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It has been reported that Mel Gibson has accepted a plea deal by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office to plea no contest to a simple battery, a lesser offense that his original charge of domestic violence, and will pleading no contest on Friday, March 11, 2011. The offense stemmed from a fight with former girlfriend, Oksana Grigorieva, in January of 2010.

Why should Mel plea to a felony offense? The Lautenberg Amendment to the Violence Against Women Act is a federal law, which imposes a lifetime prohibition for firearm ownership for those convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.

In 2009. Congress defined a “ ‘misdemeanor crime of domestic violence’ to include an offense ‘committed by’ a person who had a specified domestic relationship with the victim, whether or not the misdemeanor statute itself designates the domestic relationship as an element of the crime.”

So even though Mel is pleading to simple battery, since his offense was committed against someone he had a domestic relationship with, he falls under the federal law for a lifetime ban against firearm ownership. Therefore, if Mel ever wants to have the ability to own or possess a firearm, he should plead no contest to a felony charge and upon the completion of his probationary sentence, reduce the felony to a misdemeanor to avoid the federal prohibition against firearms.

Written by Record Clearing

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2 Responses Leave a comment

  1. Immanuel says:

    This is confusing. Isnt a felony worst than a misdemeanor? I pleaded no contest, adjudgement with-held in Fl several years ago and was told by a FL lawyer (record cannot be sealed) Maybe I misunderstood. Lautenburg is not mentioned on my record. I currently reside in another state.

    • Mathew Higbee, Esq says:

      In general, a felony is worse than a misdemeanor. However, when it comes to firearm rights, a felony for domestic violence in California is preferable to a misdemeanor as a felony provides a way for the person to get their firearm rights back. A misdemeanor that meets the Lautenberg Amendment’s definition of domestic violence provides no way for a person to get their firearm rights back in CA.

      If your offense was for family violence or domestic violence in FL, what the lawyer told sounds correct. Those offenses are not eligible to be sealed or expunged.

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