In Florida, you are legally allowed to own a gun, but must follow the state’s strict firearm laws. If you are found to be in violation of any gun laws in Florida, you may be facing serious jail time or potentially lose your right to own a gun ever again. While it is easy to obtain a gun in the sunshine state, Florida is not soft on gun crimes. In fact, Florida is considered one of the toughest states on gun crime in the country. Our Florida firearm defense lawyer is well-versed in Florida gun law and gun owner rights and can ensure those with firearm charges will be given the best possible representation.
Gun or Weapon Offenses in Florida
In Florida, a weapon offense can only occur if an individual improperly possessed, purchased, or used a weapon.
According to Chapter 790 of the Florida Statutes, the most common firearm and weapon charges are:
- Unlicensed carrying of concealed firearms or concealed weapons
- Improper use of a dangerous firearm or weapon
- Possession or discharge of a weapon or firearm at a school-sponsored event
- Possession of a weapon or firearm by a convicted felon
- Allowing a minor access to a loaded firearm
Gun or Weapon Sentencing Enhancements in Florida
Florida Legislature has enacted a specific statute which can increase the maximum sentence for crimes in which a firearm or deadly weapon is used. Depending on the offense, if a weapon is used during a crime, the charge can be increased to the next higher degree. If you are being charged with a second-degree felony for example, your charge could be enhanced to a first-degree felony doubling the prison sentence just because a firearm or deadly weapon was involved.
This is seen in the State v. Lopez case when during a traffic stop, a defendant consented to a police search of his vehicle and the police found a firearm directly under the driver’s seat. State v. Lopez, 980 So. 2d 1270 (2008). The defendant was arrested and charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and carrying a concealed firearm. Id.
Initially, the trial court dismissed the charges against the defendant because of previous case law. But, upon being sent to the 2nd District Court of Appeals in Florida, the case facts were viewed as distinguishable to the precedential case law and the trial court’s holding was reversed. Id. at 1275. This is because when the officer first encountered the defendant, the gun was in possession of a convicted felon and concealed. Id. As a result, the 2nd District Court of Appeals held that the concealed firearm charge against the defendant sufficiently alleged that the firearm was simultaneously on or about his person and concealed at the time of the traffic stop. Id.
Firearm or Weapon Punishments in Florida
Florida law has some of the most severe minimum mandatory prison terms for weapon-related charges. According to Florida Statute 775.087 (Florida’s 10/20/Life Law), a defendant charged with a firearm or weapon crime may be facing up to:
- 10 years in prison for just mere possession of a firearm or deadly weapon during a crime
- 20 years in prison for the discharge of a firearm during a crime
- Life in person for killing or causing injury to an individual during a crime
What is the Stand Your Ground Law in Florida?
Florida Statute 776.013 (Stand Your Ground) is a Florida Law passed in 2005 that allows those who feel they are at great risk of death or serious harm to defend themselves by meeting “force with force.” While stand your ground is a form of self-defense, there is a gray area that may be difficult to prove that one was defending themselves upon use of a firearm or deadly weapon. It is imperative to contact a lawyer with an in-depth understanding of Florida’s self-defense laws who can build a case in your favor. Everybody has the right to defend themselves and our Stand Your Ground defense lawyer can help protect that right.
Can a Convicted Felon Own a Gun in Florida?
It is illegal for convicted felons to own or possess a firearm in Florida, however, Florida’s Clemency Board has the authority to restore civil rights if the firearm is an antique under Florida Statute 790.001(1). Conversely, this statute cannot restore the right to own, possess or use a firearm.
Convicted felons in Florida who are properly licensed may be able to hunt with bows, crossbows, and air guns such as a BB gun. Since air guns do not use an explosive charge to shoot a projectile, Florida law does not consider them to be firearms. Those who are on probation should consult with their probation officer before using any form of recreational weapon.
Finding the Best Gun Defense Attorney in Palm Beach and Broward Counties
Gun laws are extremely difficult to navigate because aside from federal gun laws, each state has its own varying gun laws. Having a Florida gun defense attorney on your side can help you if you have been charged with any gun or weapon-related crime. If you or a loved one is being charged with a weapon-related offense, The Law Offices of Matthew Konecky can help with offices located in both Palm Beach and Broward County. To protect your rights, contact us or call us at (561) 671-5995 so we can review your case immediate