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Can I Go to Jail for a Gun Charge in Texas?

Posted on September 20, 2022 in

The complexity of firearms and the laws that are attached to them can sometimes land individuals in quite a bit of trouble. Whether it be a misunderstanding with open carry laws or the concealment of the firearm in an automobile, a Houston assault attorney from the Law Office of David A. Breston is able to help you determine the implications of a first-time firearm-related charge.

What First-Time Offenders Need to Know

While guns are hotly debated on local, state, and national levels, the laws that govern their use on each level can be quite confusing. In any case, Texas can have some pretty serious responses to gun-related crimes despite its national notoriety for freedoms related to firearms. 

The first thing for first-time offenders to remember is that context and history are important in the eyes of the law. Charges and punishments can vary depending on the circumstances, meaning someone with a criminal history or who is a felon may receive harsher punishments and less leeway than someone who has maintained a clear record. The most important distinction that this brings about is the difference between receiving a misdemeanor charge or a felony. 

Texas Penal Codes Addressing Gun-Related Crimes

Texas Penal Code Section 46.02 states that a person would be unlawfully carrying a weapon if they “intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly [carry] a handgun on or about their person; and”:

  • Do so while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs; or 
  • Display the firearm in plain view while in public unless it was holstered; or 
  • Is under the age of 21; or 
  • Has been convicted of a crime that otherwise prohibits them from possessing a firearm. 

Further conditions may apply if the crime was committed in or while operating a motor vehicle or watercraft as well. 

Another law concerning unlawful firearm usage in the state of Texas is Penal Code 46.04, which addresses the possession and use of firearms for those recently released from prison. According to the law, those who have been released from serving a felony prison sentence may not possess a firearm for five years after the date of their release. An assault-family violence charge, restraining order against oneself, or domestic violence conviction may also further prohibit someone from owning a firearm. 

Potential Punishments for First Timers

In most cases, an individual’s first-time gun charge will subject them to a Class A misdemeanor. This charge may or may not result in jail time but carries a maximum sentence of just under a year. Furthermore, first-time misdemeanor offenders will also have to pay a fine of or under $4,000. Once again, the nature and context of the crime have the potential to influence how severe the sentencing will be. 

Alternatively, those who receive a felony for their first-time gun charge can expect to see heavier jail times of up to 10 years. In the same stroke, someone being convicted of a felony may have to pay fines of $10,000 dollars. Even so, it is possible to get probation for a felony gun charge. In this case, the penalty would be unlikely to change, and the length of probation could be up to 10 years long. 

A Gun Crime Attorney by Your Side

In order to properly handle the penal codes, laws, and regulations regarding first-time firearm charges, a Houston criminal defense attorney from the Law Office of David A. Breston is imperative. Our lawyers have the experience needed to appropriately and passionately defend you. Reach out to our firm as soon as possible by calling (713) 804-6492.

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