Firearm laws in Texas are among the most lenient in the country. However, in Texas, unlawful possession of a firearm is still an offense that will attract severe penalties. It’s critical to be aware of the law, and seek legal advice from a knowledgeable Texas firearm attorney if you have been accused of a violation.
Texas Unlawful Possession of a Firearm
According to the law in Texas, your possession of a firearm would be considered illegal if you are:
- A convicted felon, who is found in possession of a firearm before the completion of five years from your release from prison
- Convicted of domestic assault, and found in possession of a firearm before the completion of five years from your release from confinement or community supervision
- A state employee, who is under the order of a restraining or protective order, but is found in possession of a firearm prior to the expiry of the order
In Texas, unlawful possession of a firearm will usually be considered a Class A misdemeanor. The punishment would include a presumptive prison sentence of up to one year and/or fine of up to $4,000.
In some cases, possessing a firearm illegally would be treated as a third-degree felony. Upon conviction, you can be punished with a presumptive prison sentence of up to 10 years and/or fine of up to $10,000.
Looking at the potential severity of the punishments for unlawful firearm possession, your best chance is to have a capable and resourceful Texas criminal defense attorney on your side.
Possessing a Firearm as a Felon After Five Years
Texas Penal Code says that even after the expiry of the mandatory 5-year period for a convicted felon as described above, you can only possess a firearm at your residence. You are still prohibited from possessing a firearm at any other place. (This state law is, however, in conflict with the federal law, which states that it is illegal for convicted felons to possess a firearm at any time after conviction.)
What Defense Is Available to You in These Cases?
Your Texas criminal defense attorney may consider several key defenses to the charge of unlawful possession of a firearm. The prosecution is required to prove that you possessed the weapon voluntarily or intentionally. To meet this test, they are allowed to use either circumstantial or direct evidence. Even if you never held the handgun, you can still be charged with unlawful possession.
However, your Texas firearm attorney can try to establish evidence showing that you did not intentionally or knowingly keep the firearm in your possession. Your attorney may also present evidence to show that you reasonably believed that your act was not an offense under the law.
A necessary use for the firearm could be another type of defense. For instance, if you have been a victim of a crime, it might have put you in danger of bodily harm. Experienced criminal defense lawyers will be able to create the right defense strategy if you have been charged with an offense of this nature.
Looking for legal advice for a firearm violation case in Texas? The experienced legal team of veteran criminal defense attorneys and trial lawyers at Flood-Lewis & Associates is here to help. We treat clients like family and we will work hard to protect your rights. Call our team 24/7, 365 at (713) 224-5529 for a free case review or use this online contact form to request a free consultation with one of our attorneys.