When it comes to gun crimes, prosecutors tend to be aggressive. Gun crimes sometimes carry long prison sentences. If you have been charged with a crime involving firearms, you need an experienced lawyer on your side.
The attorneys at Hoeller McLaughlin PLLC know how to challenge the prosecution’s evidence and ensure that jurors hear your side of the story. We defend people against all types of gun charges from illegal possession to manufacturing or selling guns.
If you have been arrested or charged with a firearm offense, a Fort Worth gun charge lawyer can help keep you out of jail and possibly avoid a criminal conviction.
Texas Gun Laws
In Texas, anyone over the age of 21 who is not a felon can legally possess a firearm. As of September 2021, as part of our state’s open carry law, Texas law no longer requires you to have a license to carry (LTC) in order to carry a handgun in many public places.
However, if you are not licensed by the state to carry a concealed weapon and do so anyway, then it is considered illegal possession of a firearm and you can face criminal charges and need a lawyer. Just because Texas has broader carrying laws than many other states doesn’t mean you won’t face harsh penalties.
Weapons Offenses You May Be Facing
When you think about weapons charges, you may think of situations where someone was injured by a weapon. But that’s not the only way you can face legal consequences for owning or carrying a gun.
The laws in Texas are very specific. Because of this, it’s important to talk about your charges and what happened exactly with your gun charge lawyer. Here are some of the most common weapons offenses in Texas:
- Improperly discharging a gun
- Illegally possessing or carrying a weapon
- Unlawful possession
- Felon in possession of a weapon
- Unlawfully selling a weapon
State law defines what charges and punishments can be brought against you for weapon-related offenses. It’s best to enlist the help of a gun charge lawyer if you think you’ve violated the law, especially if you have prior convictions. Most judges in the Texas court system don’t allow a lack of knowledge of Texas law as a valid defense.
What Are Weapons-Free Zones?
Unlawful possession in a weapons-free zone is considered a more serious crime. Even if you were unaware of the law, you can be charged with this crime. If you’re arrested, you may need a lawyer fast. You could face jail time, fines, and a lifelong mark on your criminal record just being caught unaware.
In Texas, you can be charged with possession of a weapon in a weapons-free zone if you have a weapon on your person or in your vehicle and the place where you are carrying it is within 1,000 feet of any prohibited places.
The following are examples of situations that may lead to charges for violating this law:
- Schools and School Zones – Protecting the safety of children is vital. Guns in schools may lead to serious or fatal accidents, and so schools are expected to be gun-free.
- Stadiums – Carrying a gun into a theater or stadium with a seating capacity of more than 1,000 people can be dangerous. Because of this, you may be arrested and face serious penalties if you’re arrested for carrying a firearm into these spaces.
- Airports and Train Stations – Bringing a gun onto Amtrak property or into an airport terminal building or baggage area may get you in a lot of trouble. Guns and other weapons may be a threat to others or may be used in public attacks on other people, so it’s illegal to bring guns into these places.
- Courthouses or Public Buildings – Any public building may have metal detectors at the entrances and security guards at every door, including courthouses. Because of this, they may notice you have a weapon on your person and arrest you.
- Prisons or Detention Centers – A firearm in the wrong hands can quickly turn into a dangerous or even deadly situation. Reach out to a lawyer if you’ve been arrested because you were accused of carrying a gun into a prison or detention center.
In other words, if you have a gun on you at any time outside of these places and are within 1,000 feet of them, you can be charged with this offense.
If you’ve been charged with possessing a firearm in a weapons-free zone, you may need to hire an experienced lawyer right away. They can help you fight the charges and get your life back on track.
Call a Fort Worth Gun Charge Attorney for Aid
We know what it takes to build an effective defense strategy that will help you get through this difficult time and start rebuilding your life as soon as possible. Your Fort Worth gun charge lawyer will know how Texas laws apply to your case. We have years of experience defending people against all manner of gun-related charges.
The lawyers at Hoeller McLaughlin PLLC are ready to help. If you’ve been accused of a gun crime, reach out to us for guidance on your case. Give us a call at 817-334-7900 or fill out our online form and a member of our staff will get in touch with you.