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What Happens in Houston When Charged with a DWI while in Possession of a Weapon?

 Posted on April 04, 2020 in Uncategorized

Ultimate Fighting Championship light heavyweight champion Jon "Bones" Jones is no stranger to fighting. Unfortunately, his next battle will be with the state of New Mexico following an arrest on suspicion of driving while intoxicated.

According to Albuquerque police, officers responded to a report of gunshots at approximately 1 a.m. on March 26, 2020. When police approached a parked, running vehicle they encountered the professional mixed martial arts fighter. The police report alleges that when Jones opened the door to the vehicle, officers observed him in possession of a handgun and a half-empty liquor bottle.

After making contact with Jones, the officers allege they noticed signs of intoxication. Jones denied firing the weapon but admitted to driving and drinking alcohol. He also submitted to field sobriety testing, which police claim he failed. Additionally, the report noted bloodshot, watery eyes, and the smell of alcohol coming from his facial area.

Based on these observations coupled with the presence of an open container of alcohol, police arrested Jones on suspicion of aggravated DWI. Additionally, they charged him with no proof of insurance, possessing an open container of alcohol, and negligent use of a firearm. Jones was released on bond after being booked.

Jones has a prior DWI conviction. This, coupled with the firearm charge, could lead to significant penalties.

Consequences of Carrying a Firearm during a DWI Arrest in Houston

While Jones is facing additional charges for allegedly firing his weapon in a negligent manner, you could face a criminal charge for merely possessing a handgun while driving under the influence. In fact, if this had occurred in Houston, you could face firearms charges even if you have a concealed carry license.

Section 46.02(A)(2)(A) of the Texas Penal Code outlaws the possession of a firearm when engaged in an unlawful act. This statute can apply to DWI, and it could lead to charges even if you are otherwise authorized to possess the firearm.

This is true for anyone with a concealed handgun license. If you are permitted to carry a concealed weapon you are allowed to have it with you in your personal vehicle. That said, this right is not without its limits. According to the statute, it is a Class A misdemeanor to intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly carry while committing a criminal act. Driving under the influence of drugs of alcohol counts as a criminal act under this statute. This violation may occur regardless if the weapon is concealed or not. However, you could face additional issues if your gun is out in the open as was the case in Jones' arrest. Here is the good new for Texans, it is legal to consume alcohol, then drive and also possess a firearm for protection--so long as you do not consume too much alcohol where you do not have the normal use of your mental and physical faculties. The decision to arrest is made on a subjective opinion that mental and physical faculties were no longer normal due to alcohol or drug consumption. This subjective opinion can be easily undermined with a veteran Board Certified DWI Defense Attorney who knows how to successfully cross-examine law enforcement officers based upon their limited police training.

According to the statute, it is also unlawful to carry a weapon in a motor vehicle when the firearm is in plain view. In both of these cases, the offense is treated as a Class A misdemeanor. It is possible that the weapons offenses could carry steeper penalties than the DWI itself. Combined with a second or subsequent DWI, these penalties could be especially harsh. If you find yourself facing these charges, it is vital to discuss your situation with a dedicated and board certified Houston criminal defense attorney right away.

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