One of the major consequences of a felony conviction in Virginia is the loss of many of your civil rights. Along with losing the right to vote and the right to run for public office, you also lose the right to own a firearm.
However, just because you’ve lost these rights doesn’t mean they are gone forever. Virginia has put procedures in place to help those convicted of felonies have their rights restored, including their gun rights. Getting these rights restored is not easy, though, and you’ll want help from a skilled lawyer.
The attorneys at Shannon & Associates, P.C. have the knowledge and experience to help make restoring your gun rights as easy and quick as possible. For more information on having your gun rights restored, keep reading or contact our office.
Consequences of a Felony Conviction in Virginia
Being convicted of a felony carries many serious potential consequences. These include:
- Possible jail time
- Possible fines
- Possibly having to register as a sexual offender
- Losing the right to vote
- Losing the right to run for public office
- Losing the right to serve on a jury
- Losing the right to serve as a notary public
- Losing the right to own firearms
In addition to these legal penalties, being convicted of a felony often carries a severe social stigma as well. A felony conviction could prevent you from finding a job, make it harder to obtain credit for a home or car, or have other harmful effects.
Can I Still Own Guns?
The short answer to this question is no, you can’t own guns after being convicted of a felony. The longer answer is that while being convicted of a felony will cost you your right to own a gun, you may be able to have your gun rights and other civil rights restored. The process of seeking restoration for these rights can be lengthy and complicated, so we recommend you seek help from an experienced attorney.
Restoration of Rights in Virginia
Before you can have your gun rights restored, you first need to have your other civil rights restored. Under the Virginia Constitution, only the governor has the power to restore your civil rights, not including firearm rights.
You can apply to have your civil rights restored by visiting the website for the Secretary of the Commonwealth. Once you’ve submitted your application, the Secretary’s office will take your case to the governor, who will then make the final decision on whether or not to restore your civil rights. The governor and the office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth may also seek guidance from the state Department of Corrections on whether or not to grant your application.
Once your other civil rights have been restored, you can seek to have your gun rights restored. However, you can only ask the state to restore your gun rights if you were convicted under state law in Virginia court. If you were convicted in federal court or a court in another state, you must petition the appropriate court of conviction.
Assuming you’re eligible to have your gun rights restored, your next step is to file an application with the circuit court in which you were convicted. The procedure to do this can vary from court to court, and some judges are more strict than others.
There are certain crimes that may make it much harder for you to restore your gun rights, such as domestic violence, other violent crimes, and sex crimes. But if you were convicted of a nonviolent felony, you have a chance to have your gun rights restored.
How a Lawyer Could Help
There are many ways a lawyer can help you have your gun rights restored, such as by:
- Making sure you meet the eligibility requirements
- Helping you with your initial application to the governor to have your other civil rights restored
- Finding the right circuit court to contact after having your other civil rights restored
- Assisting you with your application to the circuit court
A Virginia felony lawyer can leverage their knowledge and training to help you build a persuasive case for having your right to own a firearm restored.
Contact Shannon & Associates, P.C.
The Virginia felony criminal defense lawyers at Shannon & Associates, P.C. have extensive experience helping people reclaim their gun rights after being convicted of a felony. There are many reasons why someone could have been convicted of a felony, and not all felons deserve to go without their fundamental rights. For more information on our services, contact our office or call us at (757) 228-5529.