DWI Charges are Serious and Can Affect Your Family and Your Job. Call the Attorneys at Griffin Miers, LLP to Begin Your Defense.
FIREARMS & DWI
Gun ownership is a constitutional right. The Second Amendment provides that “[a] well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” If you have been convicted of a felony in Texas, or had a finding of family violence against you, you probably know – if you were a gun owner -that this right to gun ownership is not an absolute. There are conditions, conditions that involve your status as a convicted felon..
Two things are important to understand: (1) if you have been charged with a DWI in Texas, and already have two prior DWI convictions, a third DWI conviction will result in a felony, which means your right to gun ownership will be frustrated; but (2) if you care about your Second Amendment right, you can fight the charge to ensure your right to own a gun is not obstructed. There are other felony DWI offenses, such as a DWI with Child under 15, Intoxication Assault, and Intoxication Manslaughter. If you have been charged with any of these offenses, a conviction will still result in a felony. An experienced DWI and Fort Worth criminal defense attorney with extensive DWI trial experience is your best option. Anything less could mean a plea deal, that most likely will not include an ability to maintain your gun rights.
Mitch Miers has the knowledge and trial experience in DWI and related offenses. His knowledge of the law, the court, the prosecutor’s office, and the inherent available challenges to DWI arrests and chemical tests work in your favor. He will listen to your case, investigate as needed, and identify key areas where he can build your defense. Mitch is a straight shooter that wants to protect your constitutional rights and avoid jail, steep fines, and license suspension.
FELONY CONVICTIONS AND YOUR RIGHT TO OWN A GUN
Both Texas law and federal law impose restrictions on gun possession and ownership if you have been convicted of a felony. If you have been convicted of a federal crime, like a third or subsequent DWI, DWI with Child, Intoxication Manslaughter, or Intoxication Assault, you cannot possess or own a firearm.
Federal laws, which are more restrictive, control over Texas law, or any other state law for that matter. In Texas, according to Texas Penal Code § 46.04, a person who has been convicted of a felon but who has completed his or her sentence, can own a gun again after five years of completing the said sentence. There are two caveats to this law, however, and they are:
- You must keep the firearm on your premises and in your home; and
- If it is reported to the authorities that you possess this gun, then you can be arrested and charged (because federal law does not permit gun ownership after five years, and federal law controls Texas law on the subject).
If gun ownership is important to you. If hunting is important to you, then you do not want to tempt another arrest. You should, if you have been charged with a felony DWI, commit to fighting the charge wholeheartedly. Mitch Miers understands mistakes can be made and will help you fight your charge and protect your Second Amendment rights.
REINSTATEMENT OF GUN RIGHTS
Gun possession and ownership after a felony DWI conviction is not all black and white. To be able to own and possess a gun legally, your primary option for the reinstitution of your gun rights is a governor’s pardon.
Federal law provides that if your civil rights have been restored (a pardon) by the state that initially stripped you of your civil rights due to a felony conviction, then you can once again legally own and possess guns. This means if you move out of Texas, you cannot own and possess a gun unless Texas restores your civil rights; another state does not have the legal ability to do so.
In Texas, civil rights can be restored by a full pardon by the governor and the Board of Pardons and Paroles. According to Texas Code of Criminal Procedure § 48.05, your application can easily be denied by any of the following:
- An inaccuracy in the court or police records;
- An inaccuracy in the application;
- The Governor believes that it is in the best interests of society not to restore your civil rights;
- You still owe fines or restitution; or
- You are otherwise not eligible to apply.
As you can see, there are both objective and subjective reasons to deny reinstitution of your civil rights, and the most common one is subjective: the governor’s belief that it is in the best interests of society not to restore your civil rights.
There are two other circumstances by which your civil rights can be restored, but these options have narrower success rates than a governor’s pardon.
- If you were placed on community supervision, the judge at the time of your release from community supervision can restore your civil rights.
- If you believe there was a significant constitutional violation and that violation contributed substantially to your DWI conviction, then you can attempt to have your conviction set aside through a writ of habeas corpus.
In both of the above scenarios, the odds of success are overwhelmingly against you. Society does not care for the idea of a felon with a gun, and the courts are following that trend. Also, to prove a significant constitutional violation that can successfully result in a felony DWI conviction to be set aside by a writ of habeas corpus is extremely rare, though possible: if must be a direct appeal issue, but the burden of proof is high to prove the appealable issue.
Generally speaking, chances for the reinstatement of your civil rights, and therefore your gun rights, in the State of Texas are very limited. With a high bar to cross post-conviction, fighting your felony charge from the outset is of paramount.
PREVENT LOSING YOUR RIGHT TO OWN & POSSESS A FIREARM: HIRE A DWI ATTORNEY
Owning and possessing a gun is your constitutional right, but it is not an absolute right: it can be taken from you. A conviction of a felony DWI offense is one way your civil rights can be denied. If you are a gun owner in Texas and have recently been arrested and charged with a DWI, you should contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer with specific trial and DWI experience. Your civil rights are at stake; you owe it to yourself to fight the charge.
Fort Worth criminal defense attorneys Mitch Miers and Andrew Griffin are ready to go to court and to fight your charge. Contact Griffin Miers, LLP or by phone at (817) 585-8888 today to discuss your case.