The legal landscape is constantly changing. On top of a mountain of other concerns, the list of dos and don'ts is ever-growing for those accused of crimes. Navigating your best course of action while trying to defend yourself from criminal charges in Pennsylvania requires experience and careful attention to new laws.
For example, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that Protection from Abuse Orders in certain states no longer mean the subject of the PFA has to relinquish their guns. As reported by the Bucks County Beacon, the new ruling only affects residents of Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi, but it might provide a glimpse into the future for PA residents.
Guns and PFAs Under Current Pennsylvania Law
Currently, the judge who oversees a Protection from Abuse Order case in PA can decide whether the accused abuser will have to relinquish their guns. In addition to handing over their firearms to the Sherriff's Department, the accused might be barred from holding a license to purchase guns.
Certain circumstances may help the judge make this determination. For example, those threatening a victim with a gun during alleged domestic violence incidents will probably be forced to give up their guns if the judge deems the accusations credible enough to warrant a PFA. Other firearms crimes might also provide justifications.
New Federal Ruling Bolsters Second Amendment Rights
Under the new ruling, the federal court determined that those states had strict laws concerning gun rights after a PFA issuance. In fact, those with adjudicated PFAs or who'd been found guilty of misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence had to give up their guns regardless of the judge's discretion. Ultimately, the Federal Court of Appeals determined the laws violated the Second Amendment right to bear arms under the U.S. Constitution.
Speak with an Experienced PA Criminal Defense Attorney
While critics and supporters will argue about the outcome of the 5th Circuit's ruling, what's most important for those accused of domestic violence in PA to understand is that laws change. Sometimes the only way to ensure you're acting within the parameters of the law is to consult with an experienced attorney.
An experienced defense attorney does more than show up to your hearings. They also advise you on how best to conduct yourself before, during, and after those hearings. This includes advising you on how best to comply with the laws, including gun rights laws as they relate to Protection from Abuse Orders in PA.
Attorney Joseph D. Lento and his dedicated Team will help you through your PFA defense process in Pennsylvania. To learn how the Lento Law Firm can help you, call 888-535-3686 today or contact our firm online.