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DWI convictions can lead to gun offenses

On Behalf of | Jun 8, 2023 | Criminal Defense

North Carolina is an open carry state, which means gun owners don’t need to have a permit to carry firearms in public. However, the state also has clear-cut rules on who can’t own firearms. Anyone convicted of a felony can’t own a gun under state laws. The law even prohibits individuals acquitted of a crime because of insanity from owning firearms.

But what about driving while intoxicated (DWI) charges? Even if drunk driving and gun offense charges differ, certain DWI convictions can make it illegal to carry a gun.

DWI felonies

Typically, DWI convictions in North Carolina are misdemeanors. But they can become felonies if a driver gets a habitual DWI charge. If you’ve had three or more DWI convictions within the past 10 years and get another DWI charge, it becomes a habitual DWI charge – a Class F felony. The penalties for Class F felonies include permanent license revocation, vehicle forfeiture and a minimum jail time of 12 months.

A DWI felony is no different from any other criminal felony. You can be charged for illegally possessing a firearm if you have a DWI felony on record.

Penalties for owning a gun with a DWI felony on record

The possession of a firearm by an individual with a felony on record is itself a Class G felony. The charge carries a maximum prison sentence of up to 31 months.

Other DWI-related gun ownership complications

If you have a DWI conviction, a sheriff may also deny your application for a concealed carry permit. State law prevents you from applying for a permit if your last DWI conviction occurred within three years from the date of your application.

If you are facing a conviction for illegally possessing a firearm with a DWI felony on record, consider hiring an attorney with criminal law experience to understand your defense options in court. An attorney can also help you if you get any DWI charges by protecting your rights in court and finding ways to reduce your penalties so they don’t get in the way of your gun ownership.