Statistics suggest that roughly 1 in 3 Minnesotans own a firearm and roughly 1 in 7 have a DUI on their record, so by that math, roughly 1 in 21 Minnesotans would have a DUI on their record and own a firearm. However, does a DUI exclude you from being able to legally obtain and possess a firearm? We explain how a DUI can affect you gun possession rights in Minnesota, and what you should do if you want to ensure you can keep your firearms in the event you are charged with driving under the influence.
DUI And Gun Rights
Under federal law, firearms purchasers must pass a background check in order to be able to buy a gun. So would a DUI be something that shows up on a background check that would disqualify you from owning or buying a weapon? The answer is – it depends.
It depends on a number of factors, but for the most part, a run-of-the-mill DUI charge will not result in the loss of your ability to possess a firearm. To get a better understanding of how this all works, let’s take a look at the criteria for which a person can lose their rights to possess a firearm. You can lose the ability to possess a firearm if:
- You are convicted of a crime of violence.
- You have been convicted of certain drug related charges as defined in Chapter 152.
- You’ve been declared mentally unfit to possess a weapon.
- You are an undocumented immigrant.
- You have been convicted of a criminal offense that carries a punishment of a year or more in prison.
The last point is the one that can affect DUI offenders. Because a first-degree DWI can lead to a sentence of up to seven years in prison, you can absolutely lose your gun rights upon conviction, but a first-degree DUI typically involves multiple previous DUI convictions, so you won’t get hit with this charge for your first DUI. In some cases, a second-degree DUI can affect your ability to possess a firearm, but these cases typically involve previous convictions, aggravating factors and BAC refusals, so again, it’s very unlikely that you’d be hit with this charge for your first offense.
Even if you face a severe DUI charge, it doesn’t automatically mean your gun rights are forfeited. You or your lawyer can petition to have your gun rights restored, or you may be able to reach a plea deal that sees you plead guilty to a lesser charge so you can hang on to your firearms.
Either way, your best bet if your gun rights are on the line is to speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer like Avery Appelman. He can fight for your rights and do everything in his power to ensure you can continue to legally abide by the Second Amendment. He can also help to get your DUI charges reduced or dropped! For more information, or to set up a consultation with his firm, give his team a call today at (952) 224-2277.