Discussion of SB 357

There has been media coverage and politician statements that GCO has circulated misinformation about loss of a GWL for conviction of carrying in a place of worship (both now and if SB 357 passes).  We believe the issue is more nuanced than that.  Under both current law and SB 357, if a person with a GWL is convicted of carrying in a place of worship, there is no possible jail time but there is a fine of up to $100 and the loss of a GWL if EITHER of the following are true:

  1. The person has not been free of all restraint or supervision in connection with the conviction for at least five years.  If the person is sentenced to pay a $100 fine, and the person pays the fine on the day the fine is imposed, then this condition will never be true and will not trigger a loss of GWL.  But, if the person is unable (or unwilling) to pay the $100 fine on the day the fine is imposed, the court will almost certainly put the person on probation until the fine is paid.  That means the person would be under “supervision.”  Even if only for one day of probation, this would result in a loss of GWL for five years.  In addition, if the person is put on probation and does not pay the fine, it is conceivable his probation would be revoked and he would be jailed.  This would be “restraint,” and again would trigger a five-year loss of license.
  2. The person has not been free of “any other conviction “ for at least five years. The law does not say for what the conviction has to be.  As it’s worded, a conviction for speeding would be “any other conviction.”  That means the person would have to have a completely blemish-free record for five years preceding the date of application.  It might be that the legislature intended for “any other conviction” to be another conviction for carrying in a place of worship, but that is not what the law says.

So, while is true that a loss of GWL does not necessarily accompany a conviction for carrying in a place of worship, it is a definite possibility.

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