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Weapons Offenses

Even though Texas has some of the most liberal gun laws in the country, there are still state and national laws that restrict the ownership of certain types of weapons and how and where these weapons can be carried and transported. Being charged with violating any of these regulations can have significant effects on an individual's livelihood, so if you are facing weapons charges of any kind in the state of Texas, you cannot afford to take chances with your defense..

Guns are an extremely controversial political topic. Unfortunately, individuals who find themselves accused of weapons charges often risk law enforcement officials making an example of them, making effective criminal defense all the more important. At Attorney Watkins has been helping individuals in Texas facing weapons-related charges for years. We know what it takes to protect your rights and your good name in the face of a weapons-related accusation.

Do I Need a Weapons Charge Lawyer?

When you're facing a weapons charge, even if you know you are innocent, do not assume that it will all work itself out. Without a weapons crime lawyer on your side, you may miss the opportunity to fight for your rights. You may not understand how to present valuable defenses that could exonerate you. Unfortunately, even though you're innocent until proven guilty, you must still respond to the charges against you. The police and the state's attorney want you to be convicted. However, just because they say you're guilty doesn't mean that a jury of your peers will find you guilty. You have the right to try your weapons charges case and assert every defense that applies.

There are many ways to approach a weapons charge. Constitutional defenses, factual defenses, and questions of interpretation of the law may assist you in your defense. With a weapons charge lawyer by your side, you know that you're bringing the best possible defense to the charges. Only an experienced attorney can guide you through the process, ensure that no detail goes unnoticed, and give you the best chance of facing a reduced sentence or a not-guilty verdict.facing a weapons charge.

Common Weapons Offenses

Texas law restricts gun ownership and possession in several circumstances. Despite the Second Amendment protecting your right to bear arms, Texas law limits your right to carry weapons in certain locations or if you've been convicted of a felony. From violating Concealed Handgun License restrictions to being found in possession of an illegal weapon, there are many criminal charges that one could face concerning weapons ownership, sale, or transportation. Some of the most common of these offenses include:

A conviction on any of the above could have significant effects on your rights and freedoms, making it difficult for you to find employment, further your education, and even find a place to live. As such, if you are facing these or any other weapons charges, take action today to get the best defense possible.

According to Texas Penal Code § 411.172, it is against the law for any of the following individuals to possess or use a weapon:

  • Anyone under 21 years old
  • Convicted of a felony
  • Convicted of a misdemeanor within the last five years
  • Anyone arrested or facing charges for domestic violence
  • Residents who have not been living in the state for longer than six months and haven't completed an application for a conceal-carry permit
  • Anyone addicted to illegal or prescription drugs
  • Individuals with mental disabilities
  • Anyone behind on child support payments and subject to collections from the Attorney General's Office in Texas

There are also some situations where you're not allowed to carry a gun even if you have a conceal-carry permit. You are not allowed to possess a firearm or another weapon at any of the following locations:

  • Religious institutions
  • School property
  • Hospitals
  • Public entertainment facilities
  • Airports
  • Polling stations
  • Within 1,000 feet of a jail or law enforcement agency
  • Businesses earning at least 51% of their revenue from selling alcohol

Possession of a firearm is just one charge alone. However, if you use a gun to commit another crime, such as burglary or murder, you could face additional charges. It's critical that you consult with an experienced Dallas weapons offenses lawyer to protect your rights and create a solid defense so you don't face time in prison.

Penalties You Could Face with A Gun Crimes Conviction

Texas takes the violation of weapons offenses seriously. If you're arrested and charged with a gun crime, you could face severe penalties, including expensive fines and a jail sentence.

Unlawful carrying of a weapon

  • Class A misdemeanor
  • Maximum of one year in jail
  • Up to $4,000 in fines

If the offense occurred at a business with a liquor license or at another place that engages in the sale of alcohol, the penalties are:

  • Third-degree felony
  • Two to ten years in prison
  • Up to $10,000 in fines

Illegally selling a weapon

  • Class A misdemeanor
  • Maximum of one year in jail
  • Up to $4,000 in fines

If you sold a firearm to a minor, the penalties are:

  • State jail felony
  • 180 days to two years in state jail
  • Up to $10,000 in fines

Carrying a concealed gun or firearm at an airport or another public place

  • Third-degree felony
  • Maximum of 10 years in prison
  • Up to $10,000 in fines

If the state decides to charge you with this offense under Texas Penal Code § 46.02, you could face the following penalties:

  • Class A misdemeanor
  • Maximum of one year in jail
  • Up to $4,000 in fines

Convicted felon who possesses a firearm

  • Third-degree felony
  • Maximum of 10 years in prison
  • Up to $10,000 in fines

Violating concealed handgun license

  • Third-degree felony
  • Maximum of 10 years in prison
  • Up to $10,000 in fines

Unlawful brandishing or discharging a weapon

Brandishing or discharging a firearm near or in the direction of another person, vehicle, building, or home is known as deadly conduct. The penalties are:

  • Third-degree felony
  • Maximum of 10 years in prison
  • Up to $10,000 in fines

If you brandish or discharge a firearm within the corporate limits of a municipality with a population of at least 100,000, you could face:

  • Class A misdemeanor
  • Maximum of one year in jail
  • Up to $4,000 in fines

At Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter, we understand the overwhelming stress you might be feeling. When you're facing a possible prison sentence, it could ruin your family, reputation, and future. We will protect your rights and ensure you receive a fair sentence or find a way to get the charges against you dropped or reduced.

What Are the Possible Defenses to Gun Crimes?

Even though Texas law restricts gun ownership and possession in some ways, there still may be viable defenses available to you if you're facing a gun charge. For example, under Texas law, starting on January 1, 2016, licensed handgun owners can openly carry their weapons in the state of Texas in many circumstances. Click here if you were arrested for violating Texas' open carry laws.

Weapons laws are complex. Sometimes, even the police may not understand them. You may have the right to possess the weapon, and the police may have charged you in error. The defense to your weapons charge may be asking the court or the jury to interpret the law properly and correct any misunderstandings associated with the circumstances involved in the charges against you.

You can also defend yourself based on a lack of proof of the charges against you. Each weapon charge depends on elements that are specific to the charges. For example, the police must show actual possession for most types of weapons offenses. Demonstrating possession is often more complex than the police like to admit. If the firearm is simply near you or someone may have planted it in your car or home, the police may not be able to prove the charges.

The U.S. Constitution may protect you from a weapons charge, so constitutional defenses may also apply in your case. In addition to your right to bear arms, you also have the right to be free from unlawful search and seizure under the U.S. Constitution. Your attorney can help you determine if a constitutional defense applies and how to assert your legal rights.

CONTACT CRAIG WATKINS FOR PERSONAL INJURY, CAR ACCIDENT, CRIMINAL DEFENSE, OR CIVIL LAW CASES.

Craig Watkins is the former Elected District Attorney in Dallas County, Texas. He became the first elected African American District Attorney in the State of Texas. Craig served for two terms – 2007-2014. While District Attorney Craig set out to reform the criminal justice system with his Smart On Crime approach to criminal justice. This approach included the examination of wrongful convictions, rehabilitation, education, and employment. Craig created the first-ever Conviction Integrity Unit in a District Attorney’s Office in the Country.

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