A criminal conviction, even for misdemeanor driving under the influence (DUI), can affect your life in many ways. Often, a conviction leads to fines, incarceration, community service, probation or parole, restitution, and more. Some convictions also affect a defendant’s ability to vote or possess firearms in Florida.
If you own a firearm or plan to in the near future and you’re facing DUI charges, you may be wondering, “Will a DUI conviction bar me from possessing firearms?” This is a valid question and the answer depends on whether you’re facing misdemeanor or felony DUI charges. Under Section 790.23 of the Florida Statutes, it’s unlawful to possess or control ammunition or any firearm in Florida if:
- You have been convicted of a felony in Florida (including felony DUI).
- The Florida courts have found you to have committed a delinquent act while you were under the age of 24 that would be a felony if committed by an adult.
- You have been convicted of a felony crime against the United States.
- You committed a delinquent act in another state while under the age of 24 that was punishable by more than one year behind bars.
- You were convicted of a felony in another state or country that was punishable by more than one year behind bars.
When is DUI a Felony in Florida?
If you are facing felony DUI charges and you are found guilty by a court of law, you would be considered a “prohibited possessor” under Sec. 790.23, and it would be unlawful for you to own, possess or control any firearms or ammunition in Florida.
On the other hand, if you are facing misdemeanor DUI charges, a conviction would not typically affect your gun rights. In light of the above information, let’s take a look at what elevates a Florida DUI into a felony:
- Fourth DUI within 10 years
- DUI causing serious bodily injury
- DUI manslaughter
- DUI manslaughter/leaving the scene
If you’re facing DUI charges in Miami, I urge you to contact me to learn about the Back on Track Program and why it's beneficial for first-time DUI offenders. Even if this isn’t your first DUI offense, I can help. Contact my office today for a free case evaluation.