||Firearm / Gun / Weapon Charges|
Tampa Gun Crimes Lawyer
Any arrest for a Firearm, Gun, or Weapons charge in Florida is a serious offense. Many offenses committed while in actual possession of a firearm carry minimum mandatory prison sentences. If you have been arrested for any offense in Florida involving a firearm, contact an experienced Tampa Firearm Attorney for any criminal weapon charges including:
- Aggravated Battery with a Firearm;
- Aggravated Assault with a Firearm;
- Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon;
- Carrying a Concealed Weapon / Firearm;
- Improper Exhibition / Discharge of a Firearm;
- Attempted Manslaughter or Attempted Murder;
- Gun Trafficking;
- Federal Firearms Violations;
- Airport Weapon Charges including Possession of a Concealed Dangerous Weapon;
- Armed Robbery or Burglary with a Firearm;
- Juvenile Possession of a Weapon on School Grounds; and
- Violation of Probation When the Underlying Offense involved a Weapon or Firearm.
Criminal Laws Concerning Firearms in Florida
The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution provides for an individual’s right to possess a firearm:
"A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."
The Florida Constitution has a specific provision dealing with the right to bear arms, Florida Constitution Article I, Section 8(a), which provides as follows:
The right of the people to keep and bear arms in defense of themselves and of the lawful authority of the state shall not be infringed, except that the manner of bearing arms may be regulated by law.
Although these provisions sound simple enough, the Federal Government and State of Florida have enacted a complex and comprehensive network of statutes and regulations concerning every aspect of gun possession and ownership.
Florida's Self-Defense Provisions-- The Castle Doctrine or Stand Your Ground Legislation
On April 26, 2005, Governor Jeb Bush signed the "Castle Doctrine" Self-Defense Statute (Senate Bill 436) into law. Senate Bill 436 expanded self-defense protections in the State of Florida to provide for a more comprehensive and common sense approach to explaining when deadly weapons, including firearms, can be used to protect yourself or another against a violent attack. Prior to this legislation, such force was allowed only when the person using deadly force believed that no lesser force, such as retreating from the home or vehicle, would dispel the threat. The new legislation applies to both the Use of Non-deadly Force in Self-defense and the Use of Deadly Force in Self-defense
Under the provisions of the Castle Doctrine, a person may use deadly force against another person who enters a residence or occupied automobile with force and for an unlawful purpose. Deadly force may also be used against a person who is attempting to forcefully and unlawfully remove someone from a vehicle. The provisions are intended to allow a victim to defend himself or another against an attempted carjacking or home invasion robbery without fear that a law enforcement officer or prosecutor could later second guess whether that decision was "reasonably believed to be necessary." Now, even if it was possible to retreat, no such retreat is required from the home or a occupied vehicle. Of course, the law does not protect a person using their vehicle or residence to commit a crime before the threat occurred. Additionally, the self-defense provisions provide for common sense exceptions, including the protection of persons who have a right to enter the residence or occupied automobile (unless they are subject to a protective order which would prevent such entry), disputes over a child’s custody, and police officers acting in accordance with their official law enforcement duties.
If the person using deadly force is outside of their residence or occupied automobile, deadly force may only be used when it is "reasonably believed to be necessary." Even outside of the home, a person who is lawfully in an area that they are entitled to be has the right to use the force necessary, including deadly force, if they reasonably believe such force is necessary to prevent great bodily hard or death or to prevent the the attacker from committing a forcible felony.
The new provisions go one step further and create a new "presumption" under the law that the person attempting to enter the vehicle or residence was presumed to have the intention of committing a forcible violent felony if they gained entry. This new "presumption" is a powerful tool at trial that can be argued to the jury by the criminal defense attorney. Furthermore, a new standard jury instruction addressing this presumption can be requested at trial, so that the judge will read to the jury the rule about this presumption that the "alleged victim" was attempting to commit a forcible violent felony at the time of the incident.
The new provisions also prohibit civil liability against any person who acts in compliance with the self-defense provisions. The castle doctrine can also be extended to a person in their place of business acting against an unlawful and forceful attack by another. Even more importantly, law enforcement officers are not allowed to arrested a person unless they have probably cause to believe that the person using deadly force was not acting in compliance with this affirmative defense, making this affirmative defense unique among defenses in the State of Florida.
The information contained in this website is not intended as legal advice. Instead, it is merely a summary or overview of the law. Each case has particular facts and circumstances that make the case unique. If you need legal advice about a firearm / gun / weapon criminal case, contact a Tampa Criminal Defense attorney to discuss your arrest in Hillsborough County, Polk County, Pinellas County, Pasco County, Manatee County, or Sarasota County.
The Florida legislature recently enacted a 10/20/Life provision in an attempt to get tough on crimes involving firearms.
In the State of Florida, weapons charges can carry a minimum mandatory sentence, which means if convicted, you must serve a certain amount of your sentence day for day in Florida State Prison, including:
- 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.
Keep in mind that these sentences are the minimum mandatory sentence that will be imposed upon conviction, meaning that the court can not impose a lesser sentence. The court still has discretion to impose a sentence up to the statutory maximum allowed for the particular offense. The Court can not "withhold adjudication" nor suspend or defer the imposition of the sentence.
