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November 10, 2010

Careful pleading guilty to assault charge, you may lose right to carry firearm forever

A conviction for domestic assault or even a domestic assault that has been amended to simple assault will forever prevent that person from legally possessing a firearm. See United States v. Hayes, 129 S.Ct 1079 (2009). In such case, the defendant had previously been convicted of an assault where a domestic relationship was involved but not an element of his crime. The United States Supreme Court reviewed his conviction for the illegal possession of a firearm by someone previously convicted of domestic assault. The United States Supreme Court concluded that if a domestic relationship is proven that such facts were enough to trigger the federal law prohibiting the possession of a firearm by anyone with a conviction for domestic assault even if the domestic relationship is not an element of the offense.
In Tennessee, when a domestic relationship exists, an individual is generally charged under Tennessee Code Annotated 39-13-111 for domestic assault. In light of this United States Supreme Court decision, if your client likes to hunt, it is a better idea to try to amend the charge to vandalism, criminal trespass, or some other non-assault offense when negotiating a plea agreement since a plea to an amended charge of simple assault will not help.
If you are charged with an assault in Middle Tennessee or the Nashville area, be sure to hire a criminal attorney that can help protect your rights.