Weapons, Firearms, Ammunition Charges

Weapons include, but are not limited to knives, sling-shots, metallic knuckles aka brass knuckles, clubs, chemical weapons, electric weapons. Destructive devices include bombs, rockets, pipe-bombs or any similar device containing an explosive, incendiary or poison gas. Ammunition is generally referred to as gun powder and bullets.

Firearms are more commonly referred to as Guns. Unless licensed, a person who carries a concealed Firearm (CCW or CCFA) may be found guilty of a 3rd degree Felony. Concealment is to carry the weapon or gun in a manner that is out of the ordinary sight of another person. On the flip-side damned if you do and damned if you don’t – the open carrying of electric weapons or firearm is a 2nd degree misdemeanor.

Further Federal Gun laws could apply, which are generally harsher than Florida Gun laws, should the U.S Attorney’s Office take on the jurisdiction. Federal jurisdiction only requires that the gun be manufactured outside of Florida. You can be charged both in State Court and Federal Court for the same crime. This is not Double Jeopardy.

Mandatory Minimum Sentences

“10-20-Life” Using a gun during a crime carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in Florida State Prison, firing the gun during a crime will bring you mandatory minimum of 20 years prison and shooting someone gets you a sentence of 25 years to life in prison.

Possession of Firearm by Convicted Felony

Possession of a firearm by a convicted felon can be either “constructive” possession or “actual” possession. While there is no mandatory minimum prison sentence for constructive possession, there is a three year minimum mandatory prison sentence for actual possession, with a possibility of up to five years imprisonment. Handling these cases successfully is not easy, however, defenses do exist, and plea bargaining may keep you out of prison.

In Federal Court, a prohibited person in possession of a firearm – the sentence is punishable up to 10 years in prison. If the offender has 3 or more prior felony convictions for crimes of violence (robbery, assault etc.) or drug trafficking then the mandatory minimum sentence is 15 years in prison.

It is important to prepare your defense to these charges immediately especially where mandatory minimum sentences are concerned. Further you may have grounds for a downward departure in your sentence when appropriate mitigating circumstances exist.

Case Law Update

Felon in possession of firearm — Trial court erred in denying motion for judgment of acquittal because the state failed to prove defendant possessed gun, found in search between mattress and box spring in room occupied by defendant’s apartment mates, after the time he became a convicted felon — DNA found on handgrip of gun showed defendant had possessed gun only at undetermined point in the past, and the state’s entirely circumstantial proof of the time element of possession, having to do with the date the defendant and his apartment mates moved in, was not inconsistent with defendant’s theory that someone else placed the gun where it was found

Recent Case Law Regarding Carrying a Concealed Weapon (CCW)

Criminal law — Carrying concealed weapon — Place of business exception — Labor union hall was place of business of defendant who was financial secretary of union — Trial court properly dismissed charge of carrying concealed weapon based on defendant’s carrying concealed firearm on parking lot of union hall facility.

Affirmative Defense to Carrying a Concealed Firearm

Carrying a concealed firearm is a crime in Florida, and possessing a valid license is an affirmative defense. The lack of a license is not element of the crime. Thus, when an LEO observes defendant in possession of a concealed firearm, the officer has reasonable suspicion to stop and frisk the person. The officer need not determine first whether the person possesses a valid concealed carry license.

Possession of Firearm: Constructive Possession in Car-Case Law Update

Criminal law — Possession of firearm by convicted felon — Constructive possession — Circumstantial evidence — Evidence that firearm was found in center console of vehicle rented by defendant, and that console also contained a cell phone receipt bearing defendant’s name and dated two days before search, did not rebut defendant’s reasonable hypothesis of innocence that other individuals drove or occupied vehicle in intervening days between date on receipt and date of search — Appeals — Special standard of review is applicable in circumstantial evidence cases — Because evidence was insufficient to support prima facie case that defendant was in constructive possession of firearm, it was error to deny motion for judgment of acquittal

Call Palm Beach attorney Steven M. Logan, to defend your Gun and weapon charges serving South Florida, Broward the Treasure Coast of Florida. (561) 791-1882

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