A firearms-related offense can result in the loss of freedom and valuable Constitutional rights. While Texas law permits residents to obtain a License to Carry (LTC) and use firearms for self-defense, the penalties associated with a violation of the state’s gun laws could include a hefty prison term and fines.
If you are charged with a firearms offense, it is important to enlist the assistance of an experienced Fort Worth gun lawyer as soon as possible. A seasoned criminal attorney will help you understand the potential penalties and build the best defense possible on your behalf.
Fort Worth Gun Laws
Texas Penal Code Section 46.02 establishes the offense of unlawful carrying a weapon. If you do not have a license to carry, there are only two places you can possess a firearm:
- On your own property, or a property under your control; and
- Inside your vehicle or water craft.
You are permitted to carry your firearm from your property to your vehicle and back.
To carry the firearm most anywhere elsewhere, you need a license to carry. There, however, some exceptions under Penal Code Section 46.15. These include:
- Special exceptions under certain circumstances for peace officers, parole officers, probation officers, judges, retired peace officers, prosecutors, etc
- Hunting, fishing, or other sporting activity on the immediate premises where the activity is conducted, or is en route between the premises and the actor’s residence, motor vehicle, or watercraft, if the weapon is a type commonly used in the activity;
There are certain places where firearms are explicitly forbidden to carry a gun, including at schools, polling locations, courthouses, and racetracks.
For a person to be considered eligible for a License to Carry a Handgun, they must meet certain criteria, including:
- Being over 21 years of age
- Completing required training courses
- Having no previous felony convictions
- Completing and passing a background investigation
- Not depending on drugs or other illegal substances
Gun Charges in Fort Worth
There are numerous types of gun charges that may be levied against someone in Texas including:
- Unlawful possession by a felon
- Unlawful carrying of a weapon
- Reckless discharge of a firearm
- Unlawful transfer or sale of a firearm
- Possession of a Firearm in a Prohibited Place (Airport Gun cases)
A conviction for unlawful gun possession by a felon or reckless discharge of a firearm could be charged as a felony. If a Fort Worth resident is facing gun charges of any kind, it’s important to contact a gun lawyer as soon as possible to make sure your legal interests are protected.
Possible Punishments for Unlawful Firearms
The punishments associated with a firearm offense depend on the class under which it is charged. Misdemeanor gun charges may be charged as Class A, B, or C crimes, while felony gun charges could fall into the first-degree, second-degree, third-degree, and or state jail categories.
A first-degree felony conviction carries the harshest punishments, including anywhere from five years to lifetime confinement, plus up to a $10,000 fine. A second-degree felony may be punished by confinement of up to 20 years in prison, plus a maximum $10,000 fine.
If someone is convicted of a third-degree felony, they may face up to a $10,000 fine and as many as ten years in jail. State jail felonies carry a maximum two-year jail sentence, along with a $10,000 fine.
While the penalties associated with a misdemeanor conviction may be less severe than felony punishments, they still require the skilled defense of a qualified Fort Worth gun attorney. For a misdemeanor conviction, an individual may face fines of up to $4,000 and up to a year in county jail.
An individual convicted of a crime could find it difficult to obtain gainful employment, get into a university, and secure professional licensure. Other adverse consequences could include diminished visitation rights, travel restrictions, visa or residency denial, and deportation.
A Fort Worth Gun Attorney Can Defend You
Facing criminal accusations can be frightening. You may be unsure of how to best defend yourself against firearms charges. A Fort Worth gun lawyer at Varghese Summersett will explain the process and protect your rights every step of the way. We have handled countless state and federal gun cases and other weapons violations charges. We have the knowledge and experience to thoroughly evaluate your case and craft the best possible defense. To discuss your options, call today to set up a free case evaluation.