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Two Ways To Avoid Losing Firearm Privileges When Facing Domestic Violence Charges

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Although the Second Amendment affords people the right to own firearms, there are several ways people can lose that right. One way is being convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence charges. A 1996 amendment to the Gun Control Act makes it illegal for anyone with a domestic violence conviction to own or be in possession of a gun or ammunition. However, there are a couple of ways you can avoid being subjected to this provision. Here's more information about these options.

Opt for a diversion program

Possibly the best way to handle this situation is to avoid being convicted of the charges. This can be challenging if the prosecutor has enough evidence against you to win his or her case. It may still be possible to get from underneath the charges, though, by entering a domestic violence diversion program.

Though each state may have a different name for it, a domestic violence diversion program lets a person avoid being convicted of the charge by performing specific type of sentence for a period of time. For instance, you may be sentenced to take anger management classes and be on probation for a year. Upon completion of the program, the prosecutor will drop the charges against you, and you'll be able to maintain your Second Amendment rights.

Be aware, though, you must plead guilty to the charge as one of the qualifications for entering the program. This is so the prosecutor can move forward and convict you of the crime if you fail to complete the diversion program as agreed.

There are usually other eligibility requirements to enter this program. In Michigan, for instance, you cannot have a previous conviction for assault, and this must your first domestic violence offense. It's best to research the program in your state to determine if you qualify.

Plea bargain for different charges

The other option for avoiding a conviction is to plea bargain with the prosecutor to be charged with a different crime (e.g. assault and battery instead of domestic violence). The availability of this option will depend on the circumstances of your case. If it is your first offense, the prosecutor may be more willing to negotiate than if it were your second or third offense, for example.

Additionally, you may be required to plead guilty to that alternate charge. A conviction of any type can have a negative impact on your life, so you want to make sure you're prepared to accept the consequences associated with the charge you're pleading to.

For more information, contact a criminal defense attorney in your area.