Fort Worth Gun Charges Lawyer

Do You Need an Experienced Fort Worth Gun Crime Lawyer?

Are you or someone you know facing a gun charge or weapons charge in Fort Worth or a surrounding city in Tarrant County, Texas? If so, you need a team of criminal defense attorneys experienced in handling gun and weapons charges who can aggressively represent you and possibly help get your gun or weapons charge dismissed.

If you have been charged with a gun crime in the Fort Worth area, it is likely that you are facing misdemeanor or felony charges that could result in life-changing circumstances if you are convicted. Since your freedom is at stake, it is critical that you hire an attorney who specializes in gun crime defense and is respected by the judges and prosecutors in the Tarrant County criminal justice system.

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What Is Texas Law Regarding Possession Of Guns And Other Weapons?

First, let's examine the change in Texas Gun Laws that occurred in September 2021. Prior to September 2021, in order to get a license to carry a handgun, you were required to pass a background check, complete a gun safety course, and prove that you are capable of safely and properly firing a handgun. If you had a questionable criminal history, the State of Texas could reject your handgun owner application.

However, effective September 2021, individuals 21 years of age and older can legally possess a handgun without a license to carry it outside their homes and/or vehicles. It is important to understand that although you must be 18 years of age or older to PURCHASE a gun, there is no age requirement for possessing a firearm.

What if you have been arrested for illegal gun possession? Do you have a viable criminal defense that could lead to a dismissal of the charges? In order to adequately prepare for your criminal defense of a weapons charge, we must first examine what Texas criminal law defines as a weapons crime. Normally, this will involve the concept of possession and whether the State of Texas can affirmatively link the weapon to you.

Consult with a weapon and gun charges lawyer at the Fulgham Law Firm to learn more about the specific crime(s) involved in your case, the possible penalties, and whether you can raise a strong defense against the charges you are facing. In the meantime, here is a quick summary of some of the most commonly charged weapon offenses in Texas.

Unlawful Carry Of A Weapon (UCW) Texas Laws

If you are being charged with unlawful carrying of a weapon, you could be facing a jail sentence or a long probation that could affect your employment and clean criminal record. Generally speaking, it is against the law to carry a handgun, illegal knife, or club in “plain view” if you are not on your own premises or property.

Texas Penal Code §46.02 states that a person commits the offense of unlawful carrying of a weapon if the person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly carries on or about his or her person a handgun, illegal knife, or club if the person is not:

  • on the person’s own premises or premises under the person’s control; or
  • inside of or directly en route to a motor vehicle that is owned by the person or under the person’s control.

A person commits a UCW offense if the person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly carries on or about his or her person a handgun in a motor vehicle that is owned by the person or under the person’s control at any time in which:

  • The handgun is in plain view, or
  • The person is:
    • engaged in criminal activity other than a Class C misdemeanor that is a violation of a law or ordinance regulating traffic;
    • prohibited by law from possessing a firearm or
    • a member of a criminal street gang, as defined by Section 71.01.

The most common scenario where people are arrested and charged with Unlawful Carrying a Weapon is when they are pulled over for Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) or suspicion of drug possession. For example, we have helped many clients with concealed carry licenses who were pulled over and ultimately arrested for DWI. It was not a crime to carry a gun in the car. However, the moment the officer believed they committed the additional crime of DWI, Texas law permitted the arrest for Unlawful Carrying of a Weapon (UCW).

Under Texas criminal law, the crime of Unlawful Carrying of a Weapon is classified as a Class A Misdemeanor. If convicted, you could face up to one year in the county jail and up to a $4,000 fine. If you are a first-time offender, you will likely avoid jail time but could face a probation term of up to 2 years, along with court costs, probation fees, and the cost of classes or other court-ordered requirements.

Possession of A Prohibited Weapon Charges

Texas Penal Code §46.05 states that a person commits the offense of possession of a prohibited weapon if he intentionally or knowingly possesses, manufactures, transports, repairs, or sells:

  1. an explosive weapon;
  2. a machine gun;
  3. a short-barrel firearm;
  4. a firearm silencer;
  5. a switchblade knife;
  6. knuckles;
  7. armor-piercing ammunition;
  8. a chemical dispensing device or
  9. a zip gun.

What are the Possible Consequences of a Conviction for Possession of a Prohibited Weapon?

The punishment for possession of a prohibited weapon is a third-degree felony, punishable by a term in prison of not less than two years but up to 10 years and a fine of up to $10,000. However, if the prohibited weapon is only a switchblade knife or knuckles, the crime will be classified as a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in the county jail and up to a $4,000 fine.

