Suspected Drug Dealer In Possession of a Firearm In Texas
Possession of a firearm may be sufficient to constitute "use."
In Patterson v. State, 769 S.W.2d 938 (Tex. Crim. App. 1989), court examined the meaning of the terms "used" or "exhibited" in the context of a deadly weapon finding.
There, in executing a search warrant, police officers entered an apartment where there was suspected drug dealing.
The defendant was seated on a sofa in the living room when the officers entered.
On a table next to the defendant were money and illegal drugs.
A gun was wedged between the defendant's leg and the end of the sofa.
The defendant was convicted of illegal possession and an affirmative finding was entered.
We granted review of the Court of Appeals' decision that "use" means "any employment of a deadly weapon, even its simple possession, if such possession facilitates the associated felony." Id. at 939.
We expressly approved the appellate court's definition:
Thus, "used ? a deadly weapon" during the commission of the offense means that the deadly weapon was employed or utilized in order to achieve its purpose.
Whereas "exhibited a deadly weapon" means that the weapon was consciously shown or displayed during the commission of the offense.
Therefore, the court of appeals was correct when it stated that " 'used ... during the commission of a felony offense' refers certainly to the wielding of a firearm with effect, but it extends as well to any employment of a deadly weapon, even its simple possession, if such possession facilitates the associated felony." Patterson v. State, 723 S.W.2d 308, 315 (Tex.App. -- Austin 1987). Patterson, 769 S.W.2d at 941.