March 1, 2022
Texas is a conservative state with perhaps the most liberal gun laws in the nation. However, neglecting to follow the current firearm laws (i.e., unlawful possession or criminal possession of a firearm) can lead to serious consequences.
If you’re facing 1st-time gun charges in Texas, it’s in your best interest to consult with an attorney as soon as possible. Our Houston firearm attorneys understand Texas gun laws and what’s required to obtain the best possible outcome in your case.
Don’t face a judge or jury for first-time gun charges without a Houston criminal defense lawyer you can trust. Contact The Napier Law Firm today at 713-470-4097 to schedule your free case evaluation.
Continue reading to learn more about 1st-time gun charges and penalties in Texas.
Types of Gun Charges in Texas
The most common gun-related offenses in Houston are unlawful possession of a firearm and criminal possession of a firearm. You could face fines, probation, jail time, and more if convicted of either. Learn more about each below.
Unlawful Possession of a Firearm in Texas
According to Texas Penal Code Sec. 46.02, A person unlawfully carries a weapon if they commit the following, but not limited to:
Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly carries a handgun on or about their person; and
- Is under 21 years of age; or
- Has been convicted of an offense that prohibits them from possessing a firearm temporarily or permanently; or
- Displays the firearm in plain view while in a public place (unless the handgun was holstered); or
- Carries a firearm while intoxicated
Additionally, the defendant must be somewhere other than their property or inside their vehicle (or in direct route to a watercraft) that they own or have control over.
If you are in a motor vehicle or watercraft you can still violate a law. According to Texas Penal Code Sec. 46.02, A person commits an offense if they:
Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly carries on or about his or her person a handgun in a motor vehicle or watercraft that is owned by the person or under the person’s control at any time in which:
- The handgun is in plain view, unless the person is 21 years of age or older or is licensed to carry a handgun under Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code, and the handgun is carried in a holster; or
- The person is engaged in criminal activity, other than a Class C misdemeanor that is a violation of a law or ordinance regulating traffic or boating; or prohibited by law from possessing a firearm.
What are the penalties for Unlawful Carrying a Weapon In Texas?
Generally, unlawfully carrying a weapon in Texas is a class A misdemeanor. If convicted, individuals face up to 365 days in county jail and fines up to $4,000.
In certain situations, unlawful possession of a firearm in Texas can result in third-degree felony charges. For instance, carrying a gun in a business that sells alcohol is a third-degree felony. If convicted, individuals face up to 10 years imprisonment and fines up to $10,000.
Criminal Possession of a Firearm in Texas
Under Texas Penal Code 46.04, it is against the law to carry a firearm in Texas (including at home or in public) within five years of being released from serving a felony prison sentence (i.e., incarceration, felony community supervision, or felony parole). After five years, it is legal to carry a weapon at a residential address, but nowhere else.
Further, it is unlawful to carry a firearm within five years of serving a sentence for assault-family violence. Also, it’s important to note that it is illegal to carry a gun in Texas if you’ve been served a restraining order or been convicted of domestic violence.
What are the penalties for Unlawful Possession of a Firearm in Texas?
Unlawful possession of a firearm within five years of serving a felony sentence can result in third-degree felony charges. If convicted, individuals face up to 10 years imprisonment and fines up to $10,000.
What Happens on Your First Gun Charge?
Generally, first-time gun offenders in Texas face class A misdemeanor charges – which, at maximum, can result in jail time (less than one year) and fines. However, if you’re convicted of a first-time felony gun charge, you could face up to 10 years in prison and fines up to $10,000.
Working with a skilled Houston criminal defense lawyer can drastically increase your chances of dismissed or decreased charges and penalties. Contact The Napier Law Firm today to discuss the details of your case.
Can You Get Probation On Your First Gun Charge?
Depending on the nature of your charges, criminal history, and caliber of your attorney, you can potentially get probation in lieu of jail time for first-time firearm charges in Texas. Generally, the more severe the gun charge, the more likely you are to serve jail time.
Contact A Houston Lawyer For Gun Charges Today
Gun charge first-time offenders are recommended to consult a Houston gun rights lawyer as soon as possible. Your attorney can assert your rights, help prove your innocence, and potentially, get your charges decreased or dismissed.
Contact The Napier Law Firm today to schedule your free initial consultation for first-time gun offenses in Houston. We also serve Harris County, Montgomery County, Houston County, Galveston County, Conroe County, and Fort Bend County.