There are many consequences for persons arrested and charged with a crime in Texas. One of the often overlooked considerations is whether and to what extent a criminal accusation impacts one’s authorization to carry a weapon with a License to Carry (LTC), formerly a Concealed Handgun License (CHL). The reality of gun possession in today’s political climate is that the restrictions are many and increasing.
Texas has very specific guidelines regarding qualifications for obtaining a License to Carry a Handgun. But, what most do not realize is that there are also strict regulations in place while a person possesses that license – especially if a person is arrested and charged with a crime.
What happens to my License to Carry or CHL if I’m arrested and charged with a crime?
Texas Government Code 411.187 spells out the scenarios that require the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) to suspend one’s LTC or CHL. In regards to criminal charges, the department SHALL suspend an LTC if the license holder is charged with the commission of:
- a Class A or Class B Misdemeanor;
- an offense under Section 42.01 of the Texas Penal Code (Disorderly Conduct); or
- any Felony offense.
In addition, a person’s LTC or CHL will be suspended if a person is arrested for any offense involving family violence or disorderly conduct and is subject to an active protective order.
How long will my License to Carry be suspended if I’m arrested and charged with a crime?
Unfortunately, the law is clear that the suspension will remain in place until the dismissal of the charges or for the duration of the protective order (in a family violence case.) Texas Government Code 411.187(c)(3).
What happens to my LTC or CHL if I’m convicted of the charge?
If you are convicted of any felony or of the offense of “Unlawful Carrying of a Handgun by a License Holder,” your license to carry a handgun will be revoked permanently. Texas Government Code 411.186 (3) & (4).
If you are convicted of a class A or class B misdemeanor, your license will remain suspended and you will only be able to re-apply for a new LTC when you once again meet the initial eligibility requirements.
A person is eligible for a LTC if they have not, in the five years preceding the application, been convicted of a Class A or Class B misdemeanor or disorderly conduct. What this essentially establishes is a 5-year waiting period from the time of your conviction to the time when you can apply again for your handgun license.
What about being convicted of offenses involving family violence?
Offenses involving family violence carry more significant consequences. If you are convicted of a Class C, Class B or Class A misdemeanor involving family violence, then Federal Law prohibits you from owning or possessing a firearm. Also, under Federal Law, even a plea to deferred adjudication constitutes a conviction and bars a person from owning or possessing a firearm. Because of this, a conviction for any misdemeanor involving family violence would prohibit you from ever being eligible to obtain your concealed handgun license in Texas. See Texas Government Code 411.172 (a) (9).