How to Obtain a License to Carry in Texas with a Criminal Record

May 19, 2020

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  • If you’re trying to obtain a License to Carry a Handgun (LTC) in the State of Texas, there’s some important information you’ll need before you start the process. If you have a criminal record, it’s especially important that you read the following. Be sure to consult with an attorney to check your options for criminal record sealing or expungement.

    Basic Requirements

    The following are the basic requirements for obtaining a License to Carry a Handgun (LTC) in Texas. For more information, the Texas Department of Public Safety answers a lot of FAQs that people have about the process. Texas Government Code Chapter 411, Subchapter H sets out the eligibility criteria which must be met. Section 411.172 states:

    • Is a legal resident of Texas for 6 months preceding the date of the application (or intends to establish residency)
    • Must be at least 21 years old (unless active duty military)
    • Has not been convicted of a felony
    • Is not charged with a Class A or Class B misdemeanor, or of disorderly conduct, or of a felony
    • Is not a fugitive for a felony or a Class A or Class B misdemeanor;
    • Is not a chemically dependent person
    • Is not incapable of exercising sound judgment with respect to the proper use and storage of a handgun
    • Has not, in the five years preceding the date of application, been convicted of a Class A or Class B misdemeanor or of disorderly conduct
    • Is fully qualified under applicable federal and state law to purchase a handgun
    • Has not been finally determined to be delinquent in making a child support payment administered or collected by the attorney general
    • Has not been finally determined to be delinquent in the payment of taxes
    • Is not currently restricted under a court protective order or subject to a restraining order
    • Has not, in the 10 years preceding the date of application, been adjudicated as having engaged in delinquent conduct (juvenile) violating a penal law of the grade of felony
    • Has not made any material misrepresentation, or failed to disclose any material fact, in a LTC application

    Criminal Records and a License to Carry a Handgun

    As you can see, there are a number of requirements to apply for a LTC. In addition, the federal requirements are listed under 18 USC 44 §922. Most people who have issues obtaining LTC have some sort of criminal record. A common question we receive is whether “deferred adjudication” count for purposes of a conviction? Also, what can be done if someone with a criminal record wants to obtain a LTC? Here are some of those important answers.

    Deferred Adjudication and License to Carry

    Many people often receive deferred adjudication probation (community supervision) after a plea of “no contest” in Texas. If probation is successfully completed, these cases usually result in the charges being dismissed in lieu of a conviction. This is an important distinction, and many times these types of criminal records can be sealed or expunged in Texas.

    Still, Texas GC §411.1711 says that cases that are dismissed after deferred adjudication probation will prohibit the person from getting a LTC, except when ten (10) years or more have passed since the date of the order of deferred. If it’s been 10 or more years, then the case is not considered in issuing a LTC. However, if the deferred adjudication was for one of the following felonies, the person still may not obtain a LTC:

    • Offenses under Title 5 (including criminal homicide, kidnapping, trafficking of persons, sexual and assaultive offenses).
    • Robbery offenses under Chapter 29.
    • Violations of court orders related to victims of family violence, child abuse or neglect, sexual assault, under Section 25.07 or 072.
    • Offenses under Section 30.02(c)(2) or subsection (d) (third degree residential burglary or first degree burglary).
    Expungement and License to Carry

    Offenses that have been expunged, set aside, or otherwise vacated do not prohibit someone from obtaining a LTC in Texas. Many dismissed cases, or Class C misdemeanors given deferred adjudication are eligible for a Texas expungement. It’s highly recommended that you expunge your criminal record before applying for a LTC.

    FAQ: If I was convicted of Driving While Intoxicated (DWI), can I obtain a LTC?

    DWI is classified as at least a Class B misdemeanor, and you are ineligible for a license for five years after a conviction for a Class A or Class B misdemeanor. For the purpose of determining eligibility, a conviction includes those that were dismissed after you completed probation or deferred adjudication.

    Applying for a License to Carry

    If you believe that you’re eligible for a LTC in Texas, you may begin by submitting an online application. Then, you’ll need to schedule an appointment for fingerprinting. This fingerprint background check will make sure that you’ve met the above qualifications. Again, if you have cases that are eligible to be sealed or expunged, make sure to get that completed first!

    Applicants must also complete four to six hours of classroom training, pass a written examination and pass a proficiency demonstration (shooting). Check out the Texas DPS website for more information concerning the training requirements.


    Applying for a LTC or preparing to purchase a firearm can be a detailed process. Agencies have in place multiple checks to ensure that the person may rightfully own a firearm or obtain a LTC. If you have a criminal record in Texas, be sure to obtain an expungement or record seal before applying for a LTC. The legal process to seal or expunge a case can be complicated, so it’s best to seek the advice of an experienced attorney. To begin, check to see whether you qualify by taking our free, secure Eligibility Test. You can then set an appointment to speak with one of our knowledgeable professionals.  

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