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A criminal conviction could permanently limit your right to own a gun

If you’ve been charged with a crime, you may be eager to take what seems like a golden opportunity: A plea deal with probation instead of jail.

Unfortunately, a plea deal’s long-term consequences may be somewhat unexpected because most people don’t realize that a plea deal is treated the same as a conviction. For example, you can end up barred from owning a firearm forever over a felony and even some misdemeanors.

Laws that prohibit convicted felons from possessing guns

The 1968 Gun Control Act permanently prohibits felons from possessing firearms. This federal law applies to anyone convicted of a felony offense, no matter the U.S. jurisdiction or whether the crime involved violence or not. Anyone convicted of such an offense faces a year or more in prison. South Dakota has a concurrent state law to this effect.

Gun possession bans on those convicted of misdemeanors

Felons aren’t the only ones prohibited from owning a gun. No one subject to a domestic violence protective order can possess a gun. It’s unlawful for almost anyone convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence, battery, simple assault charges or any other criminal offense involving physical force to own a firearm as well. 

Exceptions to laws banning firearms possession

Someone with a felony or violent misdemeanor on their record may be able to regain their ability to possess a gun. A convicted defendant must have their record expunged or receive a pardon where there’s a restoration of their civil rights to do so, though. 

Naturally, a conviction can also affect you in numerous other ways. It can limit your job opportunities, prevent you from accessing certain types of housing, stop you from pursuing a professional career and more. If you’re facing criminal charges here in South Dakota, talk to an experienced defense attorney right away.