If you do not possess a license to carry a handgun, you could find yourself in trouble with the law if you make the decision to possess a firearm. I have defended several of these cases and I find that many people are confused as to why they were still arrested, when they purchased the gun legally and it is registered in their name.  To provide clarity to this complex dilemma, the Texas Penal Code outlines under what conditions a person could be charged with Unlawful Carrying of a Weapon.

According to section 46.02 of the Texas Penal Code:

A person commits the offense of Unlawful Carrying of a Weapon if: The person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly carries on or about his or her person a handgun if the person is not:

(1)  on the person’s own premises or premises under the person’s control; or|
(2)  inside of or directly en route to a motor vehicle or watercraft that is owned by the person or under the person’s control.

In addition, a person commits the offense of Unlawful Carrying of a Weapon if:  The person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly carries on or about his or her person a handgun in a motor vehicle or watercraft that is owned by the person or under the person’s control at any time in which:

(1)  the handgun is in plain view, unless the person is licensed to carry a handgun: or,
(2)  the person is either:

(A)  engaged in criminal activity, other than a Class C misdemeanor that is a violation of  a law or ordinance regulating traffic or boating; (ex: if you lawfully own a handgun, but get caught with marijuana, you will also be charged with Unlawful Carrying of a Weapon)
(B)  prohibited by law from possessing a firearm;
(C)  a member of a criminal street gang, as defined by Section 71.01 of the Texas Penal Code.

An offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in the county jail and up to a $4,000.00 fine.  An offense under this section is a third degree felony if the offense is committed on any premises licensed or issued a permit by the state for the sale of alcoholic beverages.

If you have been charged with Unlawful Carrying of a Weapon, consult with an attorney to ensure that your rights are being protected.