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Expunging Unlawful Carry of a Firearm

For decades, those convicted of unlawful carry of a firearm (UCW) have been unable to expunge their records. This legal roadblock has been the cause of grief for thousands of people who just want to move on from their criminal past. Thankfully, the state of Texas recently passed the “Permitless Carry Bill” (HB 1927), which allows Texans to expunge their records of unlawful carry as long as they were convicted before September 1st, 2021.

According to the TDCAA (Texas District & County Attorneys Association), more than 130,000 people since the year 1974 have been convicted of unlawfully carrying a weapon in Texas. That means thousands and thousands of people will finally have a second chance to have a clean record. If you’ve been arrested, charged, and/or convicted of unlawful carry, then we highly encourage you to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney with an extensive background in expunctions like The Law Office of Kevin Bennett.

Austin Attorney for UCW Expungement | Updated Unlawful Carry Laws in TX

Having a firearms-related offense on your record can seriously impact your life. You might have been denied from certain jobs, housing opportunities, or even a home or business loan in the past. You may have even lost relationships or friendships over your criminal record. The collateral consequences of an UCW conviction are far-reaching and could potentially last your whole life if you don’t act on it.

Fortunately, the state of Texas has passed HB 1927, which allows any person convicted of an offense under Section 46.02 (a) of the Penal Code to expunge their record. If you’ve been convicted of UCW and are interested in pursuing expungement, then we highly encourage you to consult The Law Office of Kevin Bennett. Kevin Bennett has spent years advocating for clients and using his skills to ensure their records are expunged of all charges.

Call The Law Office of Kevin Bennett today at (512) 476-4626 to set up your first consultation with firearms and weapons defense attorney Kevin Bennett. The Law Office of Kevin Bennett accepts clients throughout the greater Travis County area including West Lake Hills, Austin, Lakeway, Sunset Valley, Lago Vista, Pflugerville, and Bee Cave. He also represents clients in bordering counties including Williamson County, Caldwell County, Hays County, Burnet County, and Bastrop County.

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Expungement for Unlawful Carry of a Firearm in Texas

Decades ago, Texas legislators made the decision to bar expunctions for conviction of unlawfully carrying a weapon. At that time legislators thought it would be wise to prohibit expungement to deter offenders from unlawfully carrying in the future and decrease gun-related violence. Unfortunately, the decision to exclude expungements for unlawful carry didn’t decrease gun violence at all. Instead, the legislation caused thousands of thousands of hard-working and productive citizens to have a permanent criminal record they can’t shake off.

The Texas District & County Attorneys Association states that under this legislation more than 130,000 people were convicted of UCW. That means over a hundred thousand people have been suffering with the collateral effects of conviction for a crime that isn’t even violent. Fortunately, the right to expunge your record after an unlawful carry conviction was restored thanks to HB 1927.

According to the Permitless Carry Bill, you can expunge an offense under the Texas Penal Code 46.035 if you were convicted of the crime before September 1st, 2021 under Section 46.02 of the Penal Code as it existed before that specific date. Essentially, that means you can expunge a conviction for unlawful carry of a weapon as long as you were convicted before September 1st, 2021.

The Permitless Carry Bill was created by gun rights advocates and Republicans who worked together tirelessly over the years for what’s known as “constitutional carry.” The phrase refers to the legal carrying of a handgun openly or concealed without a license or permit. Constitutional carry reflects the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which declares all U.S. citizens have the right to bear arms and no restrictions should be placed on that right.

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How to Expunge Your Unlawful Carry Conviction in Texas

Once September 1st passes, you can finally start the expunction process for an offense under Section 46.02 or 46.035 of the Penal Code. The first step is to file a petition for expunction with the district court your charges were handled in. It’s important to note your expunction must be handled in the jurisdiction the crime happened.

For example, if you live in Harris County but you were charged and convicted of unlawful carry in Travis County, you will have to file the expungement at the Travis County courts. Once you file for expunction, the court will set up a date and time for a review hearing.

