Judge pounding gavelThis is the next post in a series about the handling of gun charges in Laredo, Texas. The previous post discussed how search and seizure issues may impact firearm charges. It also stressed the importance of retaining a knowledgeable defense lawyer to protect your rights should you be arrested. In this post, I will examine a Texas law that prohibits certain individuals from possessing firearms. If you are in need of legal counsel, then call my office to speak with an attorney.

Pursuant to Texas Penal Code Section 46.04, state law prohibits previously convicted felons or those convicted of domestic assault from possessing a firearm. The restriction lasts for a period of five years following release from confinement or supervision related to the original offense, such as probation. This is commonly known as the “felon in possession” prohibition. After the expiration of the five-year period, the law prohibits possession of a gun anywhere other than the person’s place of residence.

Even if a criminal record is sealed or expunged, this law will continue to be applicable. Furthermore, the rule does not simply preclude an individual’s ownership of a firearm, but prohibits simply holding, even for a split second, a firearm owned by someone else. Violations of this law can result in serious criminal penalties. A convicted felon who is discovered with a gun during the restricted period may be charged with a third-degree felony under Texas law. A person previously convicted of domestic assault found in possession of a firearm during the five year timeframe may face Class A misdemeanor charges. Finally, if an individual happened to be on parole or probation related to a previous criminal case activity, then their supervision may be revoked.

It is not uncommon for the police to find a firearm in the possession of someone during an arrest for other unrelated criminal activity. In such cases, the perpetrator may face charges for the underlying crime in addition to the violation of the “felon in possession” law. They may also face escalated penalties for the initial crime because a firearm was involved. An assault charge, for example, may be elevated to aggravated assault due to the presence of a gun. If the same individual is already a convicted felon, he may also face illegal possession charges under the Texas Penal Code. There are also Federal Firearm laws which will cover some of the same conduct and must also be considered when representing people who have gun-related charges.

If you have been charged with illegally possessing a firearm under state law, contact my office today to speak with a Laredo defense lawyer. I am committed to providing the highest level of customer service to my clients. Contact my office online or by telephone to speak with a lawyer. My office services Laredo and many areas of south Texas.