The 10/20/Life provisions apply to the following offenses:
- Aggravated Assault (3 year min/man applies for actual possession of firearm);
- Possession Firearm by Felon (3 year min/man applies for actual possession of firearm);
- Burglary of Conveyance (3 year min/man applies for actual possession of firearm);
- Sexual Battery;
- Aggravated Abuse of the Elderly or Disabled;
- Aggravated Child Abuse;
- Unlawful discharge of a destructive device or bomb;
- Home-invasion robbery;
- Aggravated Stalking;
- Trafficking in a controlled substance; and
Illegal Possession of a Firearm
Federal Law, 18 U.S.C. 922(g) and (n), sets minimum requirements which exclude certain groups of people from legally possessing a firearm. Including any person who meets one of the following criteria:
- Has been convicted of felony which is defined as any crime which provides for a possible punishment of imprisonment for a term exceeding one year;
- 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;
- Has been convicted of any misdemeanor crime of domestic violence, including domestic battery or domestic assault;
- Is a fugitive from justice in any jurisdiction;
- Has been committed to a mental institution or has been adjudicated as having a mental defect;
- Is addicted to any controlled substance or is an unlawful user of any controlled substance;
- Is unlawfully in the United States, is an illegal alient, or is an alien that entered the country with a non-immigrant visa;
- Has renounced his United States citizenship;
- Has been dishonorably discharged from the Armed Forces; or
- Cannot lawfully transport, ship, receive or possess a firearm.
In addition to the Federal laws that restrict firearm possession, each state has certain more restrictive legislation. Florida law legislation concerning the illegal possession of firearms include the following:
- If you have been convicted of a felony offense in the State of Florida or any other jurisdiction and your civil rights have not been restored;
- If you have been adjudicated delinquent as a juvenile of any offense that would have been a felony if you had been charged as an adult;
- If you are under 16, unless the gun is not loaded and is at home under parental supervision;
- If you have been found in certain proceedings to be a drug addict, vagrant or mentally incompetent; or
- If you are subject to an active domestic violence injunction or charge.
The punishment for illegal possession of a firearm can vary from a misdemeanor to a felony, depending on the circumstances surrounding the possession.
Furthermore, under the Child Access Prevention Law, any gun owner can be prosecuted for not securing a firearm or other weapon in a location that is not readily accessible to children under 16 years of age. If a child under the age of 16 comes into possession of the firearm, the gun owner can be charged with a separate criminal offense for not properly securing the firearm. It is also a crime under Florida law to provide a juvenile with a firearm, including delivering, giving or transferring the firearm to a person under the age of 18, except under very limited circumstances.
Weapon Criminal Charges under Florida Law:
- Carrying Concealed Weapons § 790.01, Florida Statute
- Possession Without a License § 790.06, Florida Statute
- Persons Engaged in Criminal Offense Having Weapon §§ 790.07(1) and (2), Florida Statute
- Persons Engaged in Criminal Offense Having Weapon (Previous Conviction) § 790.07(4), Florida Statute
- Improper Exhibition of a Weapon § 790.10, Florida Statute
- Discharging a Firearm in Public § 790.15, Florida Statute
- Throwing, Making, Placing, Projecting, or Discharging Destructive Device § 790.161(1)-(4), Florida Statute
- Threat to Throw, Place, Project, or Discharge Any Destructive Device § 790.162, Florida Statute
- False Reports of Bombing § 790.163, Florida Statute
- False Reports of Bombing State-Owned Property § 790.164, Florida Statute
- Furnishing Weapons to Minors § 790.17, Florida Statute
- Dealer Selling Arms to Minors § 790.18, Florida Statute
- Shooting or Throwing Missiles in Dwelling § 790.19, Florida Statute
- Possession of Forbidden Firearms § 790.221, Florida Statute
- Felons Possessing Weapons § 790.23, Florida Statute
- Using a Firearm While under the Influence § 790.151, Florida Statute
- Use of a BB Gun by a Person under 16 § 790.22, Florida Statute
- Altering or Removing Firearm Serial Number/Sale or Delivery of Firearm with Serial Number Altered or Removed § 790.27, Florida Statute
- Use of A Self-Defense Weapon § 790.054, Florida Statute
- carrying concealed weapon – firearm, weapon offense;
- engage in criminal offense w weapon subsq off, cocaine-possess;
- wit sell etc wi 1000ft worship/busn sch ii,
- possession of weapon – or ammo by convicted fla felon,
Florida Gun Crime Attorney
If you have been arrested for any offense involving a firearm, contact an experienced Tampa Criminal Defense Lawyer to discuss your gun crime case today. We represent clients charged with firearm offenses in Hillsborough County, Polk County, Pasco County, Pinellas County, and the surrounding areas throughout central Florida.
Firearm Information Resources:
What happen to my concealed weapon or firearm license after an arrest or formal charges? - Read more about the notice of suspension from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Divison of Licensing, Legal Section concerning Florida Statute Section 790.06(3) including your obligation to return your concealed weapons permit, additional charges for carrying a concealed weapon or firearm with a suspended license, eligibility for licensure, administrative complaint, revocation of the concealed weapons permit, the election of rights form, formal review hearing, informal review hearing, legal support section.
Concealed Weapon or Firearm License Preliminary Eligibility Determination-
Check eligibility to carry concealed weapon or firearm permit license in Florida.
- You are not eligible while felony, or misdemeanor charges are pending or if you are a fugutive from justice.
- You are not eligibile after being being convicted or adjudicated guilty of any felony, "crime of violence" (including domestic violence) or any drug crime (including possession of marijuana).
- You are not eligible after receiving a withhold of adjudication or suspended sentence for any of any felony, "crime of violence" (including domestic violence) or any drug crime (including possession of marijuana) unless three years have past after completing probation or until after the record has been sealed or expunged.
Division of Licensing, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services - Concealed Weapon or Firearm Self-defense Program provides information on Florida Self-Defense issues related to firearm possession and carrying a concealed weapon.
RKBA - The Right to Keep and Bear Arms Gunowner's website providing information about firearm rights, and self-defense issues.