While Texas has some of the most favorable weapons laws regarding the ownership and possession of firearms in the country, it is still common for people to be charged with firearm, gun, and weapons crimes.
If you’ve been charged with a weapons offense, you could be facing serious consequences if convicted. These penalties could include large fines, prison time, and a revocation of your right to bear arms. Texas’ weapons laws can be confusing, and you will need an experienced weapons lawyer on your side to guide you and defend you vigorously. When your reputation and future is on the line, don’t try to deal with a weapons charge on your own.
Attorney RJ Harber has more than ten years of experience defending those charged with weapons offenses, and he is ready to fight for you. There is a reason why so many others in Dallas and the surrounding areas have chosen RJ Harber to represent them. His commitment to his clients, reputation for obtaining successful outcomes, and his experience as a former prosecutor make him a solid choice if you need help with a weapons charge.
To schedule a confidential consultation to discuss the charges that you face, contact The Law Offices of RJ Harber at (214) 389-1189 or reach out to online.
Texas Weapons Crime Laws
Texas Penal Code § 46.02 establishes that a person is unlawfully carrying a weapon if they intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly carry on or about their person a handgun or club and are not on their premises or premises under their control, including a motor vehicle or watercraft. This is a Class A misdemeanor, but the offense becomes a third-degree felony if the offense is committed on any premises that sells alcoholic beverages.
Unlawfully carrying a weapon is a Class C misdemeanor a person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly carries a location-restricted knife (defined as a knife with a blade over 5.5 inches), is younger than 18 years of age, is either not on their premises or a premises under their control, or is under the direct supervision of a parent or legal guardian.
It is illegal to intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly possess or go with a firearm, location-restricted knife, club, or prohibited weapon listed in Texas Penal Code § 46.05(a) in the following locations:
- A school or educational institution
- A place of execution
- A polling place
- The secured area of an airport
- A racetrack
- A government court or office
A violation of this statute is a third-degree felony, but Texas Penal Code § 46.03(a-1) also prohibits carrying location-restricted knives in the following locations:
- Places of religious worship
- A business that earns 51 percent or more of its earnings from the sale of alcohol
- An amusement park
- Any area that a high school, college, or professional sporting event or interscholastic event is taking place
- A mental health facility
- A hospital or nursing facility
- A correctional facility
A violation of this statute would be a Class C misdemeanor unless the alleged offender had the knife in their possession while they were on the premises of a school or educational institution, which would make the offense a third-degree felony.
Anyone caught possessing a firearm within five years of being released from confinement, parole, or community supervision for a felony will be charged with the third-degree felony of unlawful possession of a firearm.
A person also commits the third-degree felony of prohibited weapons under Texas Penal Code § 46.05 if they intentionally or knowingly possess, manufacture, transport, repair, or sell any of the following:
- An explosive weapon
- A machine gun
- A short-barrel firearm
- A firearm silencer
- Armor-piercing ammunition
- A chemical dispensing device
- Homemade guns (zip guns)
Under the same statute, an offense involving brass knuckles is a Class A misdemeanor, and a crime involving a tire deflation device is a state jail felony. If the offense occurs within 300 feet of a school, on premises where an official school function is taking place, or at an event sponsored or sanctioned by the University Interscholastic League, a third-degree felony would become a second-degree felony.
Potential Penalties for Weapons Offense Conviction in Texas
Individuals in Texas may face penalties if they:
- Improperly discharge their gun
- Illegally sell or gift a gun
- Use a weapon while committing a crime
- Possess or carry a gun illegally
These are just a few of the common types of charges that individuals face in Dallas and across the state.
Upon conviction, sentencing depends on the classification of the crime. Generally, Texas criminal penalties are as follows:
- Class C Misdemeanor— A fine of up to $500
- Class B Misdemeanor— Up to 180 days in jail and/or fine of up to $2,000
- Class A Misdemeanor— Up to one year in jail and/or fine of up to $4,000
- State Jail Felony— Up to two years in state jail and/or fine of up to $10,000
- Third-Degree Felony— Up to ten years in prison and/or fine of up to $10,000
- Second-Degree Felony— Up to 20 years in prison and/or fine of up to $10,000
A person who is convicted of a weapons crime will often be prohibited from possessing a firearm for five years after their conviction. You will want to make sure you are working with an experienced attorney to protect or restore your gun rights.
How do weapons offenses usually arise?
Gun owners could face charges for a wide variety of reasons. Police may find the weapon during a routine traffic stop or a stop-and-frisk. Law enforcement may be tipped off by another individual if you own or are carrying a weapon illegally. Weapons are often found when law enforcement officers are making an arrest on another charge.
Gun owners in Texas may also find themselves facing weapons charges by accident. This is common at the airport, when the owner forgets that their firearm is in a bag or luggage until the scanners discover the weapon. This mistake often leads to serious legal headaches for otherwise law-abiding citizens, but it is not the end of the world. Contact the experienced criminal defense attorney RJ Harber to get the legal assistance you need to resolve this matter.
What weapons are illegal in Texas?
Unless you have a federal license or if the weapon is an antique made before 1899, the following weapons are illegal in the state:
- Machine guns
- Sawed-off shotguns
- Altered shotguns and shotguns with barrels less than 18 inches long
- Rifles less than 26 inches long
- Rifles with barrels less than 16 inches long
- Zip improvised handguns
If you have been charged with possession of any of the above items or other explosive device, contact RJ Harber right away for help.
How do Texas’ open carry and concealed handgun laws protect me?
As mentioned above, Texas has some of the most owner-friendly gun laws in the country, but the laws still have some restrictions. In 2015, the Texas Legislature signed House Bill 910, allowing Texans who legally own handguns to carry them openly in shoulder or belt holsters in most places without a license. This does not, however, mean that you can carry a concealed firearm without the proper Concealed Handgun License (CHL). You must obtain a CHL license to carry a concealed gun, otherwise, you could face serious criminal charges.
Contact a Dallas Weapons Offense Lawyer
If you were arrested for a weapons offense in the Greater Dallas area, do not wait to seek legal representation. Your guilt must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, and a criminal defense lawyer will know how to help you achieve the most favorable outcome to your case that results in the fewest possible consequences.
Attorney RJ Harber is a valuable ally on your side if you are facing weapons charges because of his experience as a former prosecutor with the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office. He knows how the prosecution will approach your case, he knows how to negotiate for a far outcome, and will build a solid defense on your behalf if the case moves forward.
Call (214) 389-1189 or contact The Law Offices of RJ Harber online to set up a free consultation to discuss the specifics of your situation.