San Antonio Criminal Defense Attorney: Can I Possess a Firearm on Deferred Probation?
When you enter a plea or decide to go before the judge for sentencing in hopes of receiving deferred probation, it is important to understand the potential consequences of that decision. One of the most common questions and most important consequences to understand is your ability to own or possess a firearm. In this blog post, we will discuss the laws surrounding the possession of a firearm while on deferred adjudication in Texas but first it is important to understand the differences between deferred probation and straight probation.
Deferred probation is a type of probation in Texas that allows a person to avoid a criminal conviction if they complete the terms of their probation successfully. A judge may grant deferred probation in certain circumstances, such as a first-time offense or a low-level crime. The individual is required to complete a set of conditions, such as reporting to a probation officer, paying fines and restitution, and refraining from committing further crimes. If the individual successfully completes the terms of their probation, the charges against them are dismissed.
Straight probation, also known as standard probation, is a type of probation in Texas that requires an individual to admit guilt and results in a criminal conviction on their record. The individual is required to complete a set of conditions, such as reporting to a probation officer, paying fines and restitution, and refraining from committing further crimes. If the individual fails to comply with the conditions of their probation, they may face additional penalties, including revocation of probation and imprisonment.
People who are placed on straight probation for certain crimes may be prohibited from possessing firearms. If you are placed on straight probation for any felony or a misdemeanor with a family violence finding, you will not be able to possess a firearm for at least five years after probation, and even then, could you possibly be allowed to possess it inside your home for protection only.
The restrictions on firearm possession for individuals on straight probation stem from federal and state laws that prohibit convicted felons from possessing firearms. In Texas, a conviction for a felony or a misdemeanor with a family violence finding is considered a disqualifying offense, making it illegal for the individual to possess a firearm during or after probation or else you could be charged with Unlawful Possession of a Firearm, which is a 3rd Degree Felony in Texas.
Can I Possess a Firearm on Deferred Probation Under Texas Law?
Under Texas law, an individual on deferred probation is not convicted of a crime and as such, is generally not prohibited from possessing a firearm. However, a judge may impose conditions on your deferred probation that prohibit you from possessing a firearm. If the judge has imposed such a condition on your deferred probation, it is crucial that you abide by this restriction. If you are found to be in possession of a firearm, your deferred probation may be revoked, and you may be sentenced to the maximum penalty for the underlying offense. This could include imprisonment, fines, and additional consequences that could have a significant impact on your life.
If an individual is placed on deferred probation for an offense that involved a finding of family violence, they may be restricted from possessing a firearm, as federal and state laws prohibit individuals with a conviction or finding of family violence from possessing firearms.
Can I Possess a Firearm on Deferred Probation Under Federal Law?
Under federal law, it is illegal for individuals who have been convicted of a crime of domestic violence, including family violence, to possess a firearm. This restriction applies even if the individual is on deferred probation for a crime of domestic violence. If you have been convicted of a crime of domestic violence, it is important to understand that you will never be able to possess a firearm under federal law.
In addition, if you are on deferred probation for a felony, you will also be restricted from possessing a firearm under federal law.
The restrictions on your ability to possess a firearm while on deferred probation can be complex and nuanced. It is important to understand the specific restrictions under both state and federal law that apply to your situation. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you navigate the legal system and understand the specific restrictions that apply to your case.
If you are facing charges or are on deferred probation and have questions about your rights and restrictions regarding the possession of a firearm, it is important to seek the advice of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Brad Thornton, Board-certified criminal defense attorney and former chief prosecutor, offers a free consultation to help you understand your rights and navigate the legal system. Contact him at 210-439-5627 for more information.