This is the next post in a series of articles discussing Texas House Bill 1927. This bill provides an express allowance for individuals convicted of unlawful carry under Texas Penal Code 46.02(a) to seek expunction of their prior convictions. My previous article provided an overview of the new law, known as the Constitutional Carry statute. It also expressed the importance of contacting an attorney with criminal law experience to help determine if expunction is an option for you. Those who have been convicted of a crime are well aware of the stigma associated with having a criminal record. Many have difficulty finding employment, housing, getting credit, etc. Successfully expunging a criminal conviction essentially means that all records of the incident are erased and the information will not appear on criminal background checks or be locatable by any means. Given the potential benefits of clearing one’s name, it is essential that eligible individuals with unlawful carry convictions contact an attorney as soon as possible. In this post, I will review the eligibility requirements further. If you need assistance, contact my office today to speak with a lawyer.
Before HB 1927 was enacted, Texas law required residents to obtain a permit in order to carry a gun in public, whether the gun was concealed or otherwise. Failure to do so was a violation of the unlawful carry statute. Lawmakers had also previously determined that convictions for unlawful carry could not be expunged from a person’s criminal record. Their objective was to deter offenders from committing future unlawful carry violations and reduce gun-related violence. It is estimated that over 130,000 Texans have been convicted under the old law.
The Constitutional Carry law was made effective on September 1, 2021. Under the new statute, all individuals who are over the age of 21 and who are not otherwise prohibited from carrying a firearm may do so in public without first obtaining a license. The law states specifically that individuals who were convicted of unlawful carry under Texas Penal Code 46.02(a) prior to September 1, 2021, are eligible to seek expunction of the convictions immediately. Because their past actions no longer constitute a criminal act in Texas, lawmakers provided for expunction as a form of retroactive relief for those with prior convictions. Unlike other requests to expunge a record in which the law enforcement agency who handled the original charges has the option to object, the specific statutory allowance creates a nearly automatic right to have unlawful carry charges erased. Those who wish to take advantage of the change in the law must, however, follow specific procedural and legal requirements.
Eligibility for expunction will depend upon the specifics of an individual’s criminal history. My practice is dedicated to criminal defense, including successfully seeking expungement on my clients’ behalf. If you need assistance, contact my Austin office to speak with an attorney as soon as possible. I also serve the cities of Rollingwood, Round Rock, Elgin, Jonestown, Manor, Bee Cave, Lago Vista, Sunset Valley, Lakeway, Creedmoor, Georgetown, Cedar Park, Leander, and San Marcos, Texas.