Places Weapons Are Prohibited
As per Texas Penal Code § 46.03, weapons are prohibited in certain places in Texas. This statute first lays out the intent standard for violating § 46.03. To be in violation, the defendant must intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly possess or go with the weapon. The term “weapons” include firearms, location-restricted knives, and certain items listed in Texas Penal Code § 46.05.
Using or possessing a weapon in a prohibited place is a serious offense with serious consequences in Texas. That’s why a defendant charged with this crime must explore every possible defense strategy that could help them avoid prison time and more. Available defenses will always depend upon the specific facts of the case. A criminal defense attorney can help identify which will be the most effective.
Texas Places Weapons Are Prohibited Attorney
Have you been arrested or accused of possessing a weapon in a place where they are prohibited? It is crucial to contact Houston criminal defense lawyer Matthew Horak at Horak Law as soon as possible. Attorney Horak can carefully examine the evidence against you and build an effective defense strategy to help you secure the best possible result.
Call Horak Law today at (713) 225-8000 to schedule your first consultation. Horak Law has offices in Houston and The Woodlands, but we accept clients throughout the State of Texas including Harris County, Fort Bend County, Liberty County, Waller County, Galveston County, Montgomery County, and Brazoria County.
- Places Weapons Are Prohibited
- Penalties for Using a Weapon in a Prohibited Place
- Defenses for Using a Weapon in a Prohibited Place
- Additional Resources
Places Weapons Are Prohibited
Prohibited weapons in Texas are listed in Texas Penal Code § 46.05. All unregistered machine guns, explosive weapons, and short-barrel firearms are prohibited weapons. Armor-piercing ammunition, chemical dispensing devices, zip guns, tire deflation devices, firearm silencers (with some exceptions), and improvised explosive devices are also prohibited weapons under Texas law. Defenses include possessing and using these weapons in the line of duty as a military member or police officer, owning the item as an antique or curio, or making the device for a state-approved organization. Possession of a tire deflation device (road spikes) is a state jail felony in Texas, while the rest are third-degree felonies.
Schools And Educational Institutions
Without prior permission from the school, bringing a weapon to a school, educational institution, or the grounds or building where a school-sponsored activity is being held is a serious offense in Texas. For this offense, the terms “institution of higher education” and “private or independent institution of higher education” are defined by Texas Education Code § 61.003.
It is against the law to bring a prohibited weapon to a polling place on an election day. The same applies to early voting ballot drop locations. This is to help curb voter intimidation tactics.
It is also illegal to have a prohibited weapon at a public courthouse unless that person has prior authorization from the court.
Understandably, tempers may run high at a racetrack, especially when money is involved and alcohol may have been consumed. That’s why prohibited weapons are against the law at racetracks in Texas.
Just because you’ve heard a story about someone getting a firearm through airport security doesn’t mean you should try it. Getting caught with a firearm or other prohibited weapon in the secured area of an airport in Texas is a serious crime.
It is also against the law to have a prohibited weapon within 1,000 feet of a location designated for use that day for a lawful execution. This is to keep citizens from unlawfully stopping the death sentence being carried out on a convicted felon.
Locations Restricting Knives
Knives are restricted at all the locations listed above and additional locations per Texas law. These locations make perfect sense upon brief consideration. One is businesses that derive 51% or more of their income from alcohol sales—in other words, bars. Knives are also restricted from places where high school, collegiate, or professional sporting or interscholastic events are taking place. These restrictions also apply to correctional facilities—this essentially makes it an offense for a prisoner to be caught with a “shiv” or improvised knife. Without written authorization, knives are restricted at hospitals, mental hospitals, and nursing homes. Additionally, Texas restricts knives at amusement parks and places of worship.
Penalties for Using a Weapon in a Prohibited Place
Generally, offenses under § 46.03 are charged as third-degree felonies. However, if the offense was for a location-restricted knife, it is a Class C misdemeanor unless it occurs on the grounds of an educational institution, in which case it is a third-degree felony.
Third-Degree Felony Penalties
The penalties for a third-degree felony conviction in Texas are set forth by Texas Penal Code § 12.34. A third-degree felony is punishable in Texas by 2 to 10 years in prison and a fine not to exceed $10,000.
Class C Misdemeanor Penalties
The penalties for a Class C misdemeanor conviction in Texas are set forth by Texas Penal Code § 12.23. A Class C misdemeanor is punishable in Texas by a fine not to exceed $500.
Defenses for Using a Weapon in a Prohibited Place
Discharge Of Duties
Carrying a prohibited weapon in a prohibited place is part of the job in some career fields. Members of the armed forces or national guard, correctional officers, commissioned security officers, and personal protection authorized security officers can all use their job designation as a defense against prohibited weapons charges if the violation occurred while traveling to or from the actor’s place of assignment or in the actual discharge of duties. A commissioned security guard must be wearing a uniform and carrying the weapon in clear view to use this defense. A personal protection authorized security officer must wear a uniform and carry the weapon in plain view or not wear a uniform and concealed carry.
If the arrest occurred in the airport, the defendant might have a defense if the prohibited weapon was in a checked bag.
Texas Penal Code § 46.03 – The Texas statute regarding places where weapons are prohibited. This statute also provides defenses and exceptions to the general rules.
Texas Penal Code § 46.05 – The Texas statute regarding prohibited weapons. This statute doesn’t apply to military members and police officers acting in the line of duty.
Texas Education Code § 61.003 – Definitions of educational institutions for purposes of prohibited weapons offenses.
Houston Places Weapons Are Prohibited Attorney | Harris County, TX
If you have been arrested for possessing a weapon in a prohibited place, a strong defense such as that provided by Horak Law in may help in reducing the charges. Attorney Matthew Horak is an experienced sex crimes lawyer in Houston that can help obtain the best possible outcome from your case with the Harris Cunty criminal justice system. Allow him to protect your rights.
Your freedom is at stake, so it is best to retain the practiced legal counsel of a skilled criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Call our office at (713) 225-8000 to learn more about your legal options. Horak Law has offices in The Woodlands and Houston, TX.