What To Do When Facing A Weapons Charge In Texas
Texans have a well-established right to keep and bear arms, under the Constitution’s Second Amendment and Texas law itself. Texas has some of the more forgiving laws in the nation regarding weapons possession and open-carry of firearms, but you can still run into trouble if certain restrictions are not followed. For example, using or even possessing firearms in certain locations can carry criminal consequences, and some types of weapons may not be possessed at all.
If you are a gun owner living in or visiting Texas, it is important to know your rights – and limits – on gun possession. If you have been charged with a weapons possession crime, you will want to review the law and facts regarding your case with the help of a well qualified Texas gun charge defense attorney.
What are the Laws on Weapons Possession in Texas?
Under Sec. 46.02 of the Texas Penal Code, a person commits a weapons offense if they:
- Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly carry on or about their person a handgun;
- They are younger than 21 years of age; or
- Have been convicted of an assaultive crime or other felony;
AND the weapon possession was not:
- On the person’s own premises or premises under the person’s control; or
- Inside of or directly en route to a motor vehicle or watercraft that is owned by the person or under the person’s control.
Even if a gun owner is over 21, has a clean record, and a properly registered firearm, displaying a firearm in plain view, unholstered, can also subject them to misdemeanor charges. This can also be true of carrying the weapon in non-permitted areas.
Texas Penal Code § 46.01 also prohibits the possession of certain weapons such as explosives (bombs, grenades, etc.), machine guns, short-barrel rifles/shotguns, firearm silencers, brass knuckles, knives, and armor-piercing ammunition, among other items.
If one is arrested and charged with illegal possession of a weapon, a defendant and their attorney will seek to determine whether or not the weapon met the definition of an “illegal weapon” under the Texas Penal Code.
In addition to the restrictions noted above, it can be a criminal offense to carry a legally own and held weapon in certain locations, such as:
- School buildings and campuses
- Election polling stations
- Government offices and buildings
- Sporting events
- Amusement parks
What are the Penalties for Illegal Weapons Possession in Texas?
As you may see, it can be surprisingly easy for a person to commit a Texas gun possession crime without realizing they did any wrong. Even an innocent mistake can have drastic consequences, however: punishments can include felony charges and a term in prison, depending on the facts and circumstances.
At the very least, you may face a misdemeanor charge and confiscation of your firearm while a case is pending. A conviction of a weapons charge may also affect your ability to obtain and register firearms in the future.
When to Contact an Attorney in a Gun Possession Case
A weapons possession charge is not necessarily an “open and shut” case for the prosecution. You may have certain defenses available, such as unlawful search and seizure. The facts may also show that your possession fell within a covered exemption under the Texas Penal Code.
Whatever the case may be, you will want an experienced Texas criminal defense attorney at your side. The stakes are simply too high to take chances on your own. A skilled defense attorney will conduct a vigorous and thorough investigation of the prosecution’s case from the outset. This can often lead to a reduction of charges or even a dismissal of your case, based on the circumstances.
A Pearland, Texas Defense Attorney Can Help You Defend Against Weapons Charges
If you have been charged with a weapons possession crime in the Pearland, Texas area, you want the best possible representation. This starts by consulting with a Pearland criminal defense attorney that has handled these matters before, knows the applicable Federal and State laws, and can fight for your rights in the courtroom. Contact the offices of Keith B. French Law, PLLC, today online or call 832-243-6153 to evaluate your case and discuss your full range of legal options.