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Unlawful Possession of a Firearm (“UPF”)

Unlawful Possession of a Firearm or (“UPF“) in Texas is a gun crime that applies to people who have been convicted of a felony, convicted of a family violence assault or under a family violence-type protective order. This Texas law prohibits those people, described in more detail below, from carrying firearms. Separate federal law also applies to firearm possession by felons.

Have you been charged with UPF? Call criminal defense lawyer Paul Saputo at (888) 239-9305.

The Texas UPF law does not apply to felons after 5 years has passed from the later of the person’s release from confinement parole or community supervision if the firearm was found at the person’s house. Similarly, the UPF law does not apply to people who have been convicted of family violence crimes more than 5 years after the person was released from jail or community supervision (whichever was later).

What is the Unlawful Possession of a Firearm law?

The Unlawful Possession of a Firearm law is found in the Texas Penal Code Section 46.04:

(a) A person who has been convicted of a felony commits an offense if he possesses a firearm:

(1) after conviction and before the fifth anniversary of the person’s release from confinement following conviction of the felony or the person’s release from supervision under community supervision, parole, or mandatory supervision, whichever date is later; or

(2) after the period described by Subdivision (1), at any location other than the premises at which the person lives.

(b) A person who has been convicted of an offense under Section 22.01, punishable as a Class A misdemeanor and involving a member of the person’s family or household, commits an offense if the person possesses a firearm before the fifth anniversary of the later of:

(1) the date of the person’s release from confinement following conviction of the misdemeanor; or

(2) the date of the person’s release from community supervision following conviction of the misdemeanor.

(c) A person, other than a peace officer, as defined by Section 1.07, actively engaged in employment as a sworn, full-time paid employee of a state agency or political subdivision, who is subject to an order issued under Section 6.504 or Chapter 85, Family Code, under Article 17.292 or Chapter 7A, Code of Criminal Procedure, or by another jurisdiction as provided by Chapter 88, Family Code, commits an offense if the person possesses a firearm after receiving notice of the order and before expiration of the order.

It is important to understand that the Texas UPF law is only one of many weapons-related charges that may be applicable in your case. Other offenses like Unlawful Carrying Weapons (“UCW”), the Section 46.05 “Prohibited Weapons” offense or the Section 46.03 “Places Weapons Prohibited” offense may be applicable. In addition, federal firearms laws may be applicable, and you may be prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney for such federal crimes.

Another important note is that the statute limits the applicability of UPF to each class of individuals it covers. Your criminal defense lawyer may argue that your conviction and release from prison, jail or community supervision is too “remote,” and therefore you are not covered. This is different from the “statute of limitations” for the offense.

What is a firearm under Texas law?

A firearm is defined in Texas Penal Code Section 46.01(3):

“Firearm” means any device designed, made, or adapted to expel a projectile through a barrel by using the energy generated by an explosion or burning substance or any device readily convertible to that use. Firearm does not include a firearm that may have, as an integral part, a folding knife blade or other characteristics of weapons made illegal by this chapter and that is:

(A) an antique or curio firearm manufactured before 1899; or

(B) a replica of an antique or curio firearm manufactured before 1899, but only if the replica does not use rim fire or center fire ammunition.

What is penalty for a Unlawful Possession of a Firearm convcition?

UPF is punished as a third degree felony if it is charged under subsection (a), but it is punished as a Class A Misdemeanor if it charged under subsection (b) or (c).1

What is the difference between UCW and UPF?

UPF is different from Unlawful Carrying Weapons (UCW) primarily because UPF only applies to people who have been convicted of a felony, convicted of a family violence assault or under a family violence-type protective order while UCW applies to everyone except those who are specifically exempt.2 Learn more about UCW


Legal References:

1Texas Penal Code Section 46.06(e)

2Texas Penal Code Section 46.15

Published by Criminal Defense Attorney on and last modified