In Texas, a DUI can prevent you from buying a gun if it results in a felony conviction. Most first-time DUI and DWI offenses are charged as misdemeanors, but some—including Intoxication Assault—are charged as felonies.
DUI (Driving Under the Influence) is reserved for minors in the state of Texas, which has a no-tolerance approach to underage drinking. You can still get arrested and charged with a DWI, even if you are under 21. In this article, we’ll cover how a DUI/DWI can affect your gun rights in Texas.
Eligibility to Purchase a Gun with a DUI in Texas
DWIs in Texas are categorized based on various factors, with charges increasing in severity to match the seriousness of the crime committed. For example, a first-time DWI is usually charged as a misdemeanor. However, third and subsequent DWIs, DWI with a Child Passenger, Intoxication Manslaughter, and Intoxication Assault are all classed as felonies.
A DWI can prevent you from buying a gun if it results in a felony conviction. We’ll take a closer look at this below.
Can DUI Misdemeanors Prevent You from Buying a Gun in Texas?
In Texas, a DUI/DWI misdemeanor alone will not usually prevent you from purchasing a gun. Instead, consequences typically include fines, and or jail time, and license suspension. Here’s what the Texas Department of Transportation lists for first-time DUI punishments (for offenders aged 21 and under):
- Up to a $500 fine
- A 60-day driver license suspension
- 20 to 40 hours of community service
- Mandatory alcohol-awareness classes
If you’re 17 or older and are pulled over for drinking and driving with a blood or breath alcohol concentration of .08 or greater, you could face:
Texas Department of Transportation
- Up to a $2,000 fine
- Three to 180 days in jail
- A driver’s license suspension for 90 days to a year
For first-time DWIs (with no aggravating factors), offenders face a Class B misdemeanor. Criminal penalties include:
- Up to a $2,000 fine
- Between 3 days and 180 days in jail
- Suspension of driver’s license
While most misdemeanors in Texas will not prevent you from buying a gun, misdemeanors related to family violence, such as domestic violence, can impede your gun rights.
Can DUI Felonies Prevent You from Buying a Gun in Texas?
Federal gun laws prevent convicted felons from owning a gun. If you are successfully convicted of a felony—for DUI, DWI, or something else—you cannot buy a gun in Texas.
According to Texas Penal Code § 46.04, however, if you are a convicted felon and you’ve completed your sentencing, you can own a gun again five years after the sentencing has successfully ended, but only if it is kept on your premises. You’re breaking the law if you carry a gun outside of your home.
If you are facing DUI charges in Texas, the best thing you can do to protect your right to own a gun, your liberty, and your future is to contact an experienced DWI attorney today.
Restoration of Your Gun Rights
There are a few ways in which convicted felons might be able to have their gun rights restored, but it’s essential to understand that doing so successfully is challenging, which is why it’s so important to work with an experienced DWI attorney to fight against your DUI or DWI charges and avoid a felony conviction in the first place.
To have their rights restored, felons will need to be granted clemency. After completing their sentence, a convicted felon may apply for a pardon from the governor and the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles. If successful, a certificate of restoration will be provided, restoring all of the convicted felon’s civil rights under the state.
However, pardon applications are tricky, and the odds of success are low. According to the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure § 48.05, for an application to be considered, it must contain:
(1) a completed application on a form adopted by the Board of Pardons and Paroles;
(2) three or more affidavits attesting to the good character of the applicant; and
(3) proof that the applicant has completed the sentence for the offense.
If an application for restoration of civil rights is denied, there is a one-year wait before the applicant can reapply.
If you’re thinking of applying for a pardon, you’ll need to include your offense reports, certified court documents, and official criminal history statement in your application. Within the application, you’ll need to state why you are applying for a pardon and describe what you’ve done since your conviction—including successful rehabilitative efforts you’ve undertaken—to show that you deserve restoration of firearm rights consideration.
If the Board decides in your favor, they will recommend the restoration of your firearm rights to the Governor, who will make the final decision. Every case is looked at individually, and the quality of your application will make a difference in whether you are successful. Though many reasons for denial can be subjective, the lack of correct documentation and inaccuracies in the application itself can lead to an immediate rejection. Reasons for denial of your application include (but are not limited to):
- Inaccuracies in the court or police records provided
- Inaccuracies in the application
- Missing evidence to demonstrate that restitution or fines have been paid in full
- Other missing required documentation as specified in the Restoration of Firearm Rights Instructions & Checklist
If you have been sentenced to community supervision, once you have completed your sentence, the judge—at the time of your release—has the power to restore your civil rights. However, this is unlikely.
Finally, if you believe that your constitutional rights have been violated and that this contributed toward your felony conviction, you can petition for a writ of habeas corpus and attempt to overturn the conviction.
Ultimately, the chances of having your civil rights restored are minimal. Clemency is not easy to obtain for felons, so it’s vital to fight against DWI charges in the first place.
Safeguard Your Firearm Ownership Rights: Hire an Experienced DWI Attorney
Carrying a felony on your record will negatively impact various aspects of your life, including your civil rights. A felony conviction will appear on background checks, making it difficult to find employment, receive loans, and even secure accommodation.
The best chance of safeguarding your firearm ownership rights, civil liberties, and future is to fight against your DWI alongside an experienced DWI attorney.
Michael & Associates have over four decades of experience in DWIs. We take your freedom seriously and know how important it is to find the right attorney. That is why we offer a free case review. Don’t take a chance on your future! Book your free case review today.