Having a driving while intoxicated (DWI) charge against you doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t be able to legally purchase a gun in Texas. There are several factors that go into determining what applies with a DWI and the ability to buy a gun, including the details related to the charge and whether or not you were convicted. Below, the firearms education pros from Online Texas LTC, the experts to turn to when you want to take a top-notch license to carry Texas class, give you some general guidelines to keep in mind to determine what may apply to you.
DUI vs. DWI
These are the two possible charges you may face in Texas for driving while impaired to some extent by alcohol. While we’re focusing on DWIs, it’s important to note how a DWI differs from a DUI (driving under the influence). Typically, individuals driving while intoxicated under the age of 21 in Texas are charged with DUIs. If the driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) is excessively high, a DUI could become a DWI, which comes with stiffer penalties.
Whether or not you can buy a gun with a DWI in Texas depends primarily on the specific class of misdemeanor that applies to this charge for you. For instance, if you’re under 21 and charged with a DUI, which is a Class C misdemeanor, you would still be able to legally purchase a gun. If you have a DWI, which is a Class B or Class A misdemeanor, you may not be able to legally buy a gun in Texas. Misdemeanors falling under these two classes are ones that could potentially result in jail time of a year or more, which would prevent you from purchasing a firearm under federal law while under indictment.
The 5-Year Exception
If the Class A or B misdemeanor DWI charges are beyond the five-year point, you would then be able to purchase a gun legally in Texas. You would also be able to legally obtain a license to carry a handgun if your DWI conviction is over five years old and classified as a Class A or B misdemeanor.
Third-Degree Felony DWIs
This is another instance when you wouldn’t be able to legally buy a gun in Texas. A third-degree felony DWI applies automatically in the state if you’ve already been convicted of at least three other DWI charges. Every additional DWI beyond the third one is a third-degree offense. There are also other situations that can result in a felony DWI. According to the Texas State Law Library, it’s illegal to purchase a firearm in Texas if you have a felony conviction on your record. Some exceptions may apply, but this is rare. One possibility for an exception is to have your record expunged.
Guns Bought Pre-DWI
If your DWI is a Class A or B misdemeanor or a felony DWI, you may be able to keep firearms you already own. If you’re convicted of a felony DWI, you wouldn’t be able to legally own or possess any firearms.
Regardless of what your background is and what you may have been charged with or convicted of, please consult with an attorney who specializes in firearm law. None of the information in this post is to be considered legal advice.
Whether you carry a gun for self-defense, hunting, competition, or another purpose, make sure you have the proper training to do it legally and safely. You can count on the firearms education pros at Online Texas LTC for the highest-quality training available. Whether you’re looking for LTC proficiency testing or you want to take a Texas CHL class, call us today at 512-675-2206.