A firearms-related offense can result in the loss of freedom and valuable Constitutional rights. While Texas law permits residents to carry a firearm in most public places 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
Since 2021, Texas no longer requires people to have a license to carry (LTC) in order to carry a handgun in most public places. However, holders of a LTC have greater privileges than those without a license. The regulations vary between licensed and unlicensed carriers around schools and colleges. Furthermore, businesses and private property owners generally have the discretion to forbid unlicensed carry, open carry by licensed holders, concealed carry by licensed holders, or a combination of these.
Sections 46.02 and 46.04 of the Texas Penal Code establish the offenses of unlawful carry of a weapon and possession of a firearm. In general, to carry a handgun in public in Texas without an LTC, a person must:
- Be at least 21 years old;
- Not have a prior felony conviction described in Section 46.04 of the Texas Penal Code;
- Not have a recent conviction for certain misdemeanors as described in Section 46.02 and Section 46.04 of the Texas Penal Code;
- Not be subject to a protective order as described in Section 46.04c;
- Not be restricted from possessing a firearm under federal law as described in 18 United States Code Section 922(g);
- Not be intoxicated, unless on your property, as described in Section 46.02(a-6)
If you or a loved one has been accused of unlawful carrying of a weapon or possession of a firearm, it’s important to contact an experienced defense attorney who is knowlegable and current about Texas gun laws and highly skilled at defending gun charges.
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.