Appeals court affirms decision regarding revocation of concealed handgun license following DWI guilty plea

By Charmaine Little | Mar 15, 2019

A man whose concealed handgun license was revoked by the Texas Department of Public Safety after he pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated recently lost his appeal when the 14th Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court’s ruling.

In the appeals court ruling filed Feb. 28, Jeffrey Wells had his concealed handgun license revoked after he pleaded guilty to DWI, which is a Class B misdemeanor. The department revoked his license saying his conviction made him ineligible to have a license. The justice court affirmed, and Wells appealed in the County Civil Court at Law No. 3 in Harris County. That court affirmed, and Wells appealed to the 14th Court of Appeals, which affirmed the lower court's ruling.

In his appeal, Wells said his case went to the wrong precinct at the justice level, which infringed on his rights. He also said the justice and county court erred when they both failed to remand the case to the precinct where he wanted his case heard.

“When Wells perfected his appeal to the county court at law from the justice court for a trial de novo, the law rendered the justice court’s judgment vacated and annulled,” the appeals court said. “In a trial de novo, the county court at law is not bound by the justice court’s decisions on the merits.”

Rather, the county court has the choice to independently decide the case on appeal, it can’t make a decision on the justice court’s judgment. So, Wells’s first two arguments are moot.

As far as whether the county court erred when it affirmed Wells’ license being revoked despite the challenge that it didn’t comply with a Supreme Court ruling, “Wells does not present an analysis as to how the revocation violated these constitutional provisions,” as Wells said his rights in the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution was violated, court filings said.

Wells also failed to show that a new legislative plan “imposed any increase in punishment to the pre-existing revocation scheme,” the appeals court said.

Since Wells didn’t show that the legislative changes impacted him negatively, he couldn’t show he was owed relief. Because of each of these issues, the court agreed Wells’ license should stay revoked.

Chief Justice Kem Thompson Frost wrote the opinion and Justices Tracy Christopher and Frances Bourliot concurred.

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