Prohibited Weapons in the Lone Star State

Texas is a state of big ideas, big politics and big weapons. If you are a Lone Star State resident and love weapons, you need to understand that certain weapons are prohibited. You can get into big trouble with the law if you fail to comply.

Under the Texas Prohibited Weapons law, it is illegal to knowingly possess, manufacture or sell:

  • An explosive weapon
  • A machine gun
  • A short-barrel firearm
  • A firearm silencer
  • A switchblade knife
  • Knuckles
  • Armor-piercing ammunition
  • A chemical dispensing device
  • A zip gun

If you are found in possession of one of these weapons and are charged, you might have a defense if:

  • You were performing official duties of the armed forces, National Guard, governmental law enforcement agency or correctional facility
  • Your possession was pursuant to registration under the National Firearms Act
  • Your conduct was incidental to dealing with a switchblade, spring blade knife, or short-barrel firearm solely as an antique or curio
  • You were dealing with armor-piercing ammunition solely for the purpose of making ammunition available to the armed forces, National Guard, governmental law enforcement agency or correctional facility.

It is illegal to carry a firearm or prohibited weapon at the following places: schools, polling places, courts, racetracks, secured areas of airports, and within 1,000 feet of a correctional facility on the date of an execution.

Many people wrongly believe that if they forgot or didn’t intentionally carry the weapon in one of the prohibited places, their case should be dismissed. However, in Texas, the unintentional but reckless carrying of the weapon can be a violation.

You may apply for a license to carry. To obtain one you must be qualified to purchase a handgun under state and federal laws. You cannot have a felony conviction (or a misdemeanor conviction less than five years old), pending criminal charges, chemical or alcohol dependency, certain psychiatric diagnoses, restraining orders, or tax or child support defaults.

If you have questions about the legality of certain weapons, consult with a Texas criminal defense lawyer today.

How to Get Around with a Suspended License

You don’t know what you have until it’s gone. We’re all familiar with that old adage. It applies to things we take for granted. Our driver license certainly falls into that category. Few of us remember that driving is a privilege, not a right.

If your driver license is suspended, the results can be devastating, especially in areas with no public transportation. Suddenly, you have no way to get to work, school, or church. If your license is suspended, it’s important that you pay all fines that have been assessed against you. If your suspension is the result of a conviction, you must also pay surcharges assessed by Department of Public Safety (DPS). These annual surcharges are typically paid every year for three years from the date of conviction. They can be quite hefty, often in excess of $1,000 to $2,000 every year.

If your license has been suspended, you may be able to apply for and obtain an occupational license, sometimes called an essential need license. This is a special type of restricted license that is issued to individuals whose driver license has been suspended, revoked, or denied for reasons other than delinquent child support.

An occupational license allows for the operation of a non-commercial vehicle to allow the driver to get to work, school-related activities, or to perform essential household duties. If you are interested in an occupational license, you must apply for one in the county where you reside or to the court of the jurisdiction where the offense occurred. There may be a waiting period based on the type of offense involved.

If you are able to obtain an occupational license, make sure you comply with the restrictions. While it may be tempting to do other errands and additional driving, don’t do it. You will only make matters worse if you get caught.

If your driver license has been suspended, consult with a DWI defense attorney to make sure you comply with all of the restrictions and to determine whether you may be eligible for an occupational license.

What Happens to Your Facebook Account If You Die

If you’re like most young people, you spend at least some time on Facebook. You curate wonderful photos and share your activities with your friends, even perhaps posting what you had for dinner. Have you ever stopped to think what would happen to your Facebook account if you die?

Many states have proposed legislation that would determine who controls your social media accounts when you die. For instance, a social media bill in New Hampshire proposes to give the executor of a deceased person’s estate control over the social media and electronic communications accounts of the deceased person.

Currently, the various social media and electronic communication companies all have different rules governing what happens in the event of the death of a member. For instance, Facebook has a policy of either deleting the account or memorializing it once it receives notice of a death. The memorial page remains active only to allow friends and family to post comments on it. Critics point to the fact that the deceased member’s family does not have any control over the site. Such sites are often targets of cyber-bullying, which only adds to the grief of the family.

Until the social media companies either take action, or are forced to by legislation, the best that social media account holders can do is to make plans to transfer ownership of these valuable accounts to heirs, just like any other asset. Your estate planning lawyer can help you prepare an addendum to your will listing all of your social media and electronic communication accounts and correspondingly list the names of the persons you want to bequeath those accounts to. You can pick different people for different accounts. It’s best to provide the passwords to those accounts as well.

It’s important to plan for the transfer of these accounts upon your death. After all, you wouldn’t want your precious memories to fall into the wrong hands or worse yet, get deleted.