Areas Of Practice

RESTORATION OF GUN RIGHTS

One of the most rewarding areas of my practice is restoring gun rights for persons who have lost them due to convictions. I have been helping people restore their gun rights for my entire career as an attorney. Often people are not aware that they can restore their state gun rights until they talk with me. Restoring gun rights allows a person to enjoy hunting, keep those special inherited firearms from a family member, target practice at a shooting range, or simply feel safe at home again. With all the controversy over the fate of gun rights after the tragic shootings that have occurred and under the current administration, it is important to many people to restore their gun rights before the gun laws become more strict.

The following flow chart helps clarify whether or not a person might be eligible to have his or her gun rights restored. It does not cover all possible scenarios, however, so it is always best to talk to an attorney about a particular situation. For example, even if a person has been convicted of more than one felony or qualifying misdemeanor, it still may be possible to have his or her gun rights restored. Talking to an attorney is especially important if the nature of the conviction means that federal gun rights have been affected as well as state gun rights.

Chaplan Law Office

Recently, gun laws changed to require that motions for restoration of gun rights be filed only in the county where the crime was committed or in the county where a person currently lives. I have practiced in many Washington counties and can help with restoration of gun rights across the state.

A person can also lose his or her firearm rights after being involuntarily committed for mental health treatment. Although somewhat more complicated, there are ways to have gun rights restored after involuntary commitment if certain conditions are met. I have experience drafting petitions for restoration of gun rights after involuntary commitment and can help restore those rights.

VACATION & EXPUNGEMENT OF RECORDS

Often an old felony or misdemeanor conviction will have long-term effects such as causing one to be passed over for jobs, denied housing applications, or even prevented from volunteering at a child’s school. In many cases, these convictions can be vacated from a person’s record. Once a conviction is vacated, a person may legally state that he or she has never been convicted of that crime, including answering questions on employment applications.

Most misdemeanors and non-violent felonies can eventually be vacated from a person’s record once the conditions of probation have been fulfilled and all fines have been paid. Even Fourth Degree Domestic Violence charges can be vacated if all the conditions have been met. I have years of experience in vacating both felony and misdemeanor criminal convictions in many different Washington counties.

I also provide services expunging records. Expungement is important for people with non-conviction records, such as arrest for a charge that was dismissed. Sometimes the arrest record needs to be expunged in order for a person to apply for a job or for other reasons. I can help determine whether expungement is possible and assist in that process.

SEALING JUVENILE RECORDS

An old juvenile record can haunt a person for years if it is not sealed. Most juvenile records can be sealed in a much shorter time than adult records. Sealing a juvenile record means that not only can the person legally state that he or she has not been convicted of the juvenile crime, but the court file is also sealed so that it is no longer a public record. Even if a person has several juvenile convictions, it is still often possible to seal all or most of them if the conditions are met.

ORDERS OF DISCHARGE

After completing any community custody, paying all fines, and completing any other sentencing requirements after a felony conviction, a person can petition the court for an Order of Discharge. The Order of Discharge acts to restore all of a person’s civil rights, except gun rights. A person can restore their gun rights without an Order of Discharge, but an Order of Discharge starts the time running if a person ever wants to get a felony record vacated from his or her criminal record. Most people are never informed of the necessity of obtaining an Order of Discharge after a felony conviction if they wish to someday have that conviction vacated from their record.

Even if a person wishes to have a felony record vacated, but was not aware of the necessity for an Order of Discharge, there are often ways to request that an Order of Discharge be back-dated to give credit for the time that has passed since the sentencing requirements were completed. I have been successful in back-dating Orders of Discharge so that my clients do not have to re-start the time frame to vacate their criminal records.

LIFTING SEX OFFENDER REGISTRATION REQUIREMENTS

Lifting sex offender registration requirements is a controversial subject for many people. However, I have worked with numerous people who have had one minor sex offense as a teenager or young adult and then lived exemplary lives since then. Despite this, the sex offender registration requirements cause them to be unable to rent apartments, get decent jobs, or live a normal life. There is a way to petition the court to remove the sex offender registration requirement. I have presented many of these petitions over the years with excellent success. Being able to move or apply for housing without disclosing a sex offender registration can provide a sense of freedom and relief after years of hardship dealing with this requirement.

TITLE 26 GUARDIAN AD LITEM

A Title 26 Guardian ad Litem is appointed by the court in family law cases to look out for the best interests of a child or children, especially in cases where there may be physical or emotional abuse or neglect. Title 26 Guardians ad Litem can be paid for by the county if the parents are indigent, or may be paid privately in cases where they are necessary. I have been trained as a Title 26 Guardian ad Litem and currently am on the registries of Spokane, Lincoln and Stevens Counties. My experience as both a family law attorney and criminal defense attorney through the years give me a well-rounded understanding of the issues that can arise in contested family law cases that require a Guardian ad Litem.

SIMPLE WILLS

Having a will is an important step in ensuring that loved ones are cared for in the event of a death. Not only does a will specify to whom a person’s assets will be distributed, but it also provides for a trusted person to take care of the estate. Even if a person does not have much in the way of property or assets, a will can ensure that they go to the desired beneficiary.