Florida law strictly regulates the use and possession of guns. If you are convicted of a gun crime, there is a possibility that you will be imprisoned, need to pay a fine, need to forfeit your weapons, and bear the burden of a criminal record. Many people do not realize until they actually have a criminal record how stigmatizing a conviction can be. It can affect your capacity to get work, go to school, find housing, and build a social reputation. At Hanlon Law, Clearwater gun crime lawyer Will Hanlon understands how easy it is to inadvertently violate a weapons law in Florida, and he fights for people accused of gun crimes, as well as related charges like aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.Fighting Gun Charges in Florida
Numerous laws regulate gun purchase and use in Florida. There is a three-day waiting period to buy a handgun. There is a prohibition on the transfer or possession of some kinds of ammunition. There is liability for people who do not secure their firearms so that children cannot get them. However, Florida does not require a background check when firearms are privately transferred between people, require registration of firearms, limit firearms that can be bought at once, or regulate unsafe handguns. The state had the 26th-highest rate of gun deaths in 2016.
Gun crimes in Florida include the improper exhibition of a dangerous firearm or weapon, carrying a concealed weapon, possessing a firearm as a convicted felon, discharging or possessing a weapon at school, or allowing a minor under 16 years old to have access to a loaded firearm. What the prosecutor must prove depends on the specific charges at issue. As with other kinds of crimes, there is a presumption of innocence, and the burden of proving the charges against you beyond a reasonable doubt is the prosecutor's burden. A gun crime attorney in the Clearwater area can make sure to hold the prosecutor to this high standard.
Carrying a concealed firearm without the proper license is charged as a third-degree felony that carries a sentence of up to 5 years in prison or on probation and up to $5,000 in fines. A prosecutor can obtain a conviction under Florida Statute section 790.01(2) if she can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that (1) you knowingly carried a firearm on your person, and (2) it was hidden from another person's ordinary sight. There is no requirement that a prosecutor prove intent to conceal. Instead, the state of mind required is that you knew that you had a gun. There are some exceptions, and if your situation fits one of them, a Clearwater criminal lawyer may be able to get a dismissal or acquittal.
Under Florida Statute section 790.10, improper exhibition of a firearm is criminalized as a first-degree misdemeanor. You can be convicted if (1) you carried a weapon, (2) you showed the weapon in a rude, careless, angry, or threatening way, and (3) you showed the weapon in front of other people. Thus, for example, if you took a gun out at a barbecue and waved it around as a joke, you could be charged with improper exhibition and should promptly retain a Clearwater gun crime attorney to defend you. If the prosecutor is able to obtain a conviction, you may face a maximum of 1 year in jail or on probation and up to $1,000 in fines.
It is also illegal to knowingly own, control, or possess a firearm if you are a convicted felon or an adjudicated delinquent under Florida Statute section 790.23 and still under 24. If you are a convicted felon and knowingly possess a firearm, you face a 3-year mandatory minimum sentence that is supposed to be served day for day with no gain time. If the prosecutor proves this charge, you can face a maximum of 15 years in prison or on probation and up to $10,000 in fines.
Sometimes a gun crime charge is tacked on to another violent crime. Also, in some situations, the prosecution will seek a sentencing enhancement under the 10-20-Life Statute, which provides mandatory minimum sentences when a gun is used, carried, or discharged while perpetrating certain specified violent crimes, including murder, robbery, burglary, arson, aggravated child abuse, or sexual battery (rape).Hire an Experienced Gun Crime Lawyer in the Clearwater Area
Gun crimes in Florida are taken very seriously. Will Hanlon has dedicated himself to protecting the rights of the accused since 1994. You can call Hanlon Law at 727-897-5413 or complete our online form to set up an appointment to discuss your case.