Are You Facing A Weapons Charge In Texas?

The lawyers at Vinas & Graham can help. Don’t face the court system without an experienced attorney if you are facing weapons or gun charges.

Houston Gun Charges

Texas penal code § 46.01 defines that it is illegal for someone to intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly carry a handgun, club, or illegal knife if that person is not on their own premises or on a premise under their control. The crime of unlawfully carrying weapons (UCW) can be charged for the improper carrying of a weapon, for carrying a weapon in a place it is not legal to do so, or for carrying an illegal weapon.

If you have been charged with Weapons Possession or for the Possession of a Firearm in Texas, you need help from an experienced team of criminal defense attorneys.

While the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution allows citizens to “keep and bear arms” and Article 1, § 23 of the Texas Constitution states that “Every citizen shall have the right to keep and bear arms in the lawful defense of himself or the state,” the law does place limits on the type of firearm a person may carry, as well as how they may carry it.

If you have been charged with Weapons Possession or for the Possession of a Firearm in Texas, you need help from an experienced team of criminal defense attorneys.

What Is A CHL And How Does The Law Affect Those With One

A concealed handgun license (CHL) allows an individual to legally carry a concealed handgun on their person. The fairly new open carry law allows for open carrying of these handguns, for licensed persons only. This is the case if their handgun is secured in a holster which protects it from unintentional discharge.

Since 2015, licensed residents of Texas may openly carry handguns and some other weapons displayed in shoulder or belt holsters. This open carry legislation does not automatically prevent someone from being arrested and being charged with criminal charges though.

Reckless actions or carrying in the wrong location is enough to be confronted with Houston gun charges.

While a CHL is important for carrying a handgun, there are other laws to be aware of. If a business has a rule that no weapons are allowed, you must leave if they ask you to, regardless of whether they have a sign posted or not.

You must always show your weapon to a police officer upon being asked. Obey directives from law enforcement and signs regarding weapons.

If You Get Pulled Over With A Concealed Weapon In Texas

Houston Gun Charges

For your own future, to avoid consequences, and for the safety of yourself and the officer in question, following certain protocol can prevent miscommunication. The law in Texas states that you need to tell the officer about your concealed weapon when they ask you for your identification. What to do when pulled over:

  1. Turn on an interior light (if it is dark outside) and roll down your window. Put your hands visibly on the steering wheel.
  2. Inform the officer you have a concealed carry permit and that you have a concealed weapon and where it is located.
  3. Tell the officer where your license is located so he or she knows you are reaching to retrieve it. If you need to reach into the location of the handgun to retrieve your license or your insurance information, it is best to ask the officer how he would like you to proceed.

It is important that both you and the police officer follow proper procedure.

There are certain places where you can be arrested for weapons charges regardless of whether you are licensed or not. The penalties will be more severe if you already have a previous felony or have an intention to use the weapon at these unlawful carry locations.

The law in Texas states that you need to tell the officer about your concealed weapon when they ask you for your identification.

Some Places Where A Person May Not Carry A Firearm

  •  Churches
  •  Schools
  •  Liquor Stores/Bars/Some Restaurants
  •  Courthouses
  •  Airports
  •  Businesses with implicitly stated rule against firearms
  •  In a polling place on election day
  •  A racetrack
  •  To a place of execution, on the day of the execution
  •  Amusement parks
  •  Hospitals

Houston weapons charges may be brought against you no matter where you are if the weapon you have in your possession is unlawful. There are some weapons you may not possess, manufacture, repair, transport or sell in Houston, according to Texas Penal Code § 46.05. An exception to these may be, for example, an antique.

Some Illegal Weapons Resulting In A UCW charge:

  • Fully automatic firearms
  • Explosive weapons
  •  Short barrel shotguns- with barrels less than 18 inches long
  •  Rifles- with barrels less than 16 inches long
  •  A switchblade
  •  Brass knuckles
  •  A firearm silencer
  •  Improvised handguns (zip guns)
  •  Nunchucks

What Are the Possible Consequences For UCW

Houston Gun Charges

The penalties for the unlawful use of weapons can be very high in Texas. UCW charges are many times classified misdemeanors although certain cases may warrant a felony charge. A crime of unlawful carrying by a licensed carrier can result in similar charges. A weapons charge violation will result in serious charges, which could result in a revocation of your rights to own a firearm, among other consequences.

Have you been charged recently with Houston gun charges or other weapons charges? Seeking local, skilled legal representation will be in your best interest. There are many variables for your attorney to consider when formulating a defense. Circumstances to be examined are your intention with the weapon, how it was used, your criminal history and state of mind at the time, what led to the event and how the evidence was handled.

UCW is a Class A misdemeanor offense, with a punishment range of up to 1 year in the county jail and a fine of up to $4000.00. Incarceration can even occur for first-time offenders. The consequences can range all the way up to a third-degree felony, to include between 2 to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.00. This latter would be the punishment range a person with a prior felony conviction faces who possesses a firearm (or body armor).

There may be other charges as a result of where the weapon was carried, such as in a school zone, for example.

If the weapon was carried by a member of a criminal organization, used while committing another crime or was discharged unlawfully, there can be heavy consequences also. Even if lawfully permitted to carry a handgun in their vehicle, the situation can become illegal in the case of driving under the influence, as one example of carrying while committing a crime.

Violations of weapons possessions laws may be prosecuted in either state or federal court.

Contact The Houston Law Firm Of Vinas & Graham Today If You Are Facing A Weapons Charge

When you choose to have our firm represent you, rest assured that we will work hard to ensure your rights are upheld and defended during your case. It is essential you are not wrongfully convicted of Houston gun charges or other illegal weapon usage. Contact Vinas & Graham, PLLC at (713) 229-9992 for a free consultation to discuss your situation and pursue the best possible results.