You might be aware of a Texas law that prohibits people convicted of certain crimes from possessing firearms. Thus, you may wonder whether the ban would apply to you if you're convicted of driving while intoxicated. The answer is that it depends on the specifics of your situation. The firearm law pertains to convictions for felony-level offenses. In Texas, a DWI can be either a misdemeanor or a felony. Therefore, the prohibition may or may not apply to you.
When Is a DWI a Misdemeanor in Texas?
Generally, your first two driving while intoxicated offenses are charged as Class B misdemeanors. However, if your blood alcohol concentration was 0.15 or more, the crime is a Class A misdemeanor. Thus, if you have only been convicted once or twice, you may not lose your right to possess or purchase a firearm. However, under certain circumstances, a first-time driving while intoxicated charge can be a felony, which means you could be subject to the gun ban even if you didn't have prior intoxicated driving offenses. We'll discuss below the situations in which a first or second offense is a felony.
When Is Drunk Driving a Felony in Texas?
As noted above, some DWIs are felonies, even if it's a first or second offense.
Situations that may result in a felony-level charge include:
- Driving while intoxicated with a child passenger: State jail felony
- Intoxication assault: Third-degree felony
- Intoxication manslaughter: second-degree felony
- Third or subsequent DWI offense: Third-degree felony
If you're convicted of any of the above crimes, you will be prohibited from having a gun.
What Are the Penalties for a Felon in Possession?
Purchasing or owning a firearm after a felony conviction – whether for an impaired driving or another offense – is a crime itself. In Texas, if you're barred from having a gun but have one regardless, you could be charged with a third-degree felony.
The conviction penalties include:
- Between 2 and 10 years in prison, and/or
- A fine of up to $10,000
Fight Your Charge with the Help of a Skilled Lawyer
To attempt to avoid being stripped of your firearm rights, you must aggressively fight your criminal charge. Doing so can be complicated and overwhelming, and it's most effective to have an attorney guiding you through the process. With sound counsel on your side, you increase the chances of obtaining a favorable result, such as having charges dropped.
If you've been accused of driving while intoxicated, a gun crime, or any other offense in Dallas, schedule a free consultation with Hamilton Grant PC. Call (214) 225-7117 or submit an online contact form today.