The Texas Judicial Council adopted a new Chapter (176) and a new rule regarding firearm admonishments in the Texas Administrative Code. Under the new rule, a trial court must inform a person of his or her ineligibility to possess a firearm or ammunition when the person, by entry of an order of judgment, becomes by state law ineligible to possess them.
Under the new §176.1 of the Texas Administrative Code, a person appearing in court must be admonished orally and in writing. If the person is not appearing before the court when the person is or becomes ineligible, the court must provide the person with a written admonishment informing the person of the person’s ineligibility to possess a firearm or ammunition by a method reasonably likely to provide notice to the person. The admonishment must clearly inform the person that possession of a firearm or ammunition could lead to additional charges.
OCA is required to publish model admonishment language on its website. The model admonishments are available below.
Municipal courts should keep this rule and new model admonishments in mind as they do go hand in hand with recent changes brought about in 2019 by House Bill 1528 pertaining to family violence offenses. You may remember that, prior to the changes, municipal courts could rely on a statement printed on a citation in place of a required court admonishment–this may be partially because before House Bill 1528, defendants did not have to appear in open court for class C family violence offenses. House Bill 1528 added Art. 45.0211 requiring judges to take a family violence plea in open court, and additionally the bill struck language allowing the citation to serve as the court admonishment, and now Art. 27.14(e)(2) simply says the court may provide the admonishment orally or in writing. This requirement is now further emphasized and clarified in the new rule. The model admonishments should also prove helpful.