What Constitutes Illegal Possession Of Weapons In Houston, Texas?
Under Texas law, possession of weapons anywhere in the state under certain circumstances is illegal and can be charged as a criminal act.
Possession of a firearm is illegal for a person who has been previously convicted of any felony or certain misdemeanors involving sexual charges, or someone who has been prohibited from possessing a firearm by any family violence court order.
Certain classified weapons are illegal for any person to possess anywhere in Texas.
Carrying a firearm in public is illegal without a state-issued carry license and is illegal in some locations at all times.
The maximum penalties for weapons possession range from 1 year to 10 years incarceration and a maximum fine of $10,000, depending on the charge.
What Types Of Weapons Possession Are Prosecuted In Texas?
The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects the right of citizens to keep and bear arms. The Texas Constitution also protects the right to keep and bear arms for self-defense or in the defense of the state of Texas. However, the law places certain restrictions and limitations on these rights.
It is against the law for a person to carry a handgun, club, or certain knives when not on their own property or on a property that they legally control without a proper license. Some weapons are illegal to possess or carry anywhere. Illegal weapons include fully automatic guns, explosive weapons, short barrel (“sawed-off”) shotguns, and rifles, switchblades, brass knuckles, nunchucks, gun silencers, and homemade (“zip”) guns.
Any person who is a convicted felon is prohibited from possessing a firearm anywhere in the state. Convicted felons are also not permitted to possess body armor.
Any person who has been convicted of a family violence assault or who is subject to a family violence protective order is prohibited from possessing a firearm.
Convicted felons and persons with family violence orders or convictions are legally allowed to possess firearms at their own residence five years after the person’s release from incarceration, probation, or parole. This provision does not apply to body armor possession by convicted felons, which is prohibited for life for felons.
What Does A Concealed Handgun License Allow?
A person can publicly carry a handgun in permitted areas with a concealed handgun license issued by the state. Strict regulations apply to license holders, and the license does not allow a holder to carry a handgun onto restricted premises or on private property where the owner has prohibited possession of weapons.
Carrying weapons is also illegal at schools, churches, places where alcohol is served, liquor stores, courthouses, hospitals, airports, and most governmental buildings.
Intentional or reckless violation of the restrictions related to concealed handgun licensed carry can result in criminal charges in Houston.
What Defenses Are Available For Weapons Charges?
The circumstances in which a weapon was discovered in your possession by police might allow for the exclusion of the weapon as evidence against you in a weapons possession case. If a traffic stop or other interaction with police was unlawful in some way, the court may exclude evidence that was improperly obtained.
A defendant can also make a defense to a weapons possession charge if the defendant can show that they were not in actual possession of the weapon.
These defenses are limited and are very dependent on the specific facts of your arrest and the actions of law enforcement officers. You should discuss all of these facts and possible defenses in detail with your attorney.
What Type Of Penalties Do I Face If Convicted?
Weapons charges are treated seriously in Texas and are classified from class A misdemeanors up to third-degree felonies.
Unlawfully carrying a weapon or possessing any prohibited weapon by a person not allowed to possess weapons under a court order can be punished by up to one year of imprisonment and a maximum fine of $4,000.
Unlawfully carrying or possession of a firearm, body armor, or other prohibited weapon by a convicted felon can be punished by incarceration between 2 and ten years with a maximum fine of $10,000.
Contact An Experienced Trial Attorney If You Are Facing A Houston Weapons Possession Charge
Prosecutors in Houston take weapons possession cases seriously, and defendants need experienced and skillful representation in defending weapons charges.
If you’ve been arrested on a weapons possession charge in Texas, contact the Law Firm of Aaron W. Perry, PLLC. We can defend you and help obtain the best possible outcome in your case. You can reach us by phone at (713) 393-7788 or via our online contact form.