A criminal record can have many effects on your life. While you could be put in jail, placed on probation, and subject to criminal fines, your penalties could run even deeper, keeping you from voting, hurting child custody rights, and eliminating your right to own a firearm. Utah law prevents many people convicted of a crime from possessing or owning a firearm, which means that permits can often be denied on the basis of a criminal record. If you have a record and need help understanding if it is legal for you to have a gun, or if you were arrested for having a firearm when you’re not supposed to, contact Overson Law’s Salt Lake City gun possession lawyers.
Can You Have a Gun if You Have a Criminal Record in Utah?
Many of Utah’s weapons crimes deal with who can and cannot have a gun. Utah allows conceal carry permits for many handguns, and open carry is often allowed for long guns and unloaded handguns. However, people who have been convicted on certain criminal charges in the past cannot take advantage legally possess a gun and are instead considered “restricted persons.” It is vital to check with a lawyer about your restricted status if you have recently been convicted of a crime, because some of the restricted person laws only affect people convicted of certain levels of crimes.
In general, you do not need a permit to open carry a firearm if it is unloaded or it is a long gun like a hunting rifle. However, if you are a restricted person, you cannot possess a gun, even if it would have been legal without a permit. You also may have trouble buying a gun if you have a criminal record, as many gun shops and other sellers are legally required to run background checks before selling a firearm.
Utah Restricted Person Gun Possession Laws
Under Utah law, there are 2 categories of “restricted persons” who cannot legally possess a firearm. If you fall under either category, you will usually be denied a gun permit. Moreover, if you are caught with a firearm in your possession, you can be arrested and charged with a crime.
It is absolutely vital to check with a lawyer if you think you might fall into one of these categories. Sometimes, your restricted status will change if your crime happened a long time ago as a juvenile, and that change might allow you to get a gun again. Moreover, it is often confusing to determine which category you fall into because some of these categories are based on technical factors, such as whether a crime qualified as a misdemeanor or a felony. As many crimes like theft or assault can qualify as different levels of crime depending on how they were committed, you might not have all the information you need to determine your restricted status.
The two categories of people who cannot possess a gun in Utah are as follows:
Category I Restricted Person
You will be considered a category I restricted person if you meet any of the following characteristics under Utah Code § 76-10-503(a)(1):
First, you cannot possess a gun if you are currently on probation or parole for a felony offense. Similarly, you will always be considered a restricted person if you have a record of a violent felony or you were adjudicated delinquent for a juvenile offense in Utah for something that would have qualified as a violent felony in adult court. These violent felonies include crimes like aggravated assault, rape, stalking, or certain weapons crimes. Second, you cannot get a gun if you have a conviction for certain drug crimes.
Lastly, you have to be a U.S. citizen or lawful resident to have a gun in Utah, so you cannot possess a gun in Utah if you have certain immigration problems or are here illegally.
Category II Restricted Person
The second category of restricted persons who cannot possess a firearm in Utah is a much bigger category:
The first restriction says that you cannot possess a gun if you have any felony conviction on your record. This also extends to people who were not convicted of a felony but were instead found mentally unfit to stand trial for a felony or were found not guilty by reason of insanity. If you were adjudicated delinquent for an offense that would have been a felony if you were an adult, the law only uses cases from the past 7 years to block your gun rights.
Second, the law prevents certain groups of people from getting a gun. You cannot have a gun in Utah if you are “an unlawful user of a controlled substance” (i.e., a drug addict), you were caught with a gun while committing certain drug crimes, you were dishonorably discharged from the military, you do not qualify under certain parts of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, or you renounced your US citizenship.
Lastly, certain domestic violence laws can lead to firearm restrictions. The first restriction is for a current restraining order against you for alleged domestic violence conduct. Even without a conviction, this can block your access to a gun. Additionally, a conviction of assault against a dating partner or another adult in your household can block your right to own a gun, even if it wasn’t a felony offense.
Call Our Salt Lake City Gun Crime Lawyers for a Free Consultation
If you are trying to figure out if you can own a gun in Utah, our lawyers can help run background checks and advise you on your rights. If you were caught with a gun and accused of possessing it illegally, our Salt Lake City criminal defense lawyers can help fight the case and hopefully help you avoid long jail terms and additional convictions or legal troubles. For help with your gun possession case or questions, call Overson Law, PLLC for a free legal consultation today at (801) 758-2287.