Weapons and Firearm Charges
The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution states that citizens have a right to possess a firearm. However, in some instances, you still can be charged with a criminal offense for using or owning a firearm. The State of Florida regulates all aspects of owning and possessing a firearm through state laws. Violating any of these regulations may result in being criminally charges.
A person charged with a weapon or firearm offense may face serious penalties. Depending on the circumstances, he or she can face a misdemeanor or felony. Both can lead to steep fines and possible incarceration.
If you or someone you know has been charged with a weapon or firearm offense, it is in your best interest to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Fort Pierce Attorneys for Weapons and Firearm Offenses in FL
Any person, who has been charged with a weapon or firearm offense, should seek legal representation immediately. Take the first step to formulating your sturdy defense. Contact an attorney at Meltzer & Bell today.
The attorneys at Meltzer & Bell want to uphold your Constitutional rights to bear arms. We are experienced at handling all types of firearm and weapon cases throughout the Florida Treasure Coast area. Our attorneys have been practicing law for over 20 years in Florida’s criminal courts. Gain a partner in this legal process. Call the attorneys today at (772) 248-1215.
Meltzer & Bell represents clients throughout St. Lucie County and Martin County including Rio, Fort Pierce, Stuart, Port St. Lucie, and Jupiter Island.
Overview for Weapons and Firearm Offenses in Florida
- Types of Firearm and Weapon Offenses
- Illegal Possession of a Firearm
- 10/20/Life Provision
- Additional Resources
Florida law outlines the different offenses a person can be charged with for using or possessing a firearm or weapon. All of these offenses have statutory penalties that range from a minor misdemeanor to felony charges.
The following are some different weapons and firearm crimes under Florida law.
- Possession of a Firearm Without a License
- Persons Engaged in a Criminal Offense Having a Weapon;
- Improper Exhibition of a Firearm;
- Discharging a Firearm in Public;
- Airport Weapon Charges: Possession of a Concealed Dangerous Weapon;
- Violation of Probation with a Weapon or Firearm;
- Aggravated Battery with a Firearm;
- Aggravated Assault with a Firearm;
- Carrying a Concealed Weapon / Firearm;
- Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon;
- Discharging a Firearm in Public;
- Armed Robbery or Burglary with a Firearm;
- Gun Trafficking;
- Throwing, Making, Placing, Projecting, or Discharging Destructive Device;
- Threat to Throw, Place, Project, or Discharge Any Destructive Device;
- False Reports of Bombing;
- Furnishing Weapons to Minors;
- Dealer Selling Arms to Minors;
- Felon Possessing Weapons;
- Using a Firearm While Under the Influence
- Altering or Removing Firearm Serial Number / Sale or Delivery of Firearm with Serial Number Altered or Removed.
One of the most common offenses involving firearms is when a person illegally possesses a firearm. U.S. Code 18 § 922(g) states the certain groups that are excluded from possessing a gun in Florida.
Those who are not legally allowed to own a firearm include:
- Persons who are is the subject of a court order that restrains the person from threatening, harassing, or stalking an intimate or domestic partner, former partner, or child of such partner;
- Persons who are is a fugitive from justice in any jurisdiction;
- Persons who have been convicted of any misdemeanor crime of domestic violence, including domestic battery or domestic assault;
- Persons who have addicted to any controlled substance or is an unlawful user of any controlled substance;
- Persons who have renounced their United States citizenship;
- Persons who have been dishonorably discharged from the Armed Forces;
- Persons who have unlawfully in the United States, is an illegal alien, or is an alien that entered the country with a non-immigrant visa;
- Persons who have been convicted of a felony; and
- Persons who have been committed to a mental institution or has been adjudicated as having a mental defect.
Florida has it’s own set of regulations to restrict firearm possession to certain individuals. The following are the specific conditions that can exclude a person from using or possessing a firearm in the State of Florida.
- He or she has been convicted of felony offense in the State of Florida;
- He or she is under the age of 18, unless the gun is not loaded and is at home under a legal guardian’s supervision;
- He or she is the subject to an active domestic violence injunction or charge;
- He or she has been found in certain proceedings to be a drug addict, vagrant, or mentally incompetent; and
- He or she has been adjudicated delinquent as a juvenile of any offense that would have been a felony if charged as an adult.
Florida legislature introduced the 10/20/Life provision to get tough on illegal firearm use. In Florida, weapon charges can carry a minimum mandatory sentence when convicted. The alleged offender must serve, at the least, a minimum prison term.
The 10/20/Life law provides the following minimum penalties for use of a firearm during the commission of certain offenses:
- Ten (10) years for the actual possession of a firearm;
- Twenty (20) years for the unlawful discharge of a firearm; and
- Life in prison for wounding or injuring any person with a firearm.
Remember, these sentences are only the mandatory minimum. This means that the court is required to not impose a lesser sentence. The court can still impose the statutory maximum or added time if deemed necessary. The court cannot “withhold adjudication” nor suspend or defer the imposition of the sentence.
The 10/20/Life Provision applies to the following offenses:
- Aggravated stalking;
- Aggravated child abuse;
- Aggravated abuse of the elderly or disabled;
- Unlawful discharge of a destructive device or bomb;
- Trafficking in a controlled substance;
- Home-invasion robbery;
- Burglary of Conveyance;
- Possession of a Firearm by a Felon;
- Aggravated assault;
- Escape; or
- Sexual battery.
Firearm and weapons offense penalties can vary based on circumstances. If convicted, the legal consequences will depend on the grading of the offense. Nearly all penalties include expensive fines and potential incarceration.
- First Degree Felony
- Up to 30 years in prison; and
- Possible fine of up to $10,000.
- Second Degree Felony
- Up to 15 years in prison; and
- Possible fine of up to $10,000.
- Third Degree Felony
- Up to five years in prison; and
- Possible fine of up to $5,000.
- Second Degree Misdemeanor
- Up to 60 days in jail; and
- Possible fine of up to $500.
- First Degree Misdemeanor
- Up to 12 months in jail; and
- Possible fine of up to $1,000.
Division of Licensing – Visit the official website for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and their Division of Licensing. The Division of Licensing administers Florida’s concealed weapon licensing program and oversees Florida’s firearm private investigative, private security, and recovery service industries.
Florida’s Firearm & Weapon Laws – Visit Online Sunshine, the official website for Florida Legislation. Find more information regarding weapon and firearm offenses in the state of Florida. Learn more regarding charge elements, admissible defenses in court, and other violent crime offenses.
Lawyer for Weapon and Firearm Offenses in St. Lucie County, Florida
If you or someone you know has been charged with a firearm or weapon offense, it is vital that you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. Work with an attorney who puts you first with Meltzer & Bell.
Meltzer & Bell is a group of established attorneys who focus on criminal defense in Florida. The attorneys at Meltzer & Bell are current with all recent Florida legislation. We value open honest communication, and consult with you throughout the legal process. Gain a partner in this legal process. Call the attorneys at Meltzer & Bell.
The attorneys at Meltzer & Bell defend those accused of firearm and weapon offenses throughout the 19th Judicial Circuit of Florida including Rio, Stuart, Fort Pierce and Port St. Lucie.
Contact us today at (772) 248-1215, or simply submit an online contact form for a free consultation for your case now.
This article was last updated on September 5, 2018.