For years, Texans were unable to open or conceal carry a firearm unless they had the appropriate permit or license. A new 2021 bill has changed that indefinitely by legalizing the right to “constitutionally carry” in the state of Texas. HB 1927, also known as the “Permitless Carry Bill,” allows Texans to open or conceal carry a gun as long as they aren’t in a prohibited area and they’re over the age of 21.
The new legislation doesn’t only allow Texan newfound firearm freedoms, but it also permits residents a chance to expunge their records of unlawful carry if they were convicted of the offense before September 1st, 2021. The news means that over 130,000 people will be eligible for expunction according to the Texas District & County Attorney’s Association (TDCAA). Thousands and thousands of people will be able to get a second chance at a clean record and can finally shake off the long-lasting consequences of conviction.
If you have a prior conviction for unlawful carry and wish to expunge it with Texas’s new constitutional carry laws, it’s within your best interest to obtain legal representation.
Cameron County Lawyer for Unlawful Carry Expungement | Brownsville, TX
Were you convicted of unlawful carry before September 1st, 2021? Then you understand the long-lasing struggle it is to have a criminal record. Many people with unlawful carry convictions on their record have issues obtaining employment, housing, and qualifying for a home or business loan. Thankfully, with the passage of HB 1927, the state of Texas now allows unlawful carry offenders like yourself to erase the past and finally expunge their record.
If you’re interested in filing for expungement, call our gun crimes attorneys at The Gracia Law Firm, P.C. . Our record sealing and expungement attorneys at The Gracia Law Firm, P.C. have helped numerous clients move on from their past. We can apply our knowledge, skills, experience and resources to help you scrub your criminal record. Call The Gracia Law Firm, P.C. today at 956-504-2211 to set up your first consultation free of charge.
- Can I Expunge Unlawfully Carry in Texas?
- How to Expunge Your Unlawful Carry Conviction
- Difference Between Record Sealing and Expunction
- Additional Resources
Can I Expunge a Conviction for Unlawfully Carrying a Firearm in Texas?
Decades ago, the state of Texas decided to prohibit expunctions for certain convictions including unlawfully carrying a firearm. At the time, legislators believed barring expungement for unlawful carry would deter offenders from carrying firearms and therefore decrease gun violence in the state of Texas. However, gun violence didn’t decrease at all. The only effect the legislation had is that it caused thousands and thousands of productive citizens to be stuck with a criminal record.
The decision left a lot of Texans with little to no options and over the years it was recorded that over a hundred thousand people were convicted for unlawful carry. Fortunately, change came in the form of a new bill known as HB 1927, also called the “Permitless Carry Bill.” The bill’s passing would mean Texans could open or conceal carry without fear of penalty and it meant anyone with an unlawful carry conviction could expunge it after September 1st, 2021.
It’s important to note the bill only allows Texans to expunge an offense under Texas Penal Code 46.035 and 46.02 if they were convicted before September 1st, 2021. Any convictions after that date cannot be expunged. You can still be charged with unlawful carry if you open or conceal carry in a prohibited area or if you’re under the age of 21.
Expunging Your Unlawful Carry Conviction
The expunction process in Texas isn’t complicated, but any mistake could affect overall proceedings, so it’s important you have legal representation ready. You can finally expunge your unlawful carry conviction on September 1st, 2021. To start the process, you’ll have to file a petition with the district court who had jurisdiction over your case. All expungements must be handled in the court that had jurisdiction over your unlawful carry case.
In Texas, expungements are handled in civil court and once you’ve filed for it, you’ll be referred to as the petitioner. The other party is the respondent and usually they will either be the law enforcement agency that arrested you or the prosecutor who handled your case. The court will give the respondent a 30-day notice of the hearing, so they have a chance to appeal if they wish.
If a judge determines you meet the criteria for it, they will grant the expungement. The court will then destroy all files and records related to your arrest, charge, and conviction. No person or entity will be able to access your criminal record and that includes government agencies.
Differences Between Expungement and Record Sealing in Texas
You’ve probably heard the phrases “expunging” or “sealing” in relation to a person’s record before. What you might not know is that these are two different legal processes with different outcomes. Whether you can expunge or seal your record will depend on if you are eligible and the facts surrounding your charges.
Once you expunge your record, that means no one can access it. Higher education institutions, licensing agencies, employers, and even government agencies will not be able to access your records. You will also be legally permitted to deny any arrest, charges, or conviction in a job interview or any other official meeting without penalty.
Sealing a criminal record is similar to expungement, but some people will still be able to access your records. Some licensing agencies and government entities will have access to your record even after it’s sealed. However, the requirements to seal your record are much laxer than expungement. In Texas, you can seal your record if:
- You were placed on deferred adjudication
- You successfully completed the deferred adjudication
- You waited the appropriate time period to file an order of nondisclosure with the court who had jurisdiction over your charges
- You were convicted of any criminal offense between the time of your deferred adjudication and the filing for non-disclosure
Permitless Carry Bill or HB 1927 – Visit the official website for the Texas Legislature Online to learn about the Permitless Carry Bill or HB 1927. Access the site to see the authors of the bill, co-authors, the contents of the bill, bills amendments in both the House and Senate, as well as the signature by Governor Greg Abbott.
Unlawful Carry Laws in Texas – Visit the official website for the Texas Statutes and Penal Code to read up on their laws regarding firearms and unlawfully carrying a firearm. Access the site to read more about areas where firearm possession is illegal, signage needed to bar firearms, and other important information related to firearms in Texas.
Brownsville Unlawful Carry Defense Attorney |Texas Expungement Lawyer
If you or someone you know has been convicted for unlawfully carrying a firearm, then we highly encourage you to call our experienced and skilled lawyers at The Gracia Law Firm, P.C. . Our attorneys have decades of collective experience assisting people with record seals and expunctions. We can assess your charges/conviction to determine if you’re eligible and if so, start the process right away.
Call The Gracia Law Firm, P.C. at 956-504-2211 to set up your first consultation. The Gracia Law Firm, P.C. has offices set up in Cameron County, but accepts clients throughout the state of Texas including Hidalgo County and Willacy County, Texas.