When it comes to carrying weapons in Texas, the laws can be tricky. It’s important to know what you can and can’t do. Whether you have a concealed firearm or pocketknife, understanding the laws about carrying a weapon can help you stay out of trouble.

But if you are charged with a crime, our Dallas defense attorneys are here to help.

Unlawful Carrying of a Weapon in Texas

In Texas, there are different terms that people often mix up when it comes to weapon charges. One is Unlawful Carrying of a Weapon (UCW). The other is Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by a Felon. These are not the same thing.

Unlawful Possession of a Firearm is a felony. This means it’s a very serious crime. It applies to people who are not allowed to have a gun because of a past crime. People often call this Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by a Felon or UPF Felon.

Unlawful Carrying of a Weapon is different. This is usually a misdemeanor, which is less severe than a felony. This law applies to everyone, not just felons. It means you can’t carry a weapon in certain places or situations.

Texas Gun Laws for Unlawful Carrying

The state laws about carrying weapons in Texas are found in Texas Penal Code Section 46.02.

Carrying means having a weapon on your person, like in your pocket or bag. There are places and situations where carrying a weapon is not allowed. These include schools, bars, and other restricted areas. It’s also illegal to carry a weapon if you are doing something else illegal, like committing a crime or being drunk.

Weapons Covered Under UCW

Texas law covers more than just guns. It includes other weapons like knives and clubs. So, you need to be careful with any weapon you carry.

What Circumstances Lead to UCW Charges?

There are specific situations where you can get in trouble for UCW. One is if you have a weapon while committing another crime. For example, if you have a gun on you person and are arrested for DWI, you’ll face multiple charges.

Another situation is carrying a weapon when you are intoxicated or in possession of drugs. Either of these scenarios can lead to aggravated charges and increased criminal consequences. Also, there are restricted areas where you can never carry a weapon, like schools and bars.

What are the Penalties of UCW?

Unlawful Carrying of a Weapon is usually a Class A misdemeanor. This means you can get up to a year in county jail and a fine of up to $4,000.

However, if you carry a weapon in certain places like liquor stores, bars, airports, and college campuses, the charge can become more serious. In these restricted areas, the charge can become a third-degree felony, which means up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

Other Negative Effects of a UCW Conviction

  • Difficulty finding employment
  • Challenges in securing housing
  • Loss of firearm rights
  • Impact on immigration status
  • Difficulty obtaining professional licenses.
  • Stigma in the community
  • Potential issues with child custody arrangements

Can I Open Carry in Texas?

As of September 1, 2021, Texas law no longer requires people to have a license to carry a handgun in most places. However, having a handgun license can still be helpful. People with a license can carry their guns in some places where unlicensed people can’t, like near schools and colleges. Businesses and private property owners can also set rules about carrying guns.

House Bill 918 allows people at least 18 years old but not yet 21 to get a handgun license if they meet all other requirements and are protected under an active protective order or a magistrate’s order for emergency protection.

Defenses Against UCW Charges

If you are charged with UCW, there are ways to defend yourself. One defense is that you didn’t know you were carrying a weapon. For example, if you accidentally left a knife in your bag from a camping trip and forgot about it, this could be a valid defense.

Another is that you didn’t know you were in a restricted area. Imagine you walk into a bar with a concealed firearm, not realizing it is prohibited. This can also be an effective defense.

It’s also possible to challenge how the police handled your arrest. This is why having a good lawyer is so important.

Don’t Underestimate Weapon Charges in TX- Get a Lawyer

Some people may think they can handle what seems like a straightforward misunderstanding about carrying a gun on their own. They might believe that simply explaining the situation will clear things up. However, this approach can put your record in unnecessary jeopardy.

Unlawful Carrying of a Weapon, whether a misdemeanor or felony, carries serious consequences that can affect your future. An experienced and passionate defense lawyer is best suited to explain what happened and mitigate any negative consequences.

Charged with UCW in Dallas? Call Mike Howard

Whether you were arrested for improperly carrying a concealed firearm or had a weapon on your person when arrested for something else, Dallas attorney Mike Howard doesn’t want to see a gun charge damage your record or limit your rights. He understands the intricacies of Texas gun law, and with a successful record in Dallas gun cases, he can help you navigate the legal system effectively.

Having a knowledgeable lawyer on your side can ensure that your 2nd amendment rights are protected and that you have the best chance of a favorable outcome.

Don’t risk your future by handling gun charges alone— contact The Law Office of Mike Howard at (214) 253-8676 to schedule a consultation about your case.

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