Does Texas Law Allow You to Own a Gun if You are Arrested for Domestic Violence?
Texas has laws that prohibit certain people from possessing or purchasing firearms. You should always know if you fall into the “prohibited persons” category, as having a gun can then result in criminal charges for unlawfully possessing a firearm. One reason a person may be prohibited from gun ownership is a conviction for domestic violence. However, can you still legally own a gun if you’ve only been arrested for a domestic incident?
Texas family violence offenses refer to certain threatening or harmful acts against a current or former dating partner or spouse, certain family members (whether or not they live with the accused), and current or former cohabitants or household members, regardless of whether they have a romantic or family relationship. Domestic violence is often a misdemeanor charge and can mean up to one year in jail, though the judge may also sentence you to a period of community supervision or probation instead of jail time.
There are specific times when someone accused of domestic violence cannot possess a firearm, including the following:
You are convicted of an act domestic or family violence – If you plead guilty or are convicted of a misdemeanor family violence offense under Texas law, you will be prohibited from possessing a firearm for five years after you complete your sentence. This applies to a jail sentence or probation/community supervision. Once you are released from jail or your community supervision, you must then wait another five years before you can lawfully possess a firearm.
You are subject to a protective order – Many people accused of family violence may have a protective order issued against them by the courts. Under Texas law, one provision of this order will state that individuals subject to protective orders who are not employed as peace officers may not possess a firearm or ammunition. It is important to remember that you may have a protective order without a conviction for domestic violence, as these are two separate cases.
We know that you should not possess a firearm when you have a protective order against you or after a family violence conviction. However, what about after an arrest if the accuser does not obtain a protective order and you are not yet convicted of a crime? First, Texas law does not require an officer to remove firearms at the scene of a domestic incident or to make sure you relinquish any firearms you may already possess. However, if you receive a citation for a misdemeanor charge, it should warn you of the possibility of future restrictions on firearm possession.
In this situation, your very best option is to hire an experienced Texas criminal defense lawyer who can help you avoid a conviction or fight a protective order whenever possible. This can also protect your rights to possess a gun.
The Law Office of Brent D. Bowen, PLLC handles many types of criminal cases in Texas, including domestic violence and firearm charges. If you’ve been arrested, contact a skilled criminal defense attorney right away. Call 940-222-2488 or contact us online for a consultation today.