Expunction hearings are a civil matter, so during proceedings you will be referred to as the petitioner. The other party would take on the role of respondent. Usually, the respondent is the law enforcement agency that arrested you or the county attorney for your case.

At the hearing, you must bring all the necessary paperwork required. That includes identifying information, arrest records, and proof of conviction with the date. Respondents will be given a 30-day notice of your hearing and can choose to appeal the decision if they wish.

If the respondent appeals the expungement, they will arrive at the hearing and argue why expunction should not be granted. The best way to counter this is to hire an experienced Austin expungement attorney like The Law Office of Kevin Bennett. A skilled lawyer like Kevin Bennett can collect supporting evidence and effectively argue why expungement should be granted for your case.

The judge may decide during the appeal or in an ex parte court. If they file an order for expunction, then all files and records related to your conviction will be destroyed. Your arrest, charges, and conviction will not be available to employers or licensing agencies once the expunction has been granted.

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Difference Between Expunction and Non-Disclosure

You’ve probably heard the phrases “seal” or “expunge” your record used interchangeably in the past. However, it’s important to understand these are two different legal processes with two distinct outcomes. The decision to expunge or seal your record will depend on the circumstances surrounding your case.

Expunging your record will mean no one will be able to access it at all. You won’t have to worry about employers, higher education institutions, or licensing agencies any longer because all records related to your case are destroyed upon expunction. You can also legally deny the existence of the arrest, charges, or conviction during a job interview without any fear.

Sealing your record, meanwhile, is a different story. To seal your record, you’ll have to file an order of non-disclosure with the court who had jurisdiction over your case. If you’re able to seal it, most public and private entities will not be able to access your arrest, charges or conviction. Unfortunately, that does mean certain licensing agencies will be able to pull up your charges including the Texas Medical Board and Education Agency.

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Can I Seal UCW Charges in Texas?

HB 1927 doesn’t address record seals for unlawful carry, but that doesn’t mean you can’t seal your record of all charges. Before you can start the process, you must first find out if you qualify for non-disclosure. Under Texas law, you can seal your record of unlawful carry if you did the following:

  • The judge put you on deferred adjudication;
  • You successfully completed the deferred adjudication program;
  • You then waited the appropriate time period to file an order of non-disclosure; and
  • Haven’t been convicted of any criminal offense between your deferred adjudication and filing for the order of non-disclosure

How long you must wait to file will depend on your charges. If you were facing a felony for unlawful carry, then you must wait at least 5 years to file for non-disclosure. If UCW charge was a misdemeanor, there is no wait time, and you can file for non-disclosure the moment you’ve finished the conditions for your deferred adjudication.

Similar to the expungement process, the prosecutor can appear to appeal the case if they wish. The state must send notice of your hearing to them within 45 days of your request. If the court grants your request for non-disclosure, your record will be sealed and hidden from the public.

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Additional Resources

Texas Permitless Carry Bill | HB 1927 – Visit the official website for the Texas Legislature Online to read the current bill for permitless carry in Texas. Access the site to see the authors of the bill, co-authors, sponsor, the actions the bill has gone through in both the House and the Senate, as well as the signature by Governor Greg Abbott.

Firearms Weapons Crimes in Texas – Visit the official website for the Texas Statutes and Penal Code to read up on their laws for firearm and weapons offenses. Access the site to read more about unlawful carry of a firearm, possession of a weapon by a felon, and more.

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Austin Unlawful Carry Defense Attorney | Texas Expungement Lawyer

If you or someone you know is interested in expunging their record of UCW, contact The Law Office of Kevin Bennett. Kevin Bennett has the skills and resources to assist you throughout every step of the expunction process. He can determine if expungement is possible, file the request, and even represent you with supporting evidence at the hearing if necessary. Don’t wait another moment to get your life started and call The Law Office of Kevin Bennett about your expungement or non-disclosure options today.

Call The Law Office of Kevin Bennett at (512) 476-4626 to set up your first consultation. The Law Office of Kevin Bennett has offices set up in Travis County, but accepts clients in adjacent counties including Bastrop County, Caldwell County, Blanco County, Burnet County, Williamson County, and Hays County.

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