The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article I, Section 30 of the North Carolina State Constitution both state that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” These rights are generally afforded to law-abiding citizens, and people convicted of certain criminal offenses forfeit such rights.
State law specifically prohibits convicted felons and people subject to protective orders in domestic violence cases from possessing firearms. If a member of either group has a firearm in his possession, he could be arrested and face felony charges.
If you are facing criminal charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm or possessing a firearm while you were subject to a domestic violence protective order, it is in our best interest to immediately seek legal counsel. Coolidge Law Firm fights to protect the rights of clients all over the greater Raleigh area.
Our Wake County illegal firearm possession attorneys represent alleged offenders in such communities as Rolesville, Wendell, Morrisville, Holly Springs, Wake Forest, and Cary. Let us review your case to see how we can help you by calling (919) 239-8448 right now to schedule a free, confidential consultation.
Under North Carolina General Statute § 14-415.1, it is a Class G felony for any person who has been convicted of a felony to purchase, own, possess, or have in his custody, care, or control any firearm or any weapon of mass death and destruction. A weapon of mass death and destruction is defined under state law as being:
A convicted felon may be able to petition for restoration of his firearms rights if he is a resident of North Carolina and has been a resident for one year or longer, he has only one felony conviction and that conviction is for a nonviolent felony, his rights of citizenship have been restored pursuant to the laws of the jurisdiction where the conviction occurred for a period of at least 20 years before the date of the filing of the petition, he has not been convicted of any misdemeanor since the nonviolent felony conviction, and he submits his fingerprints to the sheriff of the county in which he resides.
Certain disqualifiers will result in the court denying the petition to restore the firearms rights though. These disqualifiers include any one of the following:
North Carolina General Statute § 50B-3(11) states that if a court finds that an act of domestic violence has occurred, the court can grant a protective order that prohibits a party from purchasing a firearm for a time fixed in the order. Furthermore, an alleged offender in a domestic violence case can be required under North Carolina General Statute § 50B-3.1(a) to surrender to the sheriff all of the following that are in the care, custody, possession, ownership, or control of the alleged offender:
North Carolina General Statute § 14-269.8 makes it a Class H felony for any person to possess, purchase, or receive or attempt to possess, purchase, or receive a firearm, machine gun, ammunition, or permits to purchase or carry concealed firearms while any court-ordered protective order or any successive protective order entered against that person is in effect.
North Carolina utilizes a complicated “structured sentencing” system to determine punishment options for alleged offenders. With felony offenses, every offender is assigned one of six Prior Record Level scores.
The judge matches the Prior Record Level with the offense class and may have the option of choosing one of three types of sentences. A community punishment involves a term of supervised or unsupervised probation, an intermediate punishment involves a combination of probation and some other requirement such as a treatment program, and an active punishment involves incarceration in the state prison system.
There will also be three different length of sentence ranges listed on the chart: an aggravated range, a presumptive range, and a mitigated range. If a person has been charged with the Class G felony offense of possession of a firearm by felon, the possible sentence ranges include: NOTE: With all felony sentences under structured sentencing the initial term assigned is the minimum term that someone would serve, then an additional 9 months is added to that amount to determine the maximum sentence. For example, as shown below, the initial term for a Class G felony conviction can be between 8 and 16 months. If the judge chooses assigns the initial amount as 8 months, then the sentence would be 8 to 17 months. If the convicted person behaves in prison, he would be released after 8 months and be subject to 9 months of post-supervision release.
When a person has been charged with the Class H felony offense of possession of a firearm by a person subject to a protective order, the possible sentence ranges include:
The Felony Firearms Act — This is the full text of the legislation first passed by the North Carolina General Assembly in 1971. It has been amended multiple times since then—and even has five sections already reserved for “future codification purposes.” You can ready about who is prohibited from possessing firearms under state law as well as how firearm rights are restored.
Petition and Order for Restoration of Firearm Rights — This is the form that must be completed by any convicted felon petitioning the district court in his county of residence to have his firearms rights restored. It is in your best interest to consult an attorney before submitting any petition. You may also want to consider sealing or expunging your record first if you were convicted of an eligible non-violent felony offense.
Are you a convicted felon or were you subject to a protective order when you were charged with unlawful possession of a firearm? Do not delay in seeking legal representation for help protecting your rights.
Coolidge Law Firm aggressively defends clients throughout Raleigh against all types of firearms offenses, including such surrounding areas as Zebulon, Knightdale, Fuquay-Varina, Garner, and Apex. Our Wake County criminal defense attorneys can provide a complete evaluation of your case as soon as you call (919) 239-8448 to take advantage of a completely free initial consultation.