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Consult fee policy for restoration consults after domestic violence convictions.

New consult fee policy for domestic violence convictions:

As of January 2021, if an individual has been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence, I will charge a $250 consultation fee to discuss the status of their gun rights. The conversation will always end the same: I cannot restore gun rights after a domestic violence conviction. A more detailed description is provided below.

Why the new policy:

As of the writing of this post, the majority of my practice involves restoration of gun rights. On several pages throughout my website, I describe the criteria for having gun rights restored, and I also describe what will disqualify someone from having their rights restored. One of those disqualifying factors is a "misdemeanor crime of domestic violence," which includes Assault & Battery of a Family Member of Household Member, as well as several other misdemeanors against certain family members or intimate partners.

Even though my website provides clear descriptions of these disqualifying factors, I receive multiple calls each week from individuals who want to have their gun rights restored after a domestic violence conviction. These callers have good intentions, but the conversations always end the same way: I cannot restore someone's gun rights after a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.

What is a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence?

To avoid any confusion, I will provide a short summary of what qualifies as a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence. I will also address some of the most frequently asked "what if" questions.

Under federal law, a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence is

  1. Any misdemeanor;
  2. That involves the use of force, attempted use of force, or threatened use of a deadly weapon;
  3. Was committed against the defendant's spouse, former spouse, intimate partner, former intimate partner, child, child's parent, or any similarly situated person.

In Virginia, a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence could be any of the following offenses, if convicted against one of the people listed above:

  1. Assault and Battery of Family Member or Household Member (the most common).
  2. Brandishing a firearm.
  3. Disorderly conduct.
  4. Generic assault and battery.
  5. Sexual battery.

If you were convicted of any of the misdemeanors above or any similar misdemeanor AND it was against a spouse, former spouse, intimate partner, child, etc., you are prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms or ammunition under federal law.

Under the current status of the law, there are no viable options to restore gun rights after a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence. Seriously, I cannot help you.

But...what if...?

These are the most common "what if" questions that I receive. What if...

  • ...it was a very long time ago?
    • It does not matter. I cannot help you.
  • ...I wasn't really guilty?
    • It does not matter. I cannot help you.
  • ...I get it expunged?
    • Under the current status of the law, you cannot expunge a conviction in Virginia. I cannot help you.
  • ...I never touched the other person?
    • It does not matter. I cannot help you.
  • ...I get a simple pardon?
    • A simple pardon is not sufficient to restore gun rights under federal law. I cannot help you.
  • ...I get an absolute pardon?
    • This would be sufficient, but it is incredibly unlikely to happen. Either way, I do not handle pardon issues. I cannot help you.
  • ...I didn't realize I was pleading guilty?
    • It does not matter. I cannot help you.
  • ...I didn't realize that I would lose my gun rights?
    • It does not matter. I cannot help you.
  • ...my attorney at the time told me I would not lose my gun rights?
    • It does not matter. I cannot help you.
  • ...I have no way to defend myself or my family?
    • It does not matter. I cannot help you.
  • ...but people get their rights restored after a felony?
    • It does not matter. I cannot help you.
  • ...I already got a Concealed Handgun Permit?
    • It does not matter. The prohibition is under federal law. You still cannot purchase or possess a firearm or ammunition. I cannot help you.

To be clear, I think this is a fundamentally bad law. It is not fair. It is not right. I sincerely wish there was some way that I could help people restore gun rights after a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence. The fact is: I cannot help you.

The new consult fee policy:

Thus, as of January 2021, I will charge a $250 consultation fee to discuss gun rights after a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence. For all restoration consults, the very first question I ask will be about misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence. If the answer is "yes," the consultation will not proceed without a credit card payment for $250.

Remember, the conversation will always end the same: I cannot help you.

As always, the initial consultation for a felony restoration will still be a free consult, as long as the person has not been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.

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