Unlawful Possession Of A Firearm By A Felon

Unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon is an offense under federal law, while individuals can also be charged with the exact same offense under Texas law. A recent example of this type of charge occurred recently when police arrested a man and discovered in the man’s possession a total of four pounds of marijuana, more than $3,200 in cash, and several stolen handguns and rifles. The man was ultimately charged with evading arrest, assault of a family or house member, unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon, theft of a firearm, possession of a controlled substance, and possession of marijuana.

Applicable Law

In order for an individual to be convicted as a felon in the unlawful possession of a firearm, the state of Texas must prove several elements including: A person who has been previously convicted of a felony possessed a firearm after conviction of a felony and before the fifth anniversary of the individual’s release from prison, parole, or another type of supervisory program. The definition of “possession” is particularly complex. Possession refers to actual care, custody, control, or management of a firearm. Possession is a voluntary act if an individual knowingly obtains or receives an item or is aware of the individual’s control of the thing for a sufficient enough of an amount of time to allow the individual to terminate his control. It should also be noted that in order to justify a “felony,” there are a variety of charges that can suffice including deferred adjudication.

Available Defenses

There are several ways that an individual might be able to defend against such a felony charge. One of the strongest arguments is that an individual did not have “exclusive possession and control” of the place where the firearm was found. The state of Texas would then be required to use either direct or circumstantial evidence to prove that an individual knowingly possessed the firearm. A defendant charged with unlawful firearm possession may also use a defense of necessity, which means that the conduct is justified if the individual reasonably believed the conduct to be immediately necessary to avoid imminent harm, the desirability and urgency of avoiding harm outweigh the harm sought to be prevented by the law, and the legislative purpose to exclude the justification claimed for the conduct does not otherwise plainly appear. These defenses immediate necessity and imminent harm. The state of Texas may also attempt to weaken this potential defense. Two other common law defenses, self defense and mistake of law, are not recognized as defenses to an unlawful firearm possession charge.

Penalties for Violations

Individuals can expect to be charged with a felony for the unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon, which can result in two to 10 years in prison. Based on the surrounding circumstances, the resulting penalties are often more severe in nature.

Contact an Experienced Denton County Criminal Defense Attorney

If you face a charge due to unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon, you need the service and expertise of a talented criminal defense attorney at Wheeler Law who knows how to create a strong defense in response to such a charge.

(image courtesy of AdamHill)