Locked and Loaded: The Flannery Decision’s Impact on Domestic Violence Cases

In 2019, a domestic violence case in Kitsap County, Washington raised concerns about the state’s firearm surrender law. The defendant, Dwayne Allen Flannery, refused to turn in his firearms, arguing that it violated his Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights. The Washington Court of Appeals sided with Flannery, leading to uncertainty and inconsistent enforcement of the firearm surrender law when no-contact orders are issued in domestic violence cases.

The Flannery decision has prompted some judges and court commissioners to stop issuing firearm surrender orders in civil cases as well, with some legal experts arguing that the decision should only apply to criminal cases. This inconsistent interpretation of the Flannery decision has raised concerns among domestic violence advocates, who fear it could undermine the protections put in place for survivors.

What Sort of Responses Have Been Issued?

To address the Fifth Amendment concern raised by Flannery, the Washington state legislature passed a “Flannery fix” in House Bill 1715. In certain circumstances where surrendering firearms could lead to self-incrimination, the bill grants immunity from prosecution. However, it remains to be seen if the courts will find this improvement sufficient.

The Flannery decision is part of a broader movement challenging the constitutionality of gun regulations across the country, potentially rendering firearm surrender laws ineffective in some jurisdictions. A pending federal case, United States v. Rahimi, could further impact firearm possession for people subject to domestic violence restraining orders nationwide.

The implementation of the Flannery decision varies across different counties in Washington. While some, like Pierce County, have stopped issuing firearm surrender orders, others, like King County, continue to enforce them through dedicated units. The lawyers at the Law Office of Erin Bradley McAleer will keep a close eye on this development, working to understand how it may affect their client’s cases. If you become subject to a firearm surrender order, don’t hesitate to contact us to determine your rights and risks with forfeiting your firearm.

The Role of an Attorney in Domestic Violence Cases

If you find yourself facing domestic violence allegations, seeking the assistance of an experienced attorney is crucial. These cases require a nuanced understanding of the law and great expertise to protect your rights throughout the legal process.

A criminal defense attorney specializing in domestic violence matters will be well-versed in the relevant laws and precedents pertaining to your specific case. For example, they may be able to help you understand how the Flannery ruling may or may not relate to your case, assuring proper interpretation and successful representation.

A skilled attorney will work closely with you to understand the circumstances of the alleged offense and build a strong defense strategy. They will carefully examine the evidence, challenge any inconsistencies, and advocate for your rights throughout the legal proceedings.

In many domestic violence cases, negotiation and plea bargaining can play a significant role. Their negotiating skills and legal prowess can have a significant impact on the outcome of your case through productive discussions with prosecutors to seek reduced charges, alternative sentencing options, or dismissal of charges when appropriate

Your attorney will work as your advocate throughout the legal process, protecting your constitutional rights and ensuring that proper processes are followed. They will examine the evidence, challenge illegal searches and seizures, and investigate any potential violations of your rights.

How We Can Help

The Flannery decision and the ongoing legal debates surrounding domestic violence cases and firearm surrender laws have created a complex and uncertain landscape. To protect your rights and avoid further complications, it is essential to seek the guidance of an experienced attorney specializing in domestic violence cases. An attorney can offer a comprehensive understanding of the law, develop a strategic defense, negotiate with prosecutors, protect your rights, and provide invaluable support throughout the legal process. By partnering with an attorney at the Law Office of Erin Bradley McAleer, you take proactive steps towards safeguarding your future with quality representation.

Call the Law Office of Erin Bradley McAleer today at (360) 334-6277 and schedule a free consultation with one of our highly qualified defense attorneys today.