This article continues our series on firearms rights in Oklahoma. In this series of articles, we look at how your criminal record can restrict your gun rights. And what you can do about that to protect your freedom, your civil liberties, and your American right to own, possess, and carry a firearm.
In this article, we want to discuss whether you can buy a gun if you have a deferred sentence on your record.
What is a deferred sentence in Oklahoma?
In Oklahoma, a judge is responsible for entering the sentence after a finding of guilt. The judge may decide to delay or defer sentencing to a future date, to allow the defendant to earn some brownie points in the mean time. If the judge chooses to do so, we have a special way of doing it in Oklahoma.
A deferred sentence is a court order, delaying sentencing until a future date. A judge will only enter an Order Deferring Sentencing if the defendant has admitted to the crime, pleaded guilty, and has demonstrated some reason or potential for a lesser sentence.
During the interim between the time the defendant pleads guilty, and the future date of the sentencing, the defendant is placed on probation. During this time, the defendant is supervised by either the District Attorney’s office or the Department of Corrections or other agency, such as the Attorney General’s office.
When the Defendant returns for sentencing, some years later, so long as the he/she complied with the terms of the probation, the Court will dismiss the case altogether.
How a Deferred Sentence can affect your ability to buy a gun in Oklahoma
During the pendency of the deferred sentence – meaning, during the time you’re on probation – the court will have issued certain rules and conditions that must be followed.
Although these rules and conditions can vary, in general, defendants are prohibited from possessing firearms while on deferred sentence probation. Of course, this rule can be amended, and the attorneys in the matter can sometimes negotiate around this condition.
Therefore, if you are currently serving the probationary period, you most likely will not be able to legally buy a gun.
Can you buy a gun after completing a deferred sentence in Oklahoma?
If you have completed your deferred sentence, then your case should be dismissed and no longer pending. You therefore should not be precluded from buying a gun based on the rules and conditions of probation.
Therefore, unless you have a prior conviction that stripped you of your firearm rights, you should be able to buy a gun after completing a deferred sentence.
The reason is that a deferred sentence is not a conviction. It is an admission of guilt by the defendant, and a finding of guilt by the court. However, the final outcome is a dismissal of the case altogether, and not a “Judgment & Sentence” which is the legal basis for a conviction in Oklahoma.
Can you buy a gun if you had a deferred sentence for a felony?
If you were charged with a felony crime, and completed a deferred sentence, you should still be able to buy a gun.
A person who has completed a deferred sentence on a felony charge is not a convicted sentence and does not lose their firearm rights under Oklahoma law. However, it is not uncommon for this information to be misinterpreted by gun dealers and other businesses.
The Benefits of Expunging your Deferred Sentence for purposes of Buying a Gun in Oklahoma
We always recommend expunging a record if possible, as we believe you should delete a criminal charge while you still can, as laws can change. But in this case, there are many practical benefits, as well.
The biggest issue with buying a firearm is the sorting through a person’s record, what disqualifies them and what does not. We regularly see people turned down because the gun dealer takes an overly cautious position or because of errors in the computer system.
We also see errors in how this information is communicated between government agencies and record aggregators.
Expunging your record is a way of taking matters into your own hands. By sealing it shut, you shut down the conversation altogether. You know longer have to keep explaining the situation, hoping the other side is comprehending what you are saying.
Need more information? Call or text 405-701-6016
If you would like more information about the pardon process or about getting an expungement in Oklahoma, please call or text our office at 405-701-6016. You may also complete this form online and we will contact you to answer your questions or get started with the process.