NOTE: This article was written in 2019. If you are interested in firearm restrictions on Domestic Violence in Ohio in summer of 2022, you should read about the new federal law that could change these rules significantly by clicking here.
Ohioans convicted of felony or misdemeanor crimes of Domestic Violence face a possible lifetime restriction on the possession, purchase, sale, or transport of firearms.
When you are charged with a Domestic Violence offense, you can expect to spend time in jail until you are brought before a judge. The judge will almost certainly place you under a Temporary Protective Order (TPO), restricting your access to the alleged victim and to any firearms. With regards to guns, you should receive the following notification, in an oral or written statement: “As a result of this order or consent agreement, it may be unlawful for you to possess or purchase a firearm, including a rifle, pistol, or revolver, or ammunition pursuant to federal law under 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(8) for the duration of this order. If you have any questions whether this law makes it illegal for you to possess or purchase a firearm or ammunition, you should consult an attorney.” This prohibition on firearms possession will last for the duration of any Court proceedings related to your Domestic Violence charge.
Upon being charged with Domestic Violence, you will be required to turn over any guns and ammunition to law enforcement. For the duration of your case, you will be subject to a “firearms disability” (that is, you are prohibited from possessing or obtaining firearms). Your weapons will be confiscated even if no guns were used in commission of the offense.
If charges of domestic violence against you are later dismissed, or if you are acquitted of the charges, you should be able to get your guns back.
If you are convicted of the domestic violence charge, the question of whether you will be subject to a lifetime ban on possession, sale, purchase, and transport of firearms remains a point worth arguing about in the Courts. This area of the law is somewhat complicated, and a skilled and experienced attorney will help you resolve your case with the best possible result for you.
It is a good idea to consult an attorney any time you have questions about any Court documents you receive or any charges against you. A lawyer can inform you of any gun rights you may be forfeiting when placed under a TPO or if you plead guilty to or are convicted of a Domestic Violence charge.
Felony Convictions and Firearms Prohibitions
A felony is any serious crime which is punishable with imprisonment for more than one year.
By and large, most Domestic Violence offenses are charged as misdemeanors. However, if you have been convicted of Domestic Violence previously, then you will likely be charged with felony Domestic Violence for any subsequent offenses. Additionally, if you knew the victim was pregnant, you will also likely be charged with a felony.
A felony Domestic Violence conviction, as with any felony conviction, can result in a lifetime ban on the possession, purchase, sale, or transport of any firearms. All felony convictions carry with them firearms disabilities, placing on the defendant restrictions that may continue even after any prison sentence is complete.
Misdemeanor Crimes of Domestic Violence and Firearms Disabilities
While Ohio law does not outline a firearms prohibition against Domestic Violence offenders, the Federal Gun Control Act states that firearms restrictions are to be placed on all those convicted of a felony as well as those convicted of a “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.”
Sometimes, people are confused about how a misdemeanor domestic violence charge can affect their rights to possess guns and ammunition. And it is no wonder. The law on this issues is complex, and different Courts and gun regulatory organizations often demonstrate differing interpretations of the law. On its face the question seems very simple: was the defendant convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence? If yes, then you might think there will be imposed a lifetime ban on the possession, purchase, or transport of firearms and ammunitions. Well, not so fast.
In Ohio, Domestic Violence will be charged for any of the following offenses under ORC 2919.25:
(A) Knowingly causing or attempting to cause physical harm to a family member or household member;
(B) Recklessly causing physical harm to a family or household member;
(C) Threatening to cause physical harm to a family or household member. Note that section (C) indicates that no actual harm was committed against the alleged victim.
Sections (A) and (B) above are generally charged as first-degree misdemeanors (the most serious misdemeanor), and section (C) offenses are charged as fourth-degree misdemeanors.
The Federal Gun Control Act prohibits firearms possession, sale, and transport for those convicted of a felony crime or a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence. A “misdemeanor crime of Domestic Violence” is defined as:
· A misdemeanor under Federal, State, or Tribal Law that
· involves the use or attempted use of physical force or the threatened use of a deadly weapon against a family or household member.
Domestic Violence in Ohio falls within this definition, in sections (A) and (B) of ORC 2919.25.
It is arguable in some DV cases, that a defendant that has only violated section (C) of ORC 2919.25 should not be subject to a firearms disability.
Background Checks, Firearms Purchases, Concealed Carry Licenses Following a Misdemeanor DV Conviction
When undergoing background checks to obtain a firearm or a concealed carry license, you will likely be denied application if you a “misdemeanor domestic violence” on your record. However, if your conviction is a fourth-degree misdemeanor, your application should not be denied. If it is denied, you can make an appeal to the agency denying your application. If that is unsuccessful, you can go through the Courts to assert your rights as a gun owner. In either case, if you would like our assistance guiding you through the process, don’t hesitate to give us a call.
If you are charged with Domestic Violence and are concerned about the affect a conviction will have on your gun ownership rights, the lawyers of Dearie, Fischer & Mathews can help you protect your rights and develop defense strategies to increase your chances of having your charges dismissed or significantly reduced. Our lawyers are familiar with local Courts and can help you understand the strength of your case, and the likelihood of a favorable outcome either in Court or pleading your case with gun regulatory agencies. Our lawyers’ skills and experience will help you navigate the legal process and help you understand the charges against you. During your first visit or phone call, we can do an initial assessment of your case, and give you a good idea of your personalized defense strategy including how much our services will cost.
Give us a call, any time day or night.
In Lebanon, Warren County and Butler County, Ohio call our office.
In Beavercreek, Montgomery County and Greene County, Ohio email us.