Felon in Possession of Firearm
You can be charged for being a felon in possession of a firearm in Florida if you have a firearm, electric weapon or device, or ammunition, and you have previously been convicted of a felony. The type of possession matters in connection with the types of penalties imposed. Clearwater gun crime lawyer Will Hanlon understands how much is at stake and fights aggressively for people accused of this crime or related crimes, such as carrying a concealed firearm.Facing a Felon in Possession of Firearm Charge
Under Florida Statute section 790.23, it is illegal to own or have in your custody, possession, control, or care any firearm, electric weapon, ammunition, or concealed weapon if (1) you have been convicted of a felony in Florida, (2) you have been found by a Florida court to have perpetrated a delinquent act that would be a felony if an adult committed it, when you are under age 24, (3) you have been convicted of or found to have perpetrated a crime against the United States that is designated as a felony, (4) you were found to have perpetrated a delinquent act in another country, territory, or state that would be a felony if perpetrated by an adult and could be punished by imprisonment for a term of more than 1 year, when you are under age 24, or (5) you were found guilty of a crime that is a felony in some other country, territory, or state that was punishable by incarceration for a term of more than a year.
If you are charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, you can be punished for a second-degree felony. This is a serious conviction. At sentencing, you would face a maximum of 15 years in prison (or supervised probation) and a $10,000 fine. You can face these penalties whether you have actual or constructive possession of a firearm as a convicted felon.
What is actual possession versus constructive possession? You can be charged with actual possession if a firearm or ammunition is physically found on your body. For example, if you have a gun in the waistband of your jeans, this is actual possession. Actual possession can be challenging to fight. If you were convicted of aggravated battery, for example, and when you got out, you decided to carry a pistol for protection, and then you were caught carrying the pistol, you could face a mandatory minimum sentence of 3 years’ incarceration, even if nobody was hurt by your carrying the pistol.
Constructive possession exists if a firearm or ammunition is not physically found on your clothes or body, but the firearm is near enough to you so that it can be reasonably assumed that you knew that it was there and were able to exercise control or dominion over it. People who are convicted felons found in constructive possession of a firearm face prison time, just like people found in actual possession, but the judge is not required to impose a mandatory minimum sentence.
There are defenses that a Clearwater criminal lawyer may be able to raise in response to this charge. In some cases, we may be able to challenge a constructive possession charge. Perhaps we can show that you did not have control or dominion over the firearm if it was found in a shared house or a shared car. Or perhaps, if you actually did have your right to possess a firearm restored, we may be able to argue that you previously had your civil rights restored. There is an exception for people who were previously convicted of a felony but have had their civil rights restored.Get Advice from an Aggressive Gun Crime Lawyer in Clearwater
If you are being investigated for a firearm possession charge, and you have a prior conviction for a felony, you should consult an experienced attorney. Details about the place where the firearm was found and whether there were others in the area, or whether others could access that place, may matter to your defense. Our firm's founder, Will Hanlon, has defended people accused of gun crimes ranging from felon in possession of a firearm to aggravated assault with a firearm in the Clearwater area since 1994. You can call us at 727-897-5413 or use our online form to set up an appointment.