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You can run afoul of the Federal “felon in possession” law without being a “felon.”  What?  A Montana misdemeanor conviction could affect your gun rights?  Yes.

Under federal law, it is unlawful for any person who has been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence to possess a firearm.  18 U.S.C. 922(g)(9).  A “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence” is any misdemeanor against a “partner family member” that has, as an element, the use or attempted use of physical force, or the threatened use of a deadly weapon.  18 U.S.C. 921(a)(33).  A conviction of partner family member assault (“PFMA” – Mont. Code Ann. § 45-5-206) can meet the federal definition, or be considered a predicate offense for bringing a federal charge under 18 U.S.C. 922.

Briefly then, if documentation or judicially noticeable facts regarding the PFMA misdemeanor conviction establish that you admitted to the use or attempted use of physical force OR threatened someone with the use of a deadly weapon, you might be precluded from possessing firearms.  In other words, a misdemeanor state conviction can subject you to 10 years in a federal facility for subsequent possession of a firearm.  There are ways to avoid creating this factual record.

If you or someone you know is charged with a PFMA, contact our office immediately.  Not only is it important to zealously defend yourself, but you should also know how a conviction might affect your right to possess a firearm.  Dave Mattingley of Bryan, diStefano & Mattingley, PLLP has defended many cases in the federal and state system and possesses extensive knowledge in this area.  If you are charged with a PFMA, immediately contact our office for a free consultation.