An arrest for unlawful possession of a firearm typically arises from one of two different circumstances. If you’ve been convicted of a felony cases within the past five years or released from felony probation or parole, and less than five years have lapsed, it is illegal to possess a firearm. If it’s alleged that you have, you can be charged with unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon. This version of the offense is a third degree felony, which is punishable by 2 to 10 years in the state penitentiary, and up to a $10,000 fine.
On the other hand, if you have been convicted of a Class A misdemeanor assault which involved family violence, you can also be charged with unlawful possession of a firearm. This offense is a Class A misdemeanor, with a penalty range of up to 1 year in the county jail, and up to a $4000 fine. Family violence assaults are those said to involve family members, which includes wives, husbands, brothers, sisters, etc., or anyone with whom you have had a dating relationship. In order to be convicted of unlawful possession of a firearm, you must have been convicted (i.e., either of the felony, or of the assault/family violence, as indicated above). In other words, if you successfully completed deferred adjudication probation, you cannot be charged with this offense with respect to either of the above scenarios.
Texas Penal Code Section 46.04. Unlawful Possession Of Firearm
(a) A person who has been convicted of a felony commits an offense if he possesses a firearm: (1) after conviction and before the fifth anniversary of the person’s release from confinement following conviction of the felony or the person’s release from supervision under community supervision, parole, or mandatory supervision, whichever date is later; or (2) after the period described by Subdivision (1), at any location other than the premises at which the person lives.
(b) A person who has been convicted of an offense under Section 22.01, punishable as a Class A misdemeanor and involving a member of the person’s family or household, commits an offense if the person possesses a firearm before the fifth anniversary of the later of: (1) the date of the person’s release from confinement following conviction of the misdemeanor; or (2) the date of the person’s release from community supervision following conviction of the misdemeanor.
(c) A person, other than a peace officer, as defined by Section 1.07, actively engaged in employment as a sworn, full-time paid employee of a state agency or political subdivision, who is subject to an order issued under Section 6.504 or Chapter 85, Family Code, under Article 17.292 or Chapter 7A, Code of Criminal Procedure, or by another jurisdiction as provided by Chapter 88, Family Code, commits an offense if the person possesses a firearm after receiving notice of the order and before expiration of the order.
(d) In this section, “family,” “household,” and “member of a household” have the meanings assigned by Chapter 71, Family Code.
(e) An offense under Subsection (a) is a felony of the third degree. An offense under Subsection (b) or (c) is a Class A misdemeanor.
(f) For the purposes of this section, an offense under the laws of this state, another state, or the United States is, except as provided by Subsection
(g), a felony if, at the time it is committed, the offense: (1) is designated by a law of this state as a felony; (2) contains all the elements of an offense designated by a law of this state as a felony; or (3) is punishable by confinement for one year or more in a penitentiary.
(h) An offense is not considered a felony for purposes of Subsection
(i) if, at the time the person possesses a firearm, the offense: (1) is not designated by a law of this state as a felony; and (2) does not contain all the elements of any offense designated by a law of this state as a felony. Acts 1973, 63rd Leg., p. 883, ch. 399, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1974. Renumbered from Penal Code Sec. 46.05 and amended by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 900, Sec. 1.01, eff. Sept. 1, 1994. Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 23, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 2001; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 836, Sec. 4, eff. Sept. 1, 2003. Amended by: Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 1146, Sec. 11.24, eff. September 1, 2009.
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