Unlawful Carrying a Weapon Charge Attorney Dallas & Plano
Texas Penal Code Section 46.02 sets out the criminal offense of unlawful carrying a weapon, which is commonly shortened to UCW. Despite having many gun possession rights in Texas, authorities take violations of weapons laws very seriously, and those facing allegations of UCW can face many penalties, including possible time in jail. It is important to contact UCW defense lawyer J. Michael Price II if you are accused of unlawful carrying of a weapon in Dallas, Plano, or anywhere in Collin County.
What is UCW?
UCW refers to unlawfully possessing a handgun in Texas. Generally speaking, if you are permitted to possess a gun, you can carry it on your own premises or premises under your control, as well as in (or en route to) a motor vehicle or watercraft you own or control as long as the gun is not in plain view. However, outside those locations, having a handgun can constitute UCW.
In addition, having a handgun on your premises or in your vehicle can constitute UCW if one of the following is true:
- The handgun is in plain view
- You are engaged in a criminal offense (other than Class C misdemeanor crimes or traffic and boating ordinance violations)
- You are prohibited from possessing a handgun under the law, such as due to having a felony conviction on your record
- You are part of a group that Texas law considers to be a criminal street gang
If officers believe that any of the above circumstances apply, they can place you under arrest, and you might face charges for UCW.
Exceptions to UCW
There are some exceptions to the UCW statute that are important to know. First, if you have a valid license to carry, you can carry your handgun outside of your premises or vehicle. However, you can still face UCW accusations as a licensed holder if you carry a weapon while you are intoxicated, or while committing another criminal offense other than a traffic violation. You can also be charged with UCW by a License Holder if you carry your weapon in locations where firearms are restricted, such as:
- Businesses that primarily sell alcohol
- Government buildings
- Amusement parks
- Correctional facilities
Aside from licensed holders, other people are exempt from UCW restrictions, including:
- Law enforcement
- Some military members
- Security offices
- Court officials
Possible Penalties for UCW Convictions
In most cases, UCW is charged as a Class A misdemeanor, which can mean up to one year in jail and fines up to $4,000 if convicted. If the prosecutor alleges the UCW took place on premises licensed to sell alcohol, the charge can be a third-degree felony, which can mean two to ten years in state prison and fines up to $10,000. You can also potentially lose your right to possess a firearm in the future.
Speak with a Dallas & Plano Unlawful Carrying a Weapon Defense Attorney Right Away
Dallas criminal defense lawyer J. Michael Price II fights against UCW and other weapons offenses in Texas. Contact us online or call 214-765-8000 if you are facing any type of criminal charges.