Former Prosecutor. Powerful Defense Advocate. Certified in the Area of Criminal Law

California Expungement & Firearms Law

Visalia Expungement Lawyer

Expungement and firearms law is a complex area of law, especially in California. In simplified terms, California law stipulates that:

When a person is convicted of any felony in the state of California, he or she loses the right to possess a firearm for the rest of his or her life. Certain misdemeanors convictions also come with gun restrictions. For example, for a person convicted of the misdemeanor of simple assault (California Penal Code Section 242), that conviction results in a 10-year suspension of his or her right to possess a firearm in the state of California.

Certain felonies can be reduced to misdemeanors by the court. We are able to make this motion along with the expungement motion in many cases.

If the felony is reduced to a misdemeanor that does not itself carry a restriction on firearm possession, a person's right to possess a firearm is restored. In this scenario, the person is no longer a "felon" and therefore cannot be guilty of the crime of being a "felon in possession of a firearm."

Firearm Rights & Expungement in Practice

Below are a few examples that illustrate what can and cannot be done with regard to firearms rights:

  • In 2010, a defendant is convicted of a simple assault (242). He gets an expungement in 2014. He can no longer legally possess a firearm. There is a 10-year ban under California law that does not run out till 2020. Possession of a firearm before that time is a felony, and the defendant can get into serious trouble.
  • Defendant has a conviction for felony assault (245). This is a crime that can be reduced to a misdemeanor by the court. It is possible to reduce the crime from a felony to a misdemeanor and expunge the conviction. The misdemeanor 10-year ban slides into effect as soon as the case is reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor. He cannot legally possess a firearm until 2020. (NOTE: The 10 years run from the time of the original sentence rather than the time of the reduction to a misdemeanor).
  • Defendant has a conviction for commercial burglary (California Penal Code 459). He gets an expungement, but his request to reduce the felony to a misdemeanor was denied. The expungement does not alter the "collateral" consequence of the original felony conviction that the person cannot lawfully possess a gun for the rest of his or her life.
  • Defendant has a conviction for commercial burglary (California Penal Code 459). He gets the case reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor and has it expunged. He can now legally own a firearm because there is no provision barring a person convicted of misdemeanor commercial burglary from possession a firearm, defendant now has his gun rights restored.
  • Defendant is convicted in 2010 for felony domestic violence. In 2014 he gets his conviction reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor. California has the same 10-year ban on possession of a firearm after a domestic violence conviction as after a misdemeanor assault conviction. In 2021, the defendant still cannot own a firearm because there is a United States federal law that says that a person convicted of any crime of domestic violence cannot ever legally possess a firearm ever again. An expungement has no effect on this federal law.

This area of law has several hidden clauses and loopholes. If you are interested in having your firearms rights restored, you should speak with our knowledgeable Visalia expungement attorney so you can take full advantage of court strategies and your legal rights.

For a free consultation to discuss expunging a felony or misdemeanor crime, contact The Law Office of Gregory Hagopian at (559) 377-6627.

Mr. Hagopian Knows What You Are Going Through, and He Is Committed to Getting You Through This Tough Time.

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