If you have a conviction for driving while intoxicated, you may wonder, “Will a DUI make me fail a background check for a gun?” The short answer is “maybe,” but it depends on two things: the class of the DUI (e.g., a felony or misdemeanor) and whether a judge gave you your gun rights back. Felonies are most likely to prevent someone from being able to buy a gun, while misdemeanors are less likely to do so. But if you have a felony DUI conviction on your record, it may not signal the end of your gun rights forever. Washington law may empower you to get your state gun rights back by asking the court for permission if you meet the requirements.
At Veitch Ault Defense, we understand how impactful a DUI conviction can be. We leverage our extensive experience and training to help people in King Court, Bellevue, Pierce County, and elsewhere throughout Washington State defend themselves against criminal charges. A Washington DUI attorney on our team stands ready to help you fight against DUI charges, so you can keep your rights and get your life back.
Will a DUI Make You Fail a Background Check for a Gun in Washington State?
Some DUI convictions can make you fail a background check, but not every charge for driving under the influence is the same. If the judge classified your DUI as a felony, it may impact your ability to buy, use, own, or possess a gun in Washington State. But DUIs can be a misdemeanor or a felony. Misdemeanors typically have less severe penalties than felonies and don’t always impact your rights in the same way. But having multiple misdemeanor DUIs on your record can mean that the government upgrades future DUIs to felonies.
Felony convictions are usually quite impactful on someone’s rights. They can affect your ability to vote, get a job, buy or possess a gun, and participate in other aspects of day-to-day life. If you have a felony conviction for a DUI, it may show up on a background check when you try to buy a gun, get a FOID card, or apply for a concealed carry license. This can prevent you from engaging in those activities.
The good news is that you may be able to ask the court to restore your state gun rights under Washington law. You may be eligible to do this if you have gone five years in a row without being convicted of a misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor, or felony. Additionally, you must not have been sentenced to 20 years or more in jail for an offense or have a pending misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor, or felony charge when you apply to get your gun rights back. It’s also important to remember that people have both state and federal gun rights. So, while you may be able to get your state gun rights back, you may have to take extra steps to get your federal gun rights back after getting a felony DUI.
What Are the Restrictions on Firearm Possession for DUI Offenders?
DUI offenders may have their state and federal gun rights limited or taken away if they are facing or were found guilty of a felony DUI. Washington law doesn’t allow people to own, use, or possess firearms while they are under the direction of the Department of Corrections. This includes jail time, parole, probation, and other methods of supervision. So, if you were arrested for a felony DUI and are under court supervision, a condition of your release may be that you forfeit your guns.
Further, having a felony DUI on your record may prevent you from buying, owning, possessing, or using a gun. While this area of the law frequently changes, owning a firearm refers to having one in your possession and control. In other words, it is yours. Possessing a gun includes having access to one, even temporarily. For example, if you are in a friend’s car, and they have a gun in the glove compartment, this may count as possession in some situations. If you have a felony DUI on your record or are being charged with a felony DUI, it’s essential for you to understand your rights. If the cops catch you with a gun you’re not supposed to have, they might charge you with unlawful possession, which may result in another felony on your record. As you might expect, this can also delay your ability to exercise your Second Amendment rights.
Can a DUI Conviction Result in the Permanent Loss of Gun Rights?
Many people want to understand the relationship between a DUI and Second Amendment rights. In short, it’s possible for a DUI to result in the permanent loss of gun rights. This might happen if the person has a felony DUI on their record and the court refuses to restore their gun rights through the proper legal process. A court might do this because the person has other felonies on their record or is currently being charged with a crime, even if they haven’t been convicted yet.
On their own, misdemeanor and gross misdemeanor DUI convictions aren’t likely to impact someone’s ability to buy, own, use, or possess a gun. But a felony DUI conviction can potentially result in the permanent loss of gun rights. That’s why it’s so important to hire a DUI attorney who has the knowledge and success rate to help keep the prosecution at bay.
Can You Still Own or Purchase a Gun After Getting a DUI?
You may be able to purchase a gun after getting a DUI if it is a gross misdemeanor or misdemeanor DUI. But a felony DUI likely prevents you from buying a gun for a time. You can ask the court to get your gun rights back if you meet the eligibility requirements (such as having a clean record for five years straight). Once you get your gun rights back, you may be able to purchase or own a gun, even if a DUI pops up on your background check.
How Long Does a DUI Show Up on a Background Check for a Gun in Washington State?
If you fail a background check when trying to buy a gun in Washington, you may not be able to purchase or own a firearm. It depends on the circumstances. A felony DUI stays on your record indefinitely and can appear on your background check when you try to buy a gun. But that doesn’t automatically mean you can’t buy or own a gun ever again.
If the felony DUI keeps you from passing a background check, you’ll have to restore your gun rights before getting a firearm. Until you get this permission from the court, you’re likely unable to buy, own, or possess guns in Washington State for however long you have a felony DUI on your record. What’s more, even if you get your state gun rights back, you may still need to restore your gun rights under federal law. If you have any questions about your federal and state rights, it may be best to talk to a gun rights attorney.
Veitch Ault Defense – Experienced DUI Defense Attorneys You Can Trust
Veitch Ault Defense has nearly 20 years of experience fighting for people who are charged with crimes such as driving while intoxicated, assault, domestic violence, burglary, and kidnapping. Our firm has played a key role in advancing the rights of those accused of crimes. For example, our tireless advocacy led to the suppression of hundreds of breathalyzer results throughout Washington State.
When Robert J. Ault began his law career, he worked for the King County Prosecutor’s office. After leaving law school, he chose to fight the good fight on behalf of people charged with crimes in Washington. But he leverages his knowledge and experience as a prosecutor to help defend the rights of the accused in criminal cases. If you’re facing a DUI charge, contact a King County DUI attorney by calling 425-312-6753 to schedule a consultation today.