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Can I have guns if I'm on DUI probation in Colorado?

Posted by Neil Shouse | Jan 04, 2019 | 0 Comments

Yes, if the Colorado DUI conviction was for a misdemeanor. If the DUI was for a felony, then the probationer may not have guns. Felony DUIs comprise the following crimes:

  • vehicular homicide
  • vehicular assault
  • a fourth-time (or subsequent) DUI or DWAI

Misdemeanor DUIs comprise a first, second, or third-time DUI or DWAI which does not result in death or serious bodily injury.

Colorado gun laws

People who meet any of the following descriptions are not allowed to have guns in Colorado:

  • the person is subject to a protective order that forbids gun possession;
  • the person is a fugitive from justice;
  • the person is an unlawful user of a controlled substance or is addicted to a controlled substance;
  • the person was adjudicated as a “mental defective” or has been committed to any mental institution;
  • the person is an undocumented non-citizen in the United States; 
  • the person is in the United States on a non-immigrant visa;
  • the person was dishonorably discharged from the Armed Forces;
  • the person gave up his/her United States citizenship; or
  • the person has been convicted of or is under indictment for either:
    • a felony (such as a fourth-time DUI or DUI causing injury),
    • any crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year (such as felony DUI),
    • an attempt to commit a felony,
    • an act which would constitute a felony if committed in Colorado, or
    • a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.

Colorado POWPO laws

Under Colorado Revised Statutes 18-12-108 C.R.S., people who have been convicted of a felony -- including felony DUI -- are not allowed to knowingly possess firearms or weapons. Felony DUI probationers who are caught with a firearm face charges for POWPO in Colorado. POWPO is short for possession of a weapon by a previous offender.

Colorado POWPO punishments

Felony DUI probationers who are convicted of having a firearm face at least one year in Colorado State Prison and a fine of $1,000 to $100,000. The maximum prison sentence is three years (with a mandatory parole period of two years) if the gun was either a:

  • firearm silencer, 
  • machine gun, 
  • short shotgun, 
  • short rifle, or 
  • ballistic knife

Otherwise, the maximum prison term is 1.5 years (with a mandatory parole period of one year).

A second or subsequent POWPO conviction is a class 4 felony. The penalty includes:

  • 2 to 6 years in prison, and/or
  • A fine of $2,000 to $500,000

There is also a mandatory parole period of three years.

Colorado POWPO defense strategies

Three of the most common defenses to fighting charges of felons possessing a firearm include the following:

  1. The defendant had no knowledge that he/she was in possession of the gun (such as if he/she forgot he/she had one in the attic),
  2. A police officer found the gun from an illegal search and seizure (such as forgetting to get a warrant when one was necessary), or
  3. Someone falsely accused the defendant, either by accident or on purpose to get the defendant in trouble

Learn about how to possibly get gun rights restored through a Colorado Governor's Pardon.

About the Author

Neil Shouse

Southern California DUI Defense attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT).

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