Firearm ownership and usage are deeply ingrained in the culture of Texas, and Dallas is no exception. While people usually think Texas’ “Open Carry” or “Constitutional Carry” laws in recent years means that Texas’ gun laws are wide open, the reality is a lot more complicated. These complications often lead to people getting arrested and charged for carrying a firearm when they thought they could.
Understanding these laws is essential for gun owners in Dallas to avoid potential legal pitfalls. In this blog post, we’ll provide an overview of firearm regulations in Texas with a focus on Dallas-specific aspects, and why having a criminal justice attorney can be crucial for navigating these laws.
Texas Firearm Laws: An Overview
Open Carry: Texas generally allows the open carry of handguns. There are, however, a number of limits to open carry.
- First, you must be 21 years of age or older to open carry.
- Second, you cannot have been convicted of certain assaultive offenses in the five years preceding five years.
- Third, you cannot possess a firearm or ammunition if you’ve been convicted of assault family violence (or had an affirmative finding of family violence even if you weren’t convicted – for instance, as part of a deferred adjudicatino probation).
- Fourth, you cannot carry a firearm while intoxicated.
- Fifth, you cannot display a handgun in the plain view of another person in a public place (except if the handgun is partially or wholly visible in a holster).
- Sixth, you can possess a handgun inside or while you are directly in route to a vehicle you own or that is in your. However, in a vehicle that handgun must not be in plain view (unless the person in possession of it is 21 years of age or older and the handgun is in a holster) and the person must not be engaged in criminal activity (other than a Class C ticket for a traffic offense). So, for example, even if you follow all the other rules above, if you have an otherwise lawful gun in the vehicle in a holster but you’re also in possession of marijuana (or are driving while intoxicated, or you are commiting some other crime), you can be charged with unlawful carrying of a weapon.
- Finally, open carry of long guns (rifles and shotguns) is generally legal without a license.
Firearms on School Property: Possessing firearms on school property is prohibited unless you have written authorization from the school or you are a licensed peace officer.
Stand Your Ground: Texas has a “Stand Your Ground” law. This is a complicated subject, so please see our post on self-defense.
Common Gun Violations in Dallas, Texas
Before delving into the ways a criminal justice attorney can assist you, let’s first explore some of the common gun violations in Dallas:
- Unlawful Possession of a Firearm: Convicted felons, members of criminal street gangs, and people who have been convicted of assault family violence can be charged with unlawful possession of a firearm.
- Unlawful Carrying of a Weapon (UCW): Carrying a weapon in violation of the list of limitations discussed above or carrying certain weapons in prohibited locations (schools, bars, polling locations) can lead to UCW charges.
- Crimes Committed with a Deadly Weapon: If a firearm is used in an act of violence, such as assault or robbery, the charges can escalate to include the use of a deadly weapon (such as aggravated assault with a deadly weapon or aggravated robbery), carrying severe penalties.
Why You Need a Criminal Justice Attorney
Even in a state with a strong pro-gun stance, there are strict laws governing the possession and use of firearms. Facing a gun violation charge in Dallas can be a daunting experience, but with the right legal guidance, you can navigate the complexities of the criminal justice system. These are some of the ways a Criminal Justice Attorney can help:
A criminal justice attorney with experience in gun violation cases understands the intricate details of Texas firearm laws and can provide expert guidance. They can assess the specifics of your case and identify potential weaknesses or opportunities for a strong defense.
Protection of Rights: Your attorney will ensure that your constitutional rights, such as the right to remain silent and the right to a fair trial, are protected throughout the legal process. They will also ensure that any evidence obtained unlawfully is excluded from your case.
Negotiating with Prosecutors: Attorneys can engage in negotiations with prosecutors to seek reduced charges or alternative sentencing options, such as probation or diversion programs, where applicable.
As a responsible gun owner in Dallas, it’s your duty to be aware of and adhere to both state and local firearm regulations. A criminal justice attorney with expertise in firearms can be your best ally in ensuring you understand and follow these laws.
We will provide you with legal expertise, protect your rights, and work tirelessly to achieve the best possible outcome for your case. If you or someone you know is facing a gun violation charge in Dallas, do not hesitate to seek legal counsel and secure the support you need during this difficult time.
Remember, staying informed and having professional legal support can help you navigate the landscape of Texas gun laws with confidence.View All Blogs