Lawfully Carrying a Weapon Can Turn Unlawful in a Hurry

Last month, former Texas Longhorns Running Back (and recent Houston Texans draft pick) D’Onta Foreman, was arrested for two criminal offenses: 1.) Possession of Marijuana; and 2.) Unlawful Carrying of a Weapon. Initial reports were that he was licensed to carry a firearm which, begged the obvious question: if indeed licensed to carry, how was he charged with unlawfully carrying a weapon?

Certainly, someone with a Concealed Handgun License (“CHL”) may lawfully possess a firearm.  Additionally, in Texas, even those who are not licensed may lawfully carry a firearm if they are:

1.) on the person’s own premises or premises under the person’s control; or

2.)  inside of, or directly en route to, a motor vehicle or watercraft that is owned by the person or under the person’s control.

So, if Mr. Foreman was indeed inside of his “motor vehicle” as reported – whether licensed or not – how was he charged with unlawfully carrying his weapon? The answer is because, in Texas, weapons laws are such that a lawful carry can (almost instantly) turn unlawful.  

The Law

Specifically, if a person is in lawful possession of their firearm but at the same time is engaged in criminal activity (other than a traffic ticket), they are then unlawfully carrying their firearm.  In fact, the Texas Penal code even includes a specific charge titled Unlawful Carry by a License Holder. For example, someone with a CHL who is accused of Public Intoxication while carrying their firearm, is subject to the additional (and serious) charge of Unlawful Carry by a License Holder.

Here, the allegation that Mr. Foreman possessed marijuana is the “criminal activity” that – in an instant – made his otherwise lawful carry, suddenly unlawful.

Weapons charges in Texas can be confusing, and carry with them extreme consequences. If you, or someone you know, has recently been charged with a weapons-related offense, please contact my office immediately for a free consultation.  The sooner your attorney begins to work on your case, the greater chance there is for a favorable result.