Dallas Unlawful Carry Lawyer | Best Defense

What is unlawful carry of a weapon in Dallas?

Unlawful carry of a weapon refers to offenses involving the illegal possession of a handgun or illegal knife in Texas.

Generally, this is a Class A misdemeanor in Texas, but it can become a third-degree felony under certain circumstances, as covered in Texas Penal Code Section 46.02. An experienced Dallas unlawful carry lawyer will help explain what contributed to any enhanced charges in your case.

This post explains the unlawful carry of a weapon charge in Dallas, UCW cases with people with a license to carry, and how Texas laws have recently changed.

Are you facing an unlawful carry of a weapon charge in Dallas? Varghese Summersett’s experienced defense team is here to help.

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How does Texas define unlawful carry of a weapon?

Texas Penal Code 46.02 and 46.04 make it a crime for people to carry or possess a handgun if they are younger than 21 or have been convicted of a violent offense such as assault causing bodily injury, deadly conduct, disorderly conduct discharge of a firearm, or terroristic threat, or has committed such an offense in the previous five years, except on their property or directly en route to their motor vehicle or watercraft.

Others barred from carrying a handgun include:

  • An intoxicated person except on the person’s property or while inside or directly en route to the person’s vehicle or watercraft
  • A person restricted from possessing a firearm under the Unlawful Possession of Firearm penal code 46.04(a), (b), or (c) unless on the person’s property or inside or directly en route to the person’s vehicle or watercraft
  • A member of a criminal street gang (as defined by Penal Code 71.01)

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What’s the punishment for unlawful carry of a weapon in Dallas?

Unlawful carry of a weapon in Texas is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine. The punishment range, however, is increased to a third-degree felony if the person illegally carries a handgun on a premise permitted by the state to sell alcohol.

A felony charge ranges in punishment between two and 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. A Dallas unlawful carry lawyer will help reduce the severity of the punishment in these cases.

Can you legally carry a handgun in Dallas?

As of September 1, 2021, Texas law does not require people 21 or older to have a license to carry handguns in most public places. Qualified owners may carry guns wherever they aren’t prohibited.

A UCW charge is a serious offense that could have life-altering consequences. Anyone facing this charge should find a Dallas unlawful carry lawyer as soon as possible. The criminal defense team at Varghese Summersett has unmatched experience fighting for clients in North Texas.

Is it legal to remove a handgun from its holster in public?

Yes, there are instances in which removing a handgun from its holster in public is legal. However, it could still be a crime under other areas of the law. For example, a Dallas police officer could find that a disorderly conduct offense still applies and make an arrest if someone displays a firearm in a public place “in a manner calculated to alarm,” according to Penal Code Sec. 42.01.Removing gun from holster

What are the exceptions to a license-to-carry permit?

You cannot possess a weapon while committing another offense other than a traffic ticket. This applies even if the weapon is in a generally permissible place to carry lawfully. For instance, before driving to work, a person places their handgun in their car where the handle is visible. After work, the person meets friends for a few drinks. On the way home, the person is pulled over and charged with DWI.

Texas law allows the officer to charge the person with unlawful carry of a weapon because it happened during an offense other than a Class C traffic offense. It doesn’t matter that you never intended to commit the UCW offense; it is an option for the officer.

An experienced Dallas unlawful carry lawyer is indispensable in cases such as this.

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Where is a license to carry still necessary to carry a gun in Texas?

A qualified Texan with a license to carry is exempt from the general federal prohibition on possessing a handgun within 1,000 feet of a school, in amusement parks, and nursing homes as long as the facility has not posted notice of effective prohibition, and into a room or rooms of an open meeting of a government body. Gun owners with an LTC are also allowed to carry on the property of the Lower Colorado River Authority, but not without one.

Are there exceptions for license holders for unlawful carry of a weapon?

Texas Penal Code Section 46.035 applies to people with a license to carry. They are prohibited from displaying a handgun in public unless the gun is holstered in a belt or on the shoulder. The holster exception does not apply to otherwise excluded premises such as schools. Although it is legal to carry a concealed firearm on campus, it is illegal to open carry on campus.

The complexities of these exceptions require the expertise of a Dallas unlawful carry lawyer in the event you are facing such a charge.

Gun Free Zones

Other places where handguns are not permitted, even with a license, include:

  • Designated gun-free zones on college campuses
  • Businesses that receive 51% or more of their income from alcohol
  • Government meetings (unless otherwise permitted)
  • Correctional facilities
  • Hospitals, nursing facilities, or mental health hospitals
  • Churches
  • Amusement parks
  • Secured areas of an airport
  • Courthouses
  • Polling places on voting days
  • Schools
  • Businesses with visible signage prohibiting handguns
  • High school, college, or professional sports events unless the person is a participant and the event involves the use of the weapon

What benefit does a license to carry provide in Texas?

