Restoration of Rights

Although in Washington you have the right to have a court restore your right to possess firearms if you have a conviction for a domestic-violence misdemeanor, federal law authorities do not recognize such a court order. Thus, an individual could be in a position where his possession of firearms does not violate Washington state law, but does violate our federal law, a real conundrum for some folks. This is so because the federal definition of ‘misdemeanor crime of domestic violence’ is much narrower than the definition appearing under Washington law.

A critical difference between the Washington and federal laws on domestic violence is the nature of the relationship between the offender and the crime victim. The federal definition is much narrower. Under federal law, an offense is categorized as a ‘misdemeanor crime of domestic violence’ if the offender and victim are related as spouses, parent and child, guardian and ward, cohabitants, or people who have a child in common. Under Washington law, the category includes people in a ‘dating relationship,’ siblings, roommates, and others. Thus, a brother-against-brother assault is a DV offense under Washington law, but not under federal law.

Curiously, under the above circumstance the person convicted of a brother-against-brother misdemeanor assault will lose his gun rights under Washington law, but if he obtains an order from a Washington court that restores his firearm rights, he will face no problem with federal authorities. So in certain delineated circumstances a person may be entitled to restore his firearm rights even though State and Federal laws do not mirror one another.

Additionally, federal authorities will almost always recognize a restoration of Washington rights which were lost due to a felony (not misdemeanor) conviction. Thus, a person convicted of a more serious offense has an advantage over someone convicted of a less serious offense. That seems backwards and illogical, but is what it is. In short, you are more likely to regain your right to possess a firearm if you are convicted of a felony, not a misdemeanor.

If you or a loved one is charged with a crime in Seattle or anywhere else in greater western Washington, it is imperative that you seek the assistance of a qualified and reputable Seattle criminal defense attorney. The Seattle criminal attorneys that make up the criminal defense team of SQ Attorneys are highly qualified and reputable Seattle criminal defense lawyers that are dedicated to providing top notch, aggressive representation for those cited for unlawful offenses all across Western Washington and the Greater Puget Sound region. The team creates success by working with law enforcement and the prosecuting attorney’s office to ensure that all facts and circumstances related to the allegations are considered in creating the fairest, most equitable and just resolution possible in light of all the surrounding circumstances of the given case.

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