Generally, weapons charges are divided by possession and use. Possession focuses on the possession of certain weapons. In comparison, use focuses on using a weapon while committing other offenses. Being charged with the possession of an illegal weapon can be less severe than those associated with using the weapon.
Weapons Possession Charges In Florida
All states have rules that restrict access to weapons by certain persons. Some states won’t allow convicted felons to possess firearms or other types of weapons. Many states have banned all persons from possessing certain categories of weapons.
When the state can prove that a defendant exercised care, custody, or control of an illegal weapon, then the defendant can be convicted of the weapons possession charge. If you’ve been wrongfully accused of weapons possession in Florida, you should speak with Parikh Law today about protecting your rights.
Defenses for Weapons Possession
The most basic defense to possession charges is to prove that the defendant did not have the weapon. Sometimes demonstrating that you weren’t the owner of the vehicle or that the gun wasn’t found in your possession in court can be sufficient enough to prove that you are not guilty.
Another defense to possession charges is demonstrating that the weapon was not illegal. This could be an issue because some states make exceptions for decorative and collector’s weapons.
When a defendant is charged and convicted of possessing a weapon in Florida they could face a misdemeanor level of punishment which might include probation and up to a year or two in jail. When a person is charged with possessing a weapon because of their status as a felon, then the weapon charge usually carries a felony range of punishment from two to ten years in prison.
Weapons Use Charges
The second category of weapon charges focuses on the use of weapons during some other offense. These are also referred to as aggravated offenses. Many states do not require an actual injury to increase a charge to a weapons charge; displaying a weapon to intimidate someone into compliance is sufficient.
If the term aggravated is inserted before the name of an offense, aggravated generally refers to the use of a weapon or some other serious circumstance.
Defenses for Use or Display of a Weapon
The defenses to a weapon use charge include self-defense, consent, mutual combat, or proof that the instrument was not a weapon. Consider that numerous individuals have committed robbery with a cell phone in their pocket while pretending to have a weapon.
Being charged for a weapons violation doesn’t automatically spell doom. In fact, some wrongfully accused weapons owners have been able to negate and disprove part of their charge. Doing so has led to a significant decrease in the range of their punishment. A skilled weapons charges attorney can help you.
If a weapon is used in the commission of an assault, then the range of punishment multiplies. Any weapon charge that involves the use or display of a weapon during the commission of another offense will result in a higher level of punishment. Robbery to aggravated robbery, assault to aggravated assault or battery, and burglary to aggravated burglary are some of the most common.
Common Weapons Charges in Florida
The most common Florida weapon charges are:
- Allowing someone under the age of 16 access to a loaded firearm
- Improper exhibition of a dangerous weapon
- Possession of a firearm by a convicted felon
- Possession or discharging of a weapon at a school-sponsored event
- Unlicensed carry or concealment of a firearm
According to Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 790.151, any person who uses a weapon while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, including controlled substances, will be charged with a 2nd-degree misdemeanor, which is punishable by a 60-day prison sentence and/or a fine that does not exceed $500.
Florida statutes also stipulate that any person who intentionally or negligently discharges a loaded firearm in any public space will be charged with a 1st-degree misdemeanor, which is punishable by a 1-year prison sentence and/or a fine that does not exceed $1,000.
The penalties involving minors and schools are more severe. Under Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 790.115, any person who brandishes a firearm, knife, sword, electric weapon, or any other type of weapon in a dangerous manner within 1,000 feet of school property or inside a school (including school buses and sites of field trips) will be charged with a 3rd-degree felony, which is punishable by a 5-year prison sentence and/or a fine that does not exceed $5,000.
The following weapons charges include severe mandatory minimum prison sentences:
- A 10-year minimum sentence for carrying a weapon during the commission of a violent crime
- A 20-year minimum sentence for discharging the weapon during the act of committing a violent crime
- A 25-year minimum sentence when the weapon is used in the commission of a violent crime and another person is wounded or killed.
If you are convicted of such a weapons crime, you could face serious consequences. If you or a loved one are facing such a charge, contact federal crime attorney in Florida today. We can provide an expert defense against your weapons offense. Parikh Law thoroughly understands Florida state’s weapon and gun control laws and will use our expertise to seek a favorable outcome in your case.