Last week in Florida, an alleged victim of domestic violence spent five nights in jail after taking her estranged husband's guns to a police station for “safekeeping.” He had been ordered by a judge to not “own, possess, or carry any firearms” as part of his early release from jail.
This story actually started the day before when the alleged victim and her estranged husband appeared in court for a divorce hearing. After the hearing, Courtney Irby and Joseph Irby left the courthouse and he followed her in his car and began ramming her car from behind before running her off the road. Courtney Irby called the police to report the incident, and Joseph Irby was arrested for aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.
The next morning during Joseph's hearing, Courtney testified over the phone. The judge ordered Joseph's early release from jail with the firearm condition. Courtney then drove to her husband's residence, found his assault rifle and handgun, and took them to the Lakeland Police Department. According to court records, she told the officer on duty that she wanted to turn in Joseph's guns because she didn't believe he would do it himself. The officer asked if she'd taken the guns without her husband's permission, and when she said yes, she was arrested for armed burglary of a dwelling and grand theft of a firearm.
Even when you have been accused of a crime in the state of Florida, you still have rights, and no one -- not even an estranged spouse -- can violate those rights.
Washington Legislature Passes House Bill 1225
Gun laws in Washington State differ from the laws in Florida. A recent bill, however, provides a few more protections to owners of handguns when they have been accused of domestic violence -- and this is particularly important when the accused is innocent.
Just this May, Governor Inslee signed into law House Bill 1225, which will go into effect at the end of July. This bill establishes new requirements for the police regarding firearms when they respond to a domestic violence call, including removing any firearms or ammunition if they believe a crime was committed.
Under previous legislation, any firearms removed by police had to be returned within 24 hours, but now that timeline has been extended to five business days, during which the police will check to make sure the gun owner is compliant with gun ownership eligibility and all state laws.
The bill, however, also directs police to give victims of domestic violence information on the ability to seek a protective order against an alleged abuser to surrender all firearms. If you have been accused of domestic violence and own guns, you should contact an attorney immediately to safeguard your Constitutional rights.
Domestic Violence Defense Attorney in Seattle, Washington
A former prosecutor, Steve Karimi now defends those accused of crimes in the Seattle area. If you or someone you know is facing domestic violence allegations and you're worried about losing your access to your firearms, contact the Law Offices of Steve Karimi at (206) 621-8777 today for a free consultation.