Many questions surround the intersection of DUIs and concealed carry weapons. Can a concealed carry permit be revoked for a DUI? Can you obtain a CCW permit after a DUI conviction? Can you carry a gun while on probation for DUI? If you are in possession of concealed carry weapon during a DUI stop, can this enhance your charges? The latter question is especially pertinent since HB60 decriminalized carrying in bars in Georgia in 2014.
This week, a Connecticut man was arrested for driving under the influence while in possession of a loaded .32 caliber handgun. While laws vary state to state, under Connecticut law he was charged with DUI, failure to drive in the established lane, traveling unreasonably fast, following too close and carrying a gun while under the influence. He was released on a $1,500 bond. If you are carrying a concealed weapon in Georgia, any detectable amount of alcohol on a breathalyzer or blood test could have steep consequences. Alcohol impairs judgment, and if you are carrying a weapon you cannot have your judgment impaired in any way. In addition to the DUI charge, you may face additional charges and penalties for the improper handling of a firearm. Georgia law states:
(a) It shall be unlawful for any person to discharge a firearm while:
(1) Under the influence of alcohol or any drug or any combination of alcohol and any drug to the extent that it is unsafe for the person to discharge such firearm except in the defense of life, health, and property;
(2) The person's alcohol concentration is 0.08 grams or more at any time while discharging such firearm or within three hours after such discharge of such firearm from alcohol consumed before such discharge ended
Discharging a weapon is not the same as possessing one, however, if someone with a permit plans on drinking, it is best to properly stow their weapon somewhere out of reach. If you are arrested for DUI and found in possession of a properly concealed weapon, your charges may depend on the nature of the situation. If you had a permit to carry the weapon but it was not properly stowed while you were drinking, you may be liable. For example, if your weapon was in the glove box or elsewhere within your reach, penalties may apply because you had reasonable access to the gun. If it is stored somewhere in the vehicle like the trunk or backseat, this may be a viable defense to the charge. The penalties will differ if you were carrying a weapon but did not have a valid permit to do so.
Whether or not you had a weapon in your possession at the time of your DUI arrest, your concealed carry permit may still be in jeopardy. A standalone DUI is sufficient in some cases to revoke, not renew, or prevent future obtainment of a concealed carry permit.
The court may mandate no weapons possession as a condition of probation. However, a DUI conviction may not necessarily lead to a revocation of CCW rights unless specifically mandated by the court. If you had a concealed weapon on you while drinking, there is a greater chance that the court may choose to revoke your permit or prohibit you from obtaining one in the future.
If you have been charged with DUI and fear that your ability to carry is in jeopardy, a skilled lawyer may be able to negotiate on your behalf and explore different sentencing options with the court that do not affect your ability to carry. Contact Forsyth County DUI Attorney Richard Lawson today for a free consultation.