Common Questions on the Unlawful Possession of a Firearm in Indiana
Although the laws in Indiana regarding firearms are more relaxed than in other states, it is still possible for a felon found in possession of a firearm to be charged with “unlawful possession of a firearm in Indiana.” For example, it is still illegal for anyone deemed a “serious violent offender” or “dangerous person” to purchase or possess a firearm. It’s also illegal for those convicted of domestic violence to possess or purchase a firearm. However, most individuals impacted by these laws can have their gun rights restored thanks to the Indiana expungement laws on firearms.
If you have been charged with the unlawful possession of a firearm or are a felon who would like to restore your gun rights in Indiana, call the Indiana Gun Crime Lawyers at Keffer Hirschauer LLP. As former deputy prosecutors, our team is well suited to represent you in a criminal investigation, as well as help you understand your gun rights in the state of Indiana. If you’d like to speak with an experienced Indiana defense attorney today, call 317-857-0160 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.
What Happens When Police Find a Felon in Possession of a Firearm in Indiana?
Per Indiana Code 35-47-4-5, when police find a serious violent felon in possession of a firearm in Indiana, they risk being charged with a Level 4 felony. This is a very serious felony charge in Indiana, and if convicted, the offender could spend up to 12 years in prison. For the purposes of this section, a serious violent felon refers to anyone convicted of the following offenses.
- Voluntary manslaughter
- Reckless homicide (not committed by means of a vehicle)
- Aggravated battery
- Criminal confinement
- Carjacking (before it’s repeal)
- Criminal organization intimidation
- Stalking as a Class B or C Felony or Level 4 or 5 Felony
- Battery as a Class A, B, or C felony or Level 2,3,4, or 5 Felony
- Domestic battery as a Level 2,3,4, or 5 Felony
Offenses Related to Detention and Law Enforcement
- Arson as a Class A or B Felony or Level 1,2,3, or 4 Felony
- Assisting a criminal as a Class C or Level 5 felony
- Resisting law enforcement as a Class B or C Felony or Level 4 or 5 Felony
- Escape as a Class B or C Felony or Level 4 or 5 Felony
- Trafficking with an inmate as a Class C or Level 5 Felony
- Sexual battery as a Class C or Level 5 Felony
- Criminal deviate conduct (prior to its repeal)
- Child molesting
- Dealing in or manufacturing cocaine or a narcotic drug
- Dealing in or manufacturing in methamphetamine
- Dealing in or manufacturing in a Schedule I, II or III controlled substance
- Dealing in or manufacturing in a Schedule IV controlled substance
- Dealing in or manufacturing in a Schedule V controlled substance
- Dealing in a controlled substance resulting in death
Can Expungement Restore Indiana Gun Rights?
In the state of Indiana, most felons are not considered a “proper person;” the standard used to determine who can and cannot purchase and possess a firearm. However, felons whose convictions are NOT for domestic violence may be able to become a “proper person” by petitioning to have their felony conviction(s) expunged. The eligibility requirements for felony expungement in Indiana differ based on the severity and circumstances of the crime. In addition, some felonies in Indiana cannot, under any circumstances, be expunged, including:
- Sex or violent offender under Indiana Code 11-8-8-5
- Official misconduct under Indiana Code 35-44.1-1-1
- Convictions for two or more offenses involving the use of a deadly weapon that were not committed as part of the same episode of criminal conduct
- Homicide, voluntary manslaughter, or involuntary manslaughter
When hoping to restore gun rights through expungement, many people wonder “can a lawyer expunge my record or should I go the DIY route? Well, that decision is completely up to you. However, given the complexity of the petition details and the strict compliance required for filing, it may be wise to hire an experienced Indiana expungement attorney to draft your petition, rather than file a do-it-yourself expungement.
If you’d like to speak with an expungement attorney today, call Keffer Hirschauer LLP at 317-751-7186. Our Indianapolis attorneys can help confirm your eligibility, evaluate your criminal history, gather case records and other necessary court documents, and prepare your expungement petition. We will argue on your behalf in court, and if successful, we’ll make sure to distribute notice of your expungement to all relevant state agencies, including the Indiana State Police.
Can Someone Convicted of Domestic Battery Be Charged with Unlawful Possession of a Firearm in Indiana?
Yes. In addition to serious violent felons, Indiana Code 35-47-4-6 states that those convicted of a Level 6 felony, or an even lesser conviction for domestic battery, are prohibited from possessing a firearm. If a domestic batterer is found to be knowingly and intentionally possessing a firearm, they would be charged with the unlawful possession of a firearm in Indiana, a Class A misdemeanor. Per the Indiana Sentencing Guidelines, a conviction of this level could result in up to one year in jail, as well as a fine of up to $5000.
It’s also important to understand that, per Indiana Code 35-47-4-7, expungement will not restore gun rights for those convicted of a crime considered to be one of domestic violence. However, those impacted may be able to petition the court for a restoration of their gun rights in Indiana. Those convicted of felony domestic battery will need to wait five years following their conviction to do so, unless their conviction was a Level 6 felony. In these cases, the offender may be able to apply to have their gun rights restored under Indiana Code 35-47-4-7 if they’re able to get their felony conviction reduced to a misdemeanor pursuant to Indiana Code 35-50-2-7(d).
What are the Firearm Restrictions for a “Dangerous Person” in Indiana?
Indiana Code 35-47-14-1 defines a “dangerous person” as an individual who presents an imminent risk of personal injury to the individual or to another individual; or it is probable that they will present a risk of personal injury to the individual or to another individual in the future. In addition, the individual must have a mental illness (as defined in Indiana Code 12-7-2-130) that may be controlled by medication and has not demonstrated a pattern of voluntarily and consistently taking the individual’s medication while not under supervision; or the person must be the subject of documented evidence that would give rise to a reasonable belief that the individual has a propensity for violent or suicidal conduct.
In order for a person to be deemed a dangerous person, the court (under Indiana Code 35-47-14-6) must conduct a hearing in which the state has the burden to prove all material facts with clear and convincing evidence. If the court determines that the state has met this standard, it can issue a written order finding the person to be a “dangerous person” and ordering law enforcement to seize or retain the person’s firearm(s), ordering the suspension of the person’s license to carry (if applicable), and preventing the individual from renting, receiving transfer of, owning or possessing a firearm.
When this occurs, and a person deemed a “dangerous person” by court order is found to be in possession of a firearm, they can be charged with the unlawful possession of a firearm in Indiana, a Class A misdemeanor. Per the Indiana Sentencing Guidelines, a conviction of this level could result in up to one year in jail, as well as a fine of up to $5000.
Are You a Felon Whose Been Found in Possession of a Firearm?
Whether you are a felon found in possession of a firearm or would simply like to restore your gun rights in Indiana following a felony conviction, call the Indiana firearm attorneys at Keffer Hirschauer LLP. As former deputy prosecutors, our team is well suited to represent you in a criminal investigation or simply help you understand your gun rights in the state of Indiana. We are strong believers in the second amendment and are passionate about protecting both your rights and your freedoms. If you’d like to speak with an experienced Indianapolis attorney today, call 317-857-0160 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.