Possible Defenses a Weapon Attorney Can Raise Against Gun Crimes In Texas

If you have been charged with unlawful carrying of a weapon or possession of a prohibited weapon, it is critical that you hire an experienced and aggressive criminal defense attorney with a proven track record of developing winning defense strategies for weapon crimes. Let's examine some of the possible legal defenses that might apply to your case.

Lack of Criminal Intent

In order to convict you of a gun possession charge, the State of Texas must prove that you “intentionally, knowingly or recklessly” carried the gun or weapon. What if the weapon in your vehicle was not registered to you, and you had no knowledge that the weapon was in the car?

For example, we have represented clients who were arrested for UCW (unlawful carrying of a weapon) because a gun was found in the car they were riding in. Because the gun was in close proximity to our client, the police immediately assigned criminal intent to our client and arrested them for unlawful carrying of a weapon. Because other people were in the car, our skilled criminal attorneys argued that criminal intent could not be proven.

You Were On Your Own Premises

Were you at your home or a place under your control at the time the weapon was found? If so, the police may have wrongfully arrested you for the crime of Unlawful Carrying of a Weapon. We have seen this happen when the police arrive at a business location and arrest someone for possessing a weapon. If it was your business or the premises were under your control at the time, your criminal lawyer could gather evidence to help establish you were not unlawfully carrying a weapon.

You Were Innocent Of The Underlying Criminal Offense

This is one of the most common legal defenses that can be successfully used to obtain a dismissal for UCW in Texas. If you were arrested for unlawfully carrying a weapon because the police believed you were intoxicated, your lack of intoxication could be a primary defense for your criminal defense lawyer to raise.

For example, the police pull you over for DWI, they search you and your car, and they arrest you for DWI and UCW. Upon completion of the investigation, it was determined that your blood alcohol level was under 0.08. Should you have to take a plea to unlawful carrying of a weapon? NO! If the State of Texas, through the district attorney’s office, is unable to prove the underlying criminal offense that was the basis of your arrest, in this case, the DWI charge, they will be required to dismiss your unlawful carrying of a weapon case as well.

As such, we have had a number of DWI clients who have gone to trial and received a not-guilty verdict. As a result, the unlawful carrying of a weapon verdict had to be not guilty as well because, without the DWI conviction, the weapon charge must fail. If you are not guilty of the underlying crime, you should also be not guilty of the UCW charge.

Lack Of Proof Beyond A Reasonable Doubt

Did the police conduct a thorough investigation? Can the prosecutor prove criminal intent? Can they prove the underlying offense that was the basis of the arrest? Did you exercise care, custody, or control over the gun or weapon when the police found it? All of these issues should be examined thoroughly by your gun crime lawyer.

Criminal attorneys know that the State of Texas always maintains the burden to prove a criminal case. In fact, the government must always prove a criminal case by proof beyond a reasonable doubt. This standard is the highest standard in the United States legal system and is designed to ensure the government does not convict an innocent person.

You are always entitled to a criminal jury trial. If the State of Texas cannot prove the crime of unlawful carrying of a weapon or possession of a prohibited weapon beyond a reasonable doubt, you will be exonerated and may be entitled to an expunction of your criminal record.

Trust the Fort Worth Gun Crime Lawyers at the Fulgham Law Firm When You are Facing Weapons Charges

If you have been arrested and charged with a weapons offense in Fort Worth, Arlington, or in Tarrant and surrounding counties, you need a skilled Fort Worth criminal lawyer. A weapons conviction could carry the possibility of jail time and extensive future problems.

At the Fulgham Law Firm, our goal is to prevent jail time and to achieve a result that helps you clear your criminal record. Do not gamble with your freedom and your future!

Fulgham Hampton Criminal Defense Attorneys team provides a Fort Worth criminal law practice focused on passionately defending the accused. You will work with a team of former prosecutors with over 80 years of combined criminal law experience and over 500 criminal jury trials in the courts of Fort Worth and Tarrant County, Texas.

Contact our office now at 817-877-3030 for a free and confidential consultation with our team of dedicated gun crime lawyers.

Call us right now to get help.

(817) 877-3030

We have helped hundreds of people in Texas, and we can help you, too. Call us now for a free conversation to help you decide what to do next. Fulgham Hampton Criminal Defense Attorneys serves Fort Worth and Tarrant County areas.