Most types of theft are considered misdemeanors in Texas. However, firearm theft is a state jail felony. Here’s what you need to know when facing charges.
The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution protects the right to own and bear arms for most American citizens. There are circumstances that might prevent a person from legally owning a firearm, including certain felony convictions. However, there are also multiple illegal means of obtaining weapons, such as firearm theft.
Crimes of theft in Texas, including those that involve firearms, are outlined in Title 7, Chapter 31 of the Texas Penal Code. Because firearms are so heavily regulated, crimes of theft that involve them are treated with a different level of severity than other theft offenses. If you have been charged with a firearm theft, don’t leave your future and your freedom to chance by entrusting your case to just anyone. It’s important to work with an experienced Texas criminal defense lawyer, like Mick Mickelsen,
Here, we’re going to cover what happens when a person is involved in firearm theft and how the potential consequences can impact their future. (1)
Firearm Theft is a State Jail Felony in Texas
The state of Texas has multiple classifications for theft offenses. For the most part, the severity of the offense depends on the value of the property taken. For example, theft of property valued at less than $50 is considered a Class C Misdemeanor, while theft valued at more than $50 but less than $150 is a Class B Misdemeanor. As the value of theft increases, so does the severity of the classification. Some acts of theft are considered a state jail felony in Texas, with offenses that involve firearms also falling into this category.
State jail felonies in Texas are reserved for more serious offenses. Any act of theft that involves a firearm is automatically considered a state jail felony, regardless of the value of the firearm – unless it exceeds $20,000, in which case the charges may be elevated to a higher class of felony theft. In these cases, theft is defined as any person who unlawfully appropriates property with the intent to deprive the owner of said property.
While categories of misdemeanor theft carry potential consequences of fines, community service and a maximum sentence of one year in jail, someone convicted of a state jail felony can be sentenced to anywhere from 180 days to two years in a state jail facility, along with a fine of no more than $10,000. It’s also important to note that when it comes to firearm theft, there isn’t much leniency granted towards offenders.
Additionally, in cases where a firearm was stolen and then used as a deadly weapon during the theft, state jail felony charges will automatically be elevated to a third-degree felony charge. Keep in mind that “use as a deadly weapon” does not necessarily mean that the firearm was discharged, but with a third-degree felony charge a person faces a possible sentence of two to ten years in prison along with a considerable fine if convicted.
Complexities and the Illegal Possession of Firearms
To complicate matters further, someone who has been charged with firearm theft can also face additional charges, such as the illegal possession of firearms. Under both federal and Texas law, certain individuals are prohibited from possessing any type of firearm. If a person who has committed a firearm theft qualifies as a restricted individual, there is a chance that they can also face additional charges for being in possession.
Examples of individuals who are prohibited from possessing firearms include those who have been convicted of a felony offense or those who have been convicted of certain misdemeanor offenses but have not yet met the requirements to reinstate their gun ownership and possession rights.
Furthermore, the legal process of obtaining and owning a firearm includes exclusions which fall under a category of prohibited weapons. While a law abiding citizen, who goes through the proper channels of gun ownership, should not possess any type of firearm on the prohibited list, there are still people out there who have illegally gained possession, and often they are the target of theft crimes.
If a person commits firearm theft, and the offense includes a prohibited weapon, this can also complicate the charges, especially if the defendant was found in possession of the firearm. Examples of prohibited weapons include machine guns, short barrel firearms, guns containing armor-piercing ammunition and firearm silencers.
The consequences of being convicted of firearm theft can range from six months to up to ten years in prison, depending upon the circumstances of your case. It’s important that you understand the charges you’re facing and the potential impact that they can have on your future.
Protecting Yourself with a Dallas Firearm Theft Attorney
If you’re facing firearm theft charges, whether you committed the crime or have been wrongfully accused, the first thing you should do is contact a Dallas firearm theft attorney who can review your case and begin preparing the best strategy for your defense.
Considering the multiple complexities that can be involved in these types of cases, you need the knowledge and experience of a legal team that is skilled in defending cases just like yours. A firearm theft conviction can send you to jail and affect your life for years to come. If you are in a need of the Best Dallas Criminal Defense Lawyer Broden, Mickelsen, LLP please call us.
Dallas Best Firearm Theft Attorneys
Broden & Mickelsen
Prior results cannot and do not guarantee or predict a similar outcome with respect to any future case.