The right to possess a gun is enshrined in the Bill of Rights and has become central to many people’s lives around the state. The state presumes legal gun ownership, and most people can openly carry a firearm in public without a license. However, committing a gun offense is still a serious criminal matter. Illegally owning or possessing a firearm is an offense; and it is illegal to use a gun to aid in the commission of a separate criminal offense. A conviction under any of these statutes could lead to jail time or a lengthy prison sentence and forever losing the right to own a firearm in the future.
An Allen gun lawyer could help when a person is facing accusations of any crime involving a gun. Our team can work to explain the state’s firearm laws and develop defense strategies to protect your rights and freedoms in court. A defense attorney is willing to do what is necessary to protect your legal rights while giving your case the attention it needs.
When is Possessing a Firearm Illegal?
It is possible to separate the laws regulating the safe use of firearms into two categories. The first are laws limiting who may own a gun and where they may legally take it. Some people can never legally possess a firearm. According to Texas Penal Code § 46.04, any person with a felony conviction must wait at least five years after the end of their sentence—whether they went to prison or served a probation–to legally possess a firearm. Similar rules prevent a person with a prior family violence assault conviction from having a gun.
Additionally, some people may find their right to possess a gun temporarily restricted. Typically, this includes people facing domestic violence or drug charges. If a person is considered by law enforcement of being a member of a criminal street gang, they are never allowed to carry a gun with them in a car.
Even if the law does not prohibit a person from owning a firearm, certain laws limit where a person may take that weapon. Texas Penal Code § 46.03 lists places where a person may never bring a gun, including:
- School property—including busses or events sponsored by a school
- Voting locations
- Jails and courts
- Mental hospitals
- Amusement parks
A person who is licensed to carry a gun may also commit a gun offense if they improperly carry their gun or if they carry the gun in a prohibited place. An Allen attorney could clarify the laws that control responsible gun ownership.
Having a Gun During the Commission of Another Criminal Offense
The second group of laws controlling safe gun use relates to using of a gun to commit a criminal act. Even people who legally own firearms cannot use those weapons to commit violence or threaten to do so.
Typically, using a gun to commit an assault automatically upgrades what would have been a misdemeanor-level offense to a felony. Having a firearm in one’s possession while committing an assault is an aggravating factor that makes an assault case far more serious.
Finally, the use of a firearm can be an aggravating factor in other offenses, such as burglary, robbery, or kidnapping. Convictions can carry prison sentences. A lawyer in Allen could help develop a defense against any allegation of illegal gun use.
Reach Out to an Allen Gun Lawyer Immediately
Facing accusations of illegal gun use can be frightening and confusing. Even if a person legally owns a firearm, they may still face criminal charges if they do not follow the law. In other scenarios, charges of assault, drug possession, or theft become much more serious when police allege a weapon was at the scene. Convictions for gun charges can range in seriousness from misdemeanors to harsh felonies. You must take aggressive steps to protect yourself and your rights.
Hiring an Allen gun lawyer should be one of those steps. A legal representative works to hear your side of the story and compares it against the language of the statute. Our team can evaluate the strength of the prosecutor’s case to recommend a plan of action. Finally, we can protect your Constitutional rights in police custody and court. Contact our office today to learn more about how we could help.