If you sell, buy or possess a firearm in Texas, it must be in accordance with state and federal laws. It’s important to understand that certain weapons violations come under state jurisdiction while other criminal charges are upgraded to the federal crime level. Penalties under conviction are usually more severe for federal firearms violations.
There have been federal laws restricting the purchase, sale or ownership of guns in the United States for decades. For instance, federal law prohibits you from sending a firearm to someone through the U.S. postal service. There are also laws that restrict access to machine guns, sawed-off shotguns and other types of firearms. If you become subject to an investigation regarding federal gun violations, you’ll want to make sure you know your rights and how to defend them in court.
Do you have past convictions on your criminal record?
If you’ve been convicted of a felony crime in the past or drug trafficking crimes, etc., you’re prohibited from possessing a firearm. Being found in possession of a firearm under such conditions would be a federal crime. In fact, a federal judge could sentence you to 10 years in prison for possessing a firearm with a past felony conviction on your record.
If you have several past felony convictions on your record, a sentence for illegal possession of a firearm may extend beyond 10 years. In any case, facing federal firearms violation charges means you have a lot at stake, which is why it’s best to seek clarification regarding state level charges versus federal weapons violations.
Federal firearms violations may intersect other legal issues
Perhaps a Texas police officer knocks on your door with a warrant to search the premises. If the officer claims to seize illegal drugs and firearms from your home, you could wind up facing drug charges, as well as federal firearms violations. If you’re facing charges for a violent crime and prosecutors are claiming that you used a firearm to commit the crime, you could face as many as 25 years behind bars if things don’t go your way in court.
Having a federal firearms conviction on your record can cause problems in life
A federal firearms violation is a conviction that follows you around in life. An employer may be reluctant to hire you or even to grant you an interview if a federal gun crime shows up in your background check. A conviction may also impede your ability to vote, although, in Texas, your voting privileges may be restored after you have fully served your sentence.
The more you know ahead of time, the better
Facing federal firearms violations in Texas means you’ll be answering a lot of questions and making decisions regarding issues such as what type of plea to enter in court. Should you plead guilty? Should you plead not guilty? Facing criminal charges is a stressful experience, even if you are 100% innocent and were arrested by mistake.
Most defendants seek legal support soon after an arrest because acting alongside experienced legal representation from the start increases the chances of obtaining as positive an outcome as possible, in court.