Silver Spring, MD asked in DUI / DWI for Virginia

Q: Does a misdemeanor DUI conviction qualify a person as being an addict or unlawful user?

The Firearms Purchase Elligibility Test on the Virgina State Police website states that: A person who answers “yes” to any of the below questions may be prohibited from purchasing or possessing a firearm pursuant to state and/or federal law.........Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana, or any depressant, stimulant, or narcotic drug, or any controlled substance? The Federal Gun Control Act defines an addicted person, or unlawful user, as a person who has a conviction for use or possession of a controlled substance within the past year or persons found through a drug test to use a controlled substance unlawfully, provided that the test was administered within the past year.

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1 Lawyer Answer
David G. Parker
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  • DUI & DWI Lawyer
  • Richmond, VA
  • Licensed in Virginia

A: A DUI conviction alone should not flag you as such a person, as alcohol use by adults 21 years of age or older is not inherently illegal. The gravamen of a DUI offense is impaired driving, not the drinking itself. A DUI also does not necessarily indicate an addiction. Furthermore, alcohol is not listed as a "controlled substance" in the Virginia Controlled Substances Act. Various types of alcohol and tobacco are actually specifically excluded by the definitions statute that defines what is considered to be a controlled substance. That said, firearm purchase forms at gun stores will have detailed instructions on both the state and federal forms, and those instructions should be reviewed carefully by any would-be firearm purchaser so that the questions can be answered truthfully and accurately.

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