Unlawfully Carrying a Weapon
One of the most common weapons charges that gets filed is an unlawfully carrying a weapon, or a “UCW” case. Texas Penal Code, Section 46.02 deals with unlawfully carrying a weapon.
In Texas, if a person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly carries on or about his/her person, a handgun, illegal knife, or club, and the person is not on the person’s own premises or premises under the person’s control, or inside of or directly en route to a motor vehicle or watercraft that is owned by the person or under the person’s control, they are in violation of Texas Penal Code, Section 46.02.
Traditionally, this is a Class A misdemeanor, unless if it was committed on any premises licensed or issued a permit for the sale of alcohol. In those cases, it is a third degree felony.
Likewise, if someone is caught carrying a weapon in a weapon-free school zone, the punishment is enhanced one level if the actor knew he/she was in was a weapon-free school zone. These cases are mostly likely to be seen in cases where a student brings a weapon to school. So a class A misdemeanor would become a third degree felony as that is a place where weapons are prohibited.
When the legislature changed the law and adopted the view that you are presumed to be traveling if you have a weapon in your vehicle, they did so with a couple of exceptions.
Exception # 1 – Status as a Documented Gang Member:
If you are a documented gang member, you are not permitted to be in possession of any weapon regardless of the travel exception. The Houston Police Department has been uploading suspects’ information into a computer program called GangTracker, which documents all suspected and self-confessed gang members. If you are a documented gang member, the traveling presumption does not apply to you.
Exception # 2 – Traffic Only Offense
The second exception to the traveling presumption is that the offense for which you have been detained must only relate to a traffic offense. In other words, if you are arrested for DWI and they find a weapon in your vehicle, you will now be charged with both DWI and UCW.
Likewise, if you have drugs in the car and you get arrested for possession of narcotics, and they find your weapon, you will also be charged with a UCW in that situation.
You really cannot afford to wait to hire just any lawyer for this type of case. You need someone who has experience handling weapons’ cases. You need someone to fight for you. Call 1-713-972-1100 to speak with an unlawful carrying of a weapon defense attorney today!
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