In some instances, it is illegal for certain individuals to be in possession of a firearm. Furthermore, many times when a crime involves the use of a weapon the penalties will automatically be enhanced. This could mean that a crime that is normally considered a misdemeanor can be upgraded to a felony, which would dramatically influence the degree of potential punishment.

The best way to avoid extensive time behind bars is to consult with a defense attorney who may be able to find mitigating factors that could prevent your charges from escalating.

What is Considered a Weapon?

According to Texas Penal Code § 46.01, the following objects are considered weapons, and could lead to criminal charges:

Clubs (nightsticks, maces, tomahawks) 
Explosive objects (bombs, grenades, rockets) 
Hoax bombs 
Firearm silencers 
Zip guns 
Machine guns 
Short-barrel firearms 
Armor-piercing ammunition 
Illegal knifes (blade over five and a half inches) 
Switchblade knives 
Chemical dispensing devices

Common Weapon Offenses Defined by the Texas Penal Code

Most crimes of this nature lead to felony charges. Some of the most common of these offenses include:

Unlawfully Carrying a Weapon: Texas Penal Code § 46.02 states that it is illegal to recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally carry a weapon in a public place.

​Unlawful Possession of a Firearm: Section 46.04 declares that it against the law to possess a firearm if:

 You have been previously convicted of a felony, and have not been out of prison for at least five years.

You are a state employee 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/prison/community supervision for at least five years. 

Unlawfully Carrying a Firearm

According to Section 46.02(a1) of the Texas Penal Code, an individual can be charged with this offense if he or she knowingly, intentionally, or recklessly carries a handgun. Individual can be charged with this offense if:

 The offender is participating in criminal activity
The individual is prohibited from having a firearm in his or her possession
The firearm is in plain sight
The offender is a member of a gang

Places Weapons are Prohibited 

Under Section 46.03 of the Texas Penal Code, an individual can be charged with this offense if the person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly possesses or goes with a firearm, illegal knife, club, or prohibited weapon listed in Section 46.05(a) to a location where they are prohibited. Examples of places that weapons are prohibited under Texas law can include:    

A school or educational institution
Any Courthouse

 A qualified criminal defense lawyer can assist you with any of these charges.

Penalties Commonly Associated with Weapons Crimes

Depending on the circumstances, the offenses mentioned above are usually considered Class A misdemeanors or third degree felonies. A Class A misdemeanor carries a potential jail sentence of up to a year, and/or a fine of up to $4,000. A third degree felony is punishable by 2 to 10 years behind bars, and/or a fine of up to $10,000.If an individual uses or possesses a firearm or other object listed in Section 46.01 of the Texas Penal Code during the commission of a criminal offense, his or her charges can be enhanced. For example, robbery, assault, sexual assault, and kidnapping can be enhanced to aggravated/armed robbery, aggravated assault, aggravated sexual assault, and aggravated kidnapping, respectively.

Concealed Weapon Carry Laws in Texas

​According to Chapter 411 of the Texas Government Code, individuals can legally carry a concealed handgun in Texas if he or she applies for and meets the necessary requirements.In order to be eligible for a license to carry, an individual must:Not have been previously convicted of a felony 
Not have criminal charges pending 
Not have an active restraining or protective order against them 
Be current on child support payments, government fees, and taxes 
Not have a drug or alcohol dependency 
Not have certain diagnosed psychological disordersIf an individual meets the necessary requirements, he or she can receive a license to carry which will grant them the ability to carry a handgun in public places that do not sell alcohol.

Finding a Qualified Lawyer to Defend You against Weapons Charges in Texas

Brent Hardy is an experienced defense attorney who has experience representing individuals who have been charged with crimes involving weapons in San Antonio and the surrounding areas. In order to put yourself in the best position to achieve the outcome you desire, contact The Law Office of Brent R. Hardy today.Call Brent Hardy today at (210) 415-6662 to schedule a consultation about the details surrounding your alleged crime. Your first consultation is free, and it is the first step in fighting to maintain your freedom.