A license to carry in Texas costs $40 for a five-year term and gives holders certain privileges according to the Department of Public Safety, an LTC gives you protection in the event you accidentally carry a firearm in the secured area of an airport. A Dallas unlawful carry lawyer can help mitigate any punishment in such cases.

An LTC will allow you to carry inside businesses that allow licensed carry on their premises, and license holders are allowed to carry in a government meeting. License-to-carry permits remain required on university campuses in Texas, and the state’s Campus Carry law remains unchanged.

Other benefits include:

  • Your license can be used as an alternative to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) check
  • Most businesses must accept your license as a valid form of personal identification.
  • Your license is a designated document for voter ID
  • Texas license holders can carry firearms in states where Texas has a reciprocity agreement, or state law recognizes the Texas Handgun license.

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Can I receive deferred adjudication for UCW in Dallas County?

Under the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, unlawful carry of a weapon charge is eligible for deferred adjudication or probation. Probation is also often an available option for the judge or jury. Texas Government Code requires a two-year waiting period for persons petitioning the court for an order of nondisclosure after completing deferred adjudication probation.

Can I get an expunction for a UCW charge in Dallas?

In 2021, the Texas legislature altered Chapter 55 of the criminal procedure code to allow people convicted of a narrow category of UCW violations to receive an expunction.

The change allows the expunction for anyone prosecuted for carrying a weapon without a permit outside their home or vehicle. A Dallas unlawful carry lawyer could help expedite this process.

What’s the difference between permitless carry and concealed permitless carry?

As of September 1, 2021, Texas handgun owners are allowed to carry openly or concealed in most places in the state, including:

  • Public areas of city facilities (libraries, recreation centers)
  • Texas State Capitol
  • In public (walking down a street)
  • Businesses with no visible signage prohibiting handguns
  • Concealed gun anywhere on the body. Concealing a gun is still allowed

Private businesses and churches can prohibit guns with written or verbal notice. Businesses and churches have the discretion to allow concealed carry but ban the open carry of handguns.

Can I carry a weapon on a college campus in Texas?

Public universities are required to allow handguns on college campuses and dorms if the holder is licensed to carry a handgun, with some exceptions, under Chapter 411 of the Texas Government Code.

Are licensed guns allowed on college campuses in texas?

Public college campuses remain prohibited places under Texas Penal Code 46.03(a)(1) for anyone without a license to carry. A licensed handgun holder is committing an offense if they carry a handgun in a manner that is visible (even if it’s holstered).

Furthermore, college presidents can create gun-free zones within their campuses. Also, Texas private colleges can opt out of Texas’ Campus Carry law and forbid license holders from carrying. An adept Dallas unlawful carry lawyer will help clarify your options if you face such a charge.

What happens if you take a gun into a Texas airport?

In Texas, it’s legal to take guns into unsecured areas of airport. However, if you take a gun into a secure area – and don’t have a license to carry – you will be arrested (even if it was by mistake). Board Certified Criminal Defense Attorney Benson Varghese explains in this important video.

Can I carry a concealed handgun into a store or someone’s property in Dallas?

Yes, unless the person or place of business posts signs prohibiting firearms.
Texas Penal Code §§ 30.05 and 46.15(o) provides that a person or business may provide notice by posting signs at entrances that firearms are prohibited on the person’s property.

What are the penalties for carrying a handgun into a prohibited Dallas business or property?

It is a Class C misdemeanor to carry a firearm into a Dallas property or business with the appropriate signage barring guns. It’s a Class A misdemeanor if the person is asked to leave and refuses. If the handgun is holstered and the person is licensed to carry it, it might make for a compelling defense by a Dallas unlawful carry lawyer. Still, it won’t prevent a potential arrest or citation by a peace officer.

Can you possess a firearm with a felony conviction in Texas?

Yes, but you have to wait. Section 46.04 of the Texas Penal Code makes it illegal for someone convicted of a felony to possess a firearm. Five years after the completion of the sentence, parole, or probation, the person is no longer prohibited from possessing a firearm at home.

Tough cases call for the toughest lawyers.

Need a Dallas unlawful carry lawyer? Contact Us.

If you or a family member have been arrested or charged with unlawfully carrying a weapon, you need a Dallas unlawful carry lawyer. The criminal defense team at Varghese Summersett includes former prosecutors who will work to win the best possible outcome in your case. Call our team for a free consultation at 214-903-4000.

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