South Florida Firearm Defense Lawyer – West Palm Beach Firearm Defense Lawyer
Florida Stand Your Ground Lawyer
If you are charged with the unlawful possession, use, or display of a firearm or weapon in Florida , you could face serious prison time as a result. Gun crimes are treated very seriously in this state because rising crime statistics, as well as as the rise in gun violence in particular, have resulted in reactionary legislation being passed in an effort to curtail violence. Although citizens of the United States have the constitutional right to bear arms per the Second Amendment, Florida has imposed certain laws regarding the posession and use of weapons and firearms in order to ensure citizens of the state own and use weapons without harming others in the community unlawfully. These laws make some uses of weapons and firearms a criminal offense.
Thousands of arrests are made annually in Florida for weapons possession, carrying offenses, and other related conduct. You could be looking at several years in prison if you are convicted of a weapons crime. It is imperative that you engage a criminal defense lawyer to aid you in your legal defense.
Although Florida has some of the most severe sentencing laws in the country related to firearms and weapons offenses, there are viable defenses which can be raised. Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law, and other self defense-related trial strategies, may come into play with your particular case. Contact Nellie L. King, P.A. at 561-833-1084, available 24 hours a day, or fill out a form on the side of this page to schedule your free initial consultation.
Florida Gun and Weapon Crimes
Owning a firearm is not against the law in Florida, as long as you have the paperwork and licensing required. However, if you are arrested for illegally possessing a firearm, then you could be looking at criminal charges and jail or prison time.
Furthermore, Florida enacted special gun legislation in an effort to “get tough on crime.” Known as the 10-20-LIFE law, Florida Statutes § 775.087 mandates specific minimum prison terms for those who commit crimes with weapons. One of the toughest gun-crimes laws in the nation, the statute requires minimum prison terms for weapons charges to be served consecutively (not at the same time) to any other prison terms imposed for crimes committed. Portions of the 10-20-LIFE weapons statute impose these minimum prison sentences:
- Felonies or Attempted Felonies with a Firearm – Minimum 10 Years in Florida Prison
- Crimes where the Firearm was Discharged – Minimum 20 Years in Florida Prison
- Crimes Committed with a Firearm where Someone was Injured or Killed – Minimum 25 Years to Life in Florida Prison, and
- Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon – Minimum 3 years in Florida Prison
Further, if you have been arrested for another crime, such as aggravated battery, buglary, or a sex crime, and you are in possession of a weapon, this can enhance your sentence significantly due to felony sentencing reclassifications.
Common Weapons Charges in Florida
The Law Offices of Nellie L. King, P.A. has handled multiple types of weapons charges commonly prosecuted in Florida. Some common weapons charges include:
- Carrying a Concealed Weapon, Florida Statutes Section 790.01. Carrying a concealed weapon anywhere other than your home or business in Florida requires a Concealed Weapons Permit (CWP). However, if someone carries their weapon or firearm in public and they do not have a CWP, they can be charged with this offense.
- Improper Exhibition of a Weapon, Florida Statutes Sections 790.10. You can be charged with this offense if you display a weapon in the presence of another person in a rude, careless, threatening or angry manner that is not self defense.
- Possession of a Weapon on School Grounds, Florida Statutes Section 790.115. This provision states that possessing a weapon on school grounds, or within 1,000 feet of school grounds during school hours or scheduled school activities, is a punishable offense.
- Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon, Florida Statutes Section 790.23. This law states that if someone carries a firearm who is a convicted felon in Florida, or who is convicted felon outside of Florida, and the offense carried a possible punishment of one year or more in prison, they could be charged with this offense. This offense also involves minimum mandatory sentencing provisions.
- Gun Trafficking is a rare charge which can be considered a Florida state offense, a federal offense, or both. Gun Trafficking involves the smuggling of illicit weapons or guns, and can carry extremely severe punishments.
- Unlawful Discharge of a Weapon
- Armed Robbery
- Armed Burglary
Persons Permitted to Carry Concealed Weapons
According to Florida Statutes Section 790.06, certain citizens are permitted to carry concealed weapons. A person is eligible for a concealed weapons license in Florida if they meet the flowing requirements:
- A United States resident and citizen or permanent resident
- At least 21 years old
- Does not suffer from a physical disability preventing the safe handling of a weapon
- Is not a convicted felon ineligible to possess a firearm
- Has not been committed for controlled substance abuse for the three years prior to application
- Does not habitually use alcohol or controlled substances
- Desires to carry a weapon for self-defense
- Has displayed competence with a firearm
- Is not legally incapacitated
- Has not been committed to a mental institution for the five years prior to application
- Has not been found guilty of a domestic violence crime and met all sentencing requirements for the three years prior to application
- Has not been enjoined from committing acts of domestic violence
- Is not prohibited from possessing or purchasing a weapon under any other Florida or federal law
Penalties in Florida for Weapons Charges
A conviction for Carrying a Concealed Weapon that is not a firearm, and Improper Exhibition of a Weapon, are misdemeanors of the first degree, which can include imprisonment for up to one year and/or fines up to $1,000.
Carrying a Concealed Weapon that is a firearm, and Possession of a Weapon on School Grounds, are felonies of the third degree, which can result in state prison time for up to five years and/or fines not in excess of $5,000.
Possession of a Firearm by Convicted Felon is a felony of the second degree, unless the felony is gang-related, which incurs greater punishment. Felonies of the second degree involve prison time up to 15 years in state prison and fines up to $10,000.
Defenses to Weapons Charges
If you are charged with certain weapons offenses, there are defenses and strategies your attorney may employ to have the charge dropped or reduced.
Stand Your Ground and Other Self Defense Related Strategies May Apply to Your Case Facts
Carrying a Concealed Weapon – One potential defense to this charge is if the firearm is encased in a holster in a closed glove compartment or closed console of your car. You are not required to have a Concealed Weapons Permit if your gun is in either of these places. An exception to Carrying a Concealed Weapon allows Florida citizens to carry a stun-gun, two ounces or less of chemical sprays, or other non-lethal weapons for self-protection.
- Improper Exhibition of a Weapon – A defense to this charge could be that the person did not brandish the weapon in a threatening manner, or in a way that imposed an unreasonable risk of injury to others. This element of the statute is subjective, not factually based.
- Possession of a Weapon on School Grounds – Exceptions to this offense include people who are authorized to carry weapons on school grounds, such as those who are enrolled in an authorized firearms program or class, or persons possessing a Concealed Weapons Permit.
- Possession of a Firearm by Convicted Felon – An exception to this charge is if someone who is a convicted felon has had their civil rights and privilege to possess a firearm restored.
West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney
Nellie L. King, P.A. handles all instances of firearm possession and weapons charges. Justice prevails when there are advocates who are knowledgeable, passionate, and unashamed to ardently defend the Constitution and those accused of a crime. This is what you can expect when you work with Nellie L. King, P.A. Contact Nellie L. King, P.A. at 561-833-1084, available 24 hours a day, or fill out a form on the side of this page to schedule your free initial consultation.