This is the next post in a series of articles discussing a change in Texas law allowing for expungements of unlawful carry convictions. My previous post provided an overview of the topics to be discussed throughout this series and encouraged those who believe they are eligible for expunction to contact an attorney to review their options. The sweeping changes contained in the new legislation, known as the Constitutional Carry statute, will have a significant impact on gun rights for Texas residents. Perhaps the most beneficial provision of the law is that it allows individuals who were previously convicted of unlawful carry under Texas Penal Code Section 46.02(a) to expunge the convictions from their criminal record. In this post, I will provide additional information about such changes. If you need assistance, contact my office today to speak with a lawyer.
Prior to September 1, 2021, Texas residents were required to have a license to carry a handgun, whether openly or in a concealed fashion, in public places. This requirement was changed by HB 1927, effective beginning September 1, 2021, which provides that individuals who are aged 21 and older who may otherwise legally possess firearms may do so in public without a permit. It is important to note that the new law does not reinstate the right to possess firearms to those who are otherwise prohibited from doing so under state or federal law, such as those with previous felony convictions. Importantly, the statute was designed to allow those who were convicted of unlawful carry before the change was enacted, to seek to have such convictions expunged. This represents a major change in policy as unlawful carry convictions were not previously able to be expunged, leaving thousands with permanent criminal records for actions that are now legal. For those who are eligible, this may be a life-changing opportunity.
Unlawful carry convictions appear on criminal background checks and often preclude individuals from obtaining or retaining employment or professional licenses, finding housing, or being approved for credit. Expunction of such information from one’s record can, therefore, have significant benefits. If a criminal record is expunged, it is essentially deleted from the official records. In other words, once expunged, information about the underlying arrest, charge or disposition of the case is erased as if it never occurred. If successful, a person requesting to have their record expunged will no longer have a criminal record related to the expunged matter. They are no longer required to report the conviction on job applications, etc. The benefits of eliminating a criminal record cannot be overstated.
I am closely following the developments related to the new legislation and am ready to assist you in expunging your unlawful carry convictions. Contact our Austin office today to speak with an attorney. 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.