What to Do If You’re Arrested with a Gun in Texas

What to Do If You’re Arrested with a Gun in TexasTexas has a strong gun culture, and our gun laws reflect that. However, even in the Lone Star State, gun ownership comes with legal responsibilities. If you’re ever arrested with a gun in Texas, you need to understand your rights and take the proper steps to protect yourself. Keep the following in mind if you find yourself facing gun charges in Copperas Cove:

  • Remain calm and polite: Your first priority after being arrested is to stay calm and cooperate with law enforcement officers. Being belligerent or argumentative will only escalate the situation and could lead to additional charges.
  • Do not resist arrest: Resisting arrest is a crime itself, and it can result in serious consequences. Even if you believe the arrest is a mistake, comply with the officers’ instructions and get your lawyer involved later.
  • Know your right to remain silent: You have the right to remain silent under the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. This means you don’t have to answer any questions beyond basic identification information. It’s best to politely decline to answer questions and request to speak with a lawyer.
  • The right to an attorney: You have the Sixth Amendment right to an attorney. If you cannot afford one, the state will appoint a public defender to represent you. However, it’s often in your best interest to hire an experienced Copperas Cove criminal defense attorney experienced in handling gun charges in Texas.
  • Avoid making incriminating statements: Anything you say to law enforcement officers can be used against you in court. Stick to requesting a lawyer and avoid discussing the details of your arrest or your reasons for carrying a gun.

Understanding Texas gun laws

Texas has some of the most relaxed gun laws in the nation. However, there are still situations where carrying a gun is illegal. Here’s a brief overview:

  • Constitutional carry: Texans over 21 who are not prohibited persons can carry a handgun openly or concealed without a License to Carry (LTC).
  • License to carry (LTC): While not mandatory, an LTC allows permit holders to carry a handgun in places where Constitutional Carry is not allowed, such as schools, bars with specific licenses, and some government buildings.
  • Prohibited persons: Certain individuals are prohibited from possessing firearms in Texas, including felons, those under domestic violence restraining orders, and individuals with specific mental health adjudications.

Understanding gun charges

Depending on the circumstances of your arrest, you might face a variety of charges, including:

  • Unlawful carry of a weapon: This is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $4,000.
  • Carrying a weapon in a prohibited place: These charges can vary depending on the location, but they can be misdemeanors or felonies.
  • Unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon: This is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

Gathering evidence for your defense

If you believe the arrest was a mistake or that you were acting within the law, it’s important to start collecting evidence for your defense. This may include:

  • Witness statements: If anyone witnessed the events leading up to your arrest and can confirm your version of events, contact them and get their statements.
  • Security footage: If the arrest occurred in a location with security cameras, obtain copies of the footage if possible.
  • Documentation: If you have a License to Carry or any other relevant documentation, keep it safe and provide it to your lawyer.

How a Copperas Cove criminal defense lawyer can help

As soon as possible after the arrest, contact a criminal defense attorney experienced in gun charges. Your lawyer will be able to advise you on your specific rights, review the charges against you, and build a strong defense strategy.

A skilled criminal defense attorney who understands gun charges can help you navigate the legal process in several ways:

  • Reviewing the arrest: We will examine the circumstances of your arrest, including police reports and body camera footage, to determine if there were any violations of your rights.
  • Negotiating with the prosecutor: Our lawyers may be able to negotiate with the prosecutor to get the charges dropped or reduced.
  • Building your defense: Based on the facts of your case, our attorneys will develop a strong defense strategy on your behalf. This might involve:
  • Challenging the legality of the stop or arrest.
  • Presenting evidence to support your claim of self-defense under the Castle Doctrine (explained below).
  • Demonstrating that you were unaware the location was a prohibited place to carry a firearm.
  • Highlighting any procedural errors by law enforcement during the arrest.

What is the Castle Doctrine?

Texas has a strong Castle Doctrine law, which allows individuals to use deadly force in self-defense in their home, vehicle, or workplace. However, there are specific requirements for invoking the Castle Doctrine:

  • You must have a reasonable belief that you are in danger of imminent harm.
  • You must not be the aggressor in the situation.
  • You must use force that is reasonable to defend yourself.

Being arrested with a gun can be a stressful and overwhelming experience. Ensure you follow through with your legal representation. Here’s what you should do:

  • Provide your lawyer with all the details of the situation, even if you think it might hurt your case. Open communication is critical for building a strong defense.
  • Your lawyer will guide you through the legal process and advise you on the best course of action. It’s important to follow their instructions to ensure the best possible outcome.
  • Remember, the legal process can take time. Our lawyers will always be working diligently on your behalf, but it’s important to be patient and trust the process.

Here are some additional points to take into consideration if you’re arrested with a gun:

  • Firearm confiscation: Police may confiscate your firearm during the arrest. Your lawyer can help you understand the process for getting it back, if possible.
  • Background checks: If you are arrested for a gun charge, it may affect your ability to pass future background checks for firearm purchases.
  • Long-term consequences: A gun charge conviction can have lasting consequences, including difficulty obtaining employment, housing, and professional licenses.

If you’re ever arrested with a gun in Texas, don’t panic. Remember your right to remain silent and contact a skilled Texas criminal defense attorney with experience in gun charges immediately. At Mary Beth Harrell Law Firm, our experience and knowledge of the law can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case. To schedule a meeting with an experienced lawyer, call our offices or fill out our contact form to schedule a consultation with one of our Killeen defense attorneys. We maintain an additional office in Killeen and proudly serve Belton, Harker Heights, Waco, Williamson County, Bell County, Coryell County, and McLennan County.