Can I Own a Gun if I Get a DUI in New Jersey?

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Like many other citizens of the United States, you would like to exercise your Second Amendment rights and possess a firearm. However, you are also facing charges of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol in the Garden State, which has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation. As such, you may be wondering whether a conviction for DUI will affect your rights to own a gun in New Jersey. If so, please read on, then contact an experienced Mercer County DUI lawyer today.

Does a DUI disqualify me from owning a gun in New Jersey?

As previously stated, New Jersey has enacted strict gun laws that prohibit many individuals from owning or possessing firearms or ammunition. Violation of these laws constitutes an independent crime and can result in further criminal charges and penalties.

As a practical matter, New Jersey law disqualifies you from obtaining a gun permit if you sustain a conviction for a first-, second-, third- or fourth-degree crime. Typically, these prohibitions stem from convictions for felonies, which may include some DUIs.

When is a DUI a felony in New Jersey?

The Garden State does not have any such thing as a “felony DUI.” Nonetheless, anytime the alleged defendant hurts someone in a DUI accident, the defendant can face felony charges, including assault by auto and aggravated assault charges. Whenever a person drives recklessly and causes serious bodily injury to someone else, that constitutes assault by auto or vessel. Even so, New Jersey law will not bar you from gun ownership for a simple DUI, because, unlike many other states, the Garden State considers DUI a traffic violation, not a misdemeanor, crime or felony. This is why DUI defendants do not have a right to a jury trial in New Jersey. However, you need not necessarily sustain a felony conviction in order to have your gun rights stripped from you.

What other actions can disqualify me from owning a gun in New Jersey?

Unless you obtain a doctor’s certification that your condition is no longer a concern, you can’t obtain a gun permit if you are:

  • Drug dependent or a habitual drunkard
  • Confined for a mental disorder in a hospital, mental institution or sanitarium
  • Suffering from a physical defect or disease that would make it unsafe for you to handle firearms

Please bear in mind that without a gun permit or firearms purchaser identification card, you may not carry a gun or buy ammunition.

Before you make any major decisions in your case, please speak with Douglas Herring, Esq. who will discuss your options and determine the best path forward.


If you face a criminal matter, contact The Law Office of Douglas Herring to schedule your initial consultation.

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