We live in a world that can sometimes be dangerous, and many of us must commute to work or school through areas that are known to be high in criminal activity. Because of this, quite a few people have learned to carry some sort of weapon to use in self-defense.
When You Need a Defense Lawyer for Weapons Charges in Travis County
However, since the laws that regulate the possession of a gun or firearm can be complex (and also vary from state to state), there are sometimes misunderstandings. People who own and carry guns are sometimes confronted by members of law enforcement and may be charged with some type of weapons offense. If this happens to you, you need to speak with a weapon charges defense attorney, such as one of the experienced legal crime defense attorneys available at The Law Offices of James Gill, PLLC of Austin, Texas.
Types of Weapons in Texas
The following list of objects are all considered weapons in the state of Texas under Texas Penal Code 46.01:
- Clubs (nightsticks, blackjacks, maces, tomahawks)
- Explosive Weapons (bombs, grenades, rockets, mines)
- Firearm silencers
- Location Restricted Knife (knife with a blade over five and one-half inches)
- Machine Guns
- Short-barrel Firearms
- Armor-piercing Ammunition
- Hoax Bombs
- Chemical Dispensing Devices
- Zip Guns
- Tire Deflation Device
- Improvised Explosive Device
For example, weapons in this category vary from state to state but often include sawed-off shotguns, guns that have large-capacity magazines, or cannon-type guns that deliver an explosive type of ammunition. Since these types of weapons are not usually appropriate for use with self-defense, owning them is against the law unless you have a special license.
Types of Weapon Offenses in Austin, Texas
There are several factors that can lead to a weapons charge. The type of weapon offense charge depends on your past record amongst other conditions. The following charges are some of the most common offenses that are charged in Travis County.
Unlawfully Carrying Weapons
Texas Penal Code 46.02 states that it is illegal to recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally carry a weapon in a public place that is not inside of or directly en route to a motor vehicle or watercraft that is owned by the person or under the person’s control.
Unlawfully Carrying Firearm
Under Texas Penal Code 46.02 (a-1), the section states that it against the law to possess a firearm and a crime is committed if the person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly carries on or about his or her person a handgun in a motor vehicle or watercraft that is owned by the person and the following conditions are met:
- Person is engaged in criminal activity
- Person is prohibited from having a firearm
- Firearm is in plain view
- Person is a member of a street gang
Unlawful Possession of Firearm
Texas Penal Code 46.04 states that a crime is committed under the following conditions:
- A person who has been convicted of a felony commits an offense and possesses a firearm and has not been out of prison for at least five years
- An employee of a state agency or political subdivision and currently have a protective or restraining order out against you
- You have been convicted of domestic assault, and have not been out of jail or prison supervision for at least five years
Places Weapons Prohibited
Under Texas Penal Code 46.03, a person commits this offense if the offender intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly possesses a firearm, location-restricted knife, club, or prohibited weapon to any of the following locations:
- Physical premises of a school or educational institution or vehicle
- Premises of a polling place or an early voting location
- Premises of any government court or offices utilized by the court (unless authorized by the court) such as Travis County Courthouse
- Premises of Travis County Jail
- Secured area of the Austin Airport
Types of Weapon Charge Penalties
The charges and offenses detailed under Types of Weapon Offenses are generally Class A misdemeanors or third degree felonies. A Class A misdemeanor can carry a potential jail sentence of up to a year with a fine of up to $4,000. A third degree felony is punishable of a minimum of two years and up to 10 years in jail, and a possible fine of up to $10,000. Under Section 46.01 of the Texas Penal Code, a person who uses or possesses a firearm or other prohibited weapon during the charge of a criminal offense can have their charges enhanced.
What Are Some Defenses for a Weapons Charge?
There are a few possible defenses that can be used against a weapons charge. One strong defense against a weapons charge is that the gun that is found with its owner was not illegal in the first place. For example, if a certain type of gun could hold a large capacity magazine and is not being carried in public but is shown in a collector’s display case in someone’s home and it isn’t loaded and the owner has no ammunition for it—it may not be illegal, as it is merely part of a collection.
Another possible defense is that a gun that is found with someone actually belongs to someone else. For example, if someone is a passenger in a car and the owner of the car has a gun in the glove compartment for self-defense, if the car is pulled over by the police, the passenger could argue that he doesn’t own the gun and didn’t even know it was there at the time that he was in the vehicle. An experienced defense attorney like one from The Law Offices of James Gill, PLLC can build a defense for you if you’ve been charged with a weapons offense.
Call to Schedule a Consultation with a Weapon Charges Defense Attorney in Austin, Texas Today
If you’ve been charged with a weapons offense, call to schedule a consultation with a weapons charges defense attorney in Austin, Texas today. A weapons charge is a serious offense, and an attorney will know the law to apply in those cases to work with you to manage the case to an advantageous conclusion.
This is not the time to try to sort out the law yourself, where this type of conviction will be a detrimental and life-changing event for you if you’re not represented properly in court proceedings in this scenario. The legal professionals at The Offices of James Gill, PLLC are dedicated to defending your rights. Call us at 512-448-4560 and let us evaluate your case to build the best weapons charges defense for you.