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

Posted by Neil Shouse | Dec 20, 2018 | 0 Comments

Defendants on probation for a Colorado felony or class 1 misdemeanor may not possess a gun. In most cases, this means they may not have a gun in their home. A defense attorney can ask the judge to make an exception if the gun belongs to someone else and is locked away so it is inaccessible to the defendant, but chances are the judge will not agree.

Defendants on probation for class 2 or 3 misdemeanors or petty offenses might be able to keep a gun in their home depending on the specifics of their case. The judge should specify whether the defendant is ordered to give up their weapons. For instance, defendants on probation for a domestic violence-related offense are not allowed to possess guns and probably would not be allowed to live somewhere with guns.

When a gun owner is charged with a crime in Nevada, the gun owner is advised to retain an attorney to try to get the charges dismissed or reduced to a misdemeanor that does not jeopardize his/her rights to possess a gun. Otherwise, the gun owner will probably be forced to surrender all his/her firearms and avoid possessing firearms for the rest of his/her life. And as discussed below, even momentarily possessing a gun while being a convicted felon is another felony crime that potentially carries several years in prison.

People prohibited from possessing guns in Colorado

The following people are legally prohibited from possessing guns in Colorado:

  • People who are subject to a protective order that forbids firearm possession;
  • Fugitives from justice;
  • Non-citizens in the U.S. on a non-immigrant visa;
  • People who renounced their U.S. citizenship;
  • Illegal aliens;
  • Drug addicts or drug users;
  • People adjudicated as a “mental defective” or committed to a mental institution;
  • Dishonorably discharged vets;
  • Defendants who have been convicted of or are under indictment for either:
    • a felony,
    • an attempted felony,
    • an act that would be a felony in Colorado,
    • any crime punishable by more than 1 year in prison,
    • a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence

Penalties for felons possessing firearms in Colorado

Colorado Revised Statutes 18-12-108 C.R.S. prohibits people who have been convicted of felonies to then possess guns. This crime is called "possession of a weapon by a previous offender" in Colorado, abbreviated "POWPO."

Being a felon in possession of a firearm in Colorado is a class 5 felony, carrying:

  • 1 to 3 years in Colorado State Prison (with 2 years mandatory parole), and/or
  • A fine of $1,000 to $100,000

A second or subsequent POWPO conviction is a class 4 felony, carrying:

  • 2 to 6 years in prison (with 3 years mandatory parole), and/or
  • A fine of $2,000 to $500,000

Defenses to Colorado charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm

The most effective defense to a Colorado POWPO charge turns on the facts of the case. Some common strategies include the following:

  • The gun belonged to another person;
  • The defendant had no physical control over the gun;
  • The defendant did not know the gun was there; and/or
  • The police discovered the gun through an illegal search and seizure

About the Author

Neil Shouse

A former Los Angeles prosecutor, attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT). He has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Dr Phil, Court TV, The Today Show and Court TV. Mr Shouse has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Criminal and Top 100 Civil Attorneys.


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