Possession of a Weapon by a Felon
One of the freedoms that were guaranteed with the adoption of the first 10 amendments to the United States Constitution contained in the Bill of Rights was the right of the people to keep and bear arms. However, a person who has been convicted of a felony offense can be legally prohibited from possessing or owning a firearm or weapon.
In the state of Texas, convicted felons are not always subject to lifetime bans from possessing firearms. However, they are subject to some extremely harsh penalties if they possess a weapon before their civil rights have been restored.
Austin Possession of a Weapon by a Felon Lawyer
Were you previously convicted of a felony offense and are now facing charges relating to the possession of a weapon in Texas? The Law Office of Kevin Bennett fights to defend clients accused of firearm crimes all over Austin and surrounding areas like Pflugerville, Lago Vista, Lakeway, West Lake Hills, Bee Cave, and Sunset Valley.
Kevin Bennett received the prestigious Clients’ Choice Award in 2013 from the legal service’s website Avvo in recognition of his outstanding client satisfaction rating. He can review your case and discuss all of your legal options when you call (512) 476-4626 to schedule a free, confidential consultation.
Travis County Possession of a Weapon by a Felon Overview
- When can a person be charged with this offense?
- What are the possible consequences if convicted?
- Can the Second Amendment be used as a defense against these charges?
Unlawful possession of a firearm is defined in Texas Penal Code § 46.04(a)(1) as an alleged offender who has been convicted of a felony possessing a firearm after conviction and before the fifth anniversary of his or her release from confinement following either conviction of the felony or his or her release from supervision under community supervision, parole, or mandatory supervision—whichever date is later. This crime is classified as a third-degree felony.
After five years of passed, a person who has been convicted of a felony can possess a weapon only on the premises at which he or she lives but may submit an application to Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles seeking restoration of firearm rights. A convicted felon can also have his or her civil rights restored through a pardon issued by the governor of Texas, although this extremely rare.
While unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon is classified as a third-degree felony, it is important to understand that Texas Penal Code § 12.42 imposes aggravated consequences for individuals deemed habitual felony offenders. Under this statute, if the alleged offender has been previously convicted of a felony other than a state jail felony, he or she can be punished for a second-degree felony if convicted for unlawful possession of a firearm.
The respective possible punishments for these classifications of offenses are as follows:
- Third-Degree Felony — Maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and maximum fine of $10,000
- Second-Degree Felony — Maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and maximum fine of $10,000
The Second Amendment may state that a person’s right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, but the United States Supreme Court has ruled that this right is not unlimited and does not prevent federal, state, or local laws from prohibiting convicted felons from possessing firearms or weapons. If you have been previously convicted of a felony offense, there is very little chance that invoking the amendment will prove to be much of a beneficial defense against criminal charges—especially in cases involving weapon or firearm possession during a time in which you were prohibited from doing so.
This is not to say that a person who has been charged with being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm or weapon does not have other legal defenses. In fact, he or she could have multiple valid defenses that could possible include, but are not limited to, any of the following:
- Alleged offender did not knowingly possess weapon or firearm
- Alleged offender only possessed firearm or weapon in moment of necessary self-defense or while taking it from individual committing a crime
- Weapon or firearm was discovered through an illegal search and seizure
- Insufficient evidence that alleged offender actually possessed firearm or weapon
- Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles restored alleged offender’s firearm rights
Find A Possession of a Weapon by a Felon Lawyer in Austin
If you have been arrested for being a felon in possession of a firearm or weapon in Texas, you will want to seek the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Kevin Bennett fights to protect the rights of every person he represents, and he will strive to achieve the most favorable outcome to your particular case.
The Law Office of Kevin Bennett helps clients throughout the greater Austin area, including such areas as Oak Hill, West Austin, and Manchaca. Call (512) 476-4626 right now to set up a free consultation that will let our firm review your case and begin developing a formidable legal defense.