would believe that a domestic violence charge in one of the many Alabama courts would possibly result in a federal charge? Well here is the rest of the story.

Federal law (18 U.S.C. § 922[g][1-9]) prohibits certain individuals from possessing firearms, ammunition, or explosives. The penalty for violating this law is ten years imprisonment and/or a $250,000 fine. Further,

18 U.S.C. 3565(b)(2) (probation) and 3583(g)(2) (supervised release) makes it mandatory for the Court to revoke supervision for possession of a firearm.

Specifically, 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1-9) prohibits the following from possessing, shipping/transporting, or receiving any firearm or ammunition:

(1) a person convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment exceeding one year;

(2) a person who is a fugitive from justice;

(3) a person who is an unlawful user of or who is addicted to a controlled substance;

(4) a person who has been adjudicated as a mental defective or who has been admitted

to a mental institution;

(5) an alien who is unlawfully in the United States or who has been admitted to the

United States under a nonimmigrant visa;

(6) a person who has been discharged from the Armed Forces under dishonorable


(7) a person who, having been a citizen of the United States, renounces his citizenship;

(8) a person subject to a court order that was issued after a hearing in which the person

participated, which order restrains the person from harassing, stalking, or threatening

an intimate partner or partner’s child, and which order includes a finding that the

person is a credible threat to such partner or partner’s child, or by its terms prohibits

the use, attempted use or threatened use of such force against such partner or

partner’s child;

(9) a person who has been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.

Possession of a firearm may be either actual or constructive. The latter has been defined as follows: “Constructive possession exists when a person knowingly has the power and intention at a given time of exercising dominion and control over the object or over the area in which the object is locate….” (See U.S. v Booth, 111 F.3d 2 [1st Cir. September 1997]).

If you know the firearm is present in your residence, vehicle, etc., and if it can be shown that you have the ability to access and exercise control over that firearm personally or through another individual, then you could be considered to have constructive possession of the firearm. You would then be subject to new criminal charges and/or revocation of supervision. For these reasons, all firearms are to be removed from your residence during the term of supervision.

Pay particular attention to number 9 because if you are convicted of domestic violence this would apply to you. Please call the Law Office of Jeffrey D. Bramer, P.C. now to protect your 2nd amendment rights.

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