Texans have every right to defend themselves and their families. The right to self protection is enshrined in the Second Amendment of the Constitution, a right many Texans take very seriously. That right is not, however, unlimited. The state does place restrictions on what type of weapons can be possessed, where weapons can be possessed, and who can possess certain weapons.
A conviction for a weapons related offense is not something anyone wants on their criminal record. The consequences can be harsh and the right to possess a weapon may be taken away.
Brownsville Attorney for Weapon Charges
The people of the United States are more sensitive to firearm and weapon crimes more now than ever. If you are facing criminal weapons charges, you will need an experienced attorney to protect your rights and ensure the proceedings against you are fair. The attorneys of The Gracia Law Firm, P.C. represent clients accused of weapons crimes through out the Rio Grande Valley including Hidalgo County, Willacy, County, and Cameron County.
If you are in danger of facing prison time, steep fines, and losing your right to defend yourself, make sure you find an experienced attorney as soon as possible. Call The Gracia Law Firm, P.C. at 956-504-2211 and make an appointment to come in and discuss your case with us. We will give you an honest evaluation of your case and will help you take your next steps.
Please note, on September 1st, 2021 Texans will be able to expunge unlawfully carry convictions if they were prior to that date. Learn how you can expunge your unlawfully carrying a firearm conviction here.
Weapon Charges Information Center
- Assault with a Deadly Weapon
- Prohibited Weapons
- Unlawful Possession of a Firearm
- Unlawful Transfer of Weapons
Assault with a Deadly Weapon
In Texas, the crime of assault is defined as either intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing bodily injury, threatening another with bodily injury, or making contact with a person knowing that the other person will regard the contact as provocative. Generally, assault is considered a misdemeanor that carries a penalty of up to one year in jail and a maximum fine of $4,000.
The penalties are escalated when weapons become involved. If during an assault you show or use a deadly weapon, the assault becomes aggravated assault, a second degree felony and potentially a first degree felony under certain circumstances.
First of all, a deadly weapon can be almost anything. Under the Texas penal code, a deadly weapon means a firearm or anything designed or adapted for the purpose of inflicting death or serious bodily injury. When most people think of a deadly weapon, they think of knives and guns, both of which fit the description. Texas’ definition of a deadly weapon also includes anything in the manner of its use or intended use is capable of causing death or serious bodily injury. That means anything from a baseball bat, to a car, to your own fists could be considered a deadly weapon as long as it was capable of causing death or serious bodily injury.
A conviction for assault with a deadly weapon is punished as a second degree felony and carries potential punishments of a fine up to $10,000 and a prison sentence between 2 and 20 years. However, assault with a deadly weapon can be elevated to a first degree felony if the assault causes serious bodily injury to a family member, is against a public servant, or is against a witness. Assault with a deadly weapon can also become a first degree felony if the offender shoots a firearm from a vehicle at a building or vehicle that is occupied and causes serious bodily injury. This type of assault is commonly referred to as a drive by shooting.
Texas may be lax when it comes to firearm laws but there are certain weapons that are flat out banned by Texas law. The list of banned weapons includes:
- Explosive Weapons;
- Machine Guns;
- Short-barreled firearms;
- Firearm silencer;
- Armor Piercing Ammunition;
- Chemical Dispensing Device;
- Zip Gun;
- Tire Deflation Device; or
- Improvised Explosive Device (IED)
Those weapons and devices are banned for all purposes including possessing, manufacturing, transporting, repairing, or selling. Being caught with such a weapon is considered a class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in prison and a fine up to $4,000.
Unlawful Possession of a Firearm
While the Second Amendment gives Americans the right to possess firearms, it is not an unlimited right that applies to everybody. Certain classes of people can be excluded from possessing a firearm. In Texas, it is an offense for a convicted felon to possess a firearm.
Those convicted of a felony are barred from possessing a firearm for five years after they are either released from prison, complete community supervision, or complete parole whichever date is later. Even after that five year period, a convicted felon may have a gun but only in their own home.
People convicted for domestic violence are also banned from possessing a firearm for five years. Likewise, people who are subject to a protective order or restraining order can be prohibited from possessing a firearm for the duration the order is in place. A felon unlawfully possessing a gun is committing a third degree felony which could result in prison time of between 2 and 10 years. A person who has been convicted of domestic violence or who breeches a protective order is facing a Class A misdemeanor which carries a sentence of up to a year in prison.
Unlawful Transfer of Weapons
The state also bars certain transfers of firearms. Transfers under the law include sales, rentals, loans, or simply giving a gun to someone else. Below is a list of prohibited weapons transfers in the state of Texas.
Transfers to Those Intending to Commit a Crime – First, we obviously do not want to let people who are about to commit a crime a firearm. Texas actually criminalizes transferring handguns to people who are planning to use the weapon to commit an unlawful act if it is known that person plans to act illegally.
Transfers to Under 18 – Children under the age of 18 cannot have firearms, clubs, or location restricted knifes transferred to them. You cannot even offer to give such weapons to a person under 18. However, a parent of a child under 18 can consent to the transfer.
Transfers to Intoxicated Persons – It is illegal to transfer firearms or ammunition to a person that you know is intoxicated or should have known is intoxicated.
Transfers to Felons and Those Under Protective Orders – If it is illegal for felons and those under protective orders to possess a firearm, it makes sense it would also be illegal to knowingly transfer weapons and ammunition to them. It is specifically illegal to transfer handguns to those under protective order.
Firearm Offenses Resource Center
Weapons Offenses | Texas Penal Code – There is no substitute for reading the actual law itself. Following this link will take you to the section of the Texas statutes that deals with weapons offenses. The statute also provides definitions of terms you may take for granted.
Gun Laws | Texas State Law Library – The Texas State Law Library has collected various statutes and guides that related to firearm laws. There are sections on both federal and state law. There is also an “Explained in Plain English” section which has resources that help decipher the legalese.
Cameron County Firearm Offense Attorney
A firearm offense in Texas can have dire consequences. Firearm charges are very fact specific and defending against those charges requires a skilled attorney. If you are concerned about a firearm or weapons charge against you, reach out to the attorneys of The Gracia Law Firm, P.C. .
We serve Cameron County and surrounding areas including Brownsville and South Padre Island. We are experience litigators and we want to help defend your rights. Call us today at 956-504-2211 to make an appointment to discuss your case with us.