For gun owners, a family violence case can wreak havoc on their gun rights. Under Texas law, if you are convicted of a family violence offense you cannot possess a firearm for five years following your release from confinement or five years from your release from community supervision. In other words, if you are convicted of a family violence case and are sentenced to jail time, you will need to wait five years after your release before you can possess and firearm. If you are convicted, but you are placed on probation (community supervision) you will need to wait five years following your completion of probation. If you violate this law, then you are subject to an additional charge for a Class A misdemeanor under Texas law, Unlawful Possession of a Firearm, which carries a range of punishment of up to a year in jail and an optional fine of up to $4,000.
According to the Texas Penal Codea person who has been convicted of assault, 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.
Also, keep in mind that if a protective order is issued you face the same consequences for possessing a firearm after receiving notice of the protective order and while it is active.
Federal law prohibits possession of a firearm by someone convicted of a family violence case for life. Unlike Texas law, if you are convicted of a crime involving domestic violence/family violence you will be prohibited from possessing a firearm for the rest of your life. If you violate this federal law, then you face a federal prison sentence of up to 10 years in federal prison (note that depending on your criminal history, you may face a longer sentence). This law provides that any person who has been convicted in any court of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence, is prohibited from possessing, shipping, transporting, or receiving firearms or ammunition.
Also note, that like Texas law, Federal law also prohibits someone who is subject to a protective order from possessing a firearm.
Being charged with a family violence case has far-reaching and serious implications for gun owners. Therefore, if you are charged with a family violence case, and you value your gun rights, it is essential that you consult with a skilled criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Contact the Hardy Law Group, PLLC, if you or someone you know is facing a family violence charge or a charge of unlawful possession under Texas law or Federal law.