Types of Gun Charges in Florida
Our Gun Charge Defense Lawyers Protect Your Rights After an Arrest
Gun-related charges can cover anything from using the gun in a commission of a crime to simply not having a proper permit. These are some of the most common gun charges that many people face:
- Improper exhibition of a deadly weapon or firearm
- Possessing a firearm as a convicted felon
- Carrying a concealed gun without the proper permit
- Aggravated assault with a deadly weapon
- Aggravated battery with a deadly weapon
- Armed kidnapping
- Armed burglary
- Possession of illegal drugs while armed
- Trafficking in illegal drugs while armed
- Shooting deadly missiles.
These aren’t the only gun crimes you can be arrested for in Tampa, Hillsborough County, or Florida. For example, you may have the correct permit to carry a concealed weapon but enter an establishment that prohibits firearms. Furthermore, suppose that you have a firearm in your possession while committing any other crime. Even if you aren’t using the gun — or even holding it — you may also receive a gun crimes charge in addition to the charges for the initial crime.
Gun Charge Minimum Sentences in Florida
Florida recently enacted a law, the 10-20-Life Mandatory Minimum Sentence, which applies to felonies in which a gun is used. The law introduces certain mandatory minimum sentences, and the requirements are as follows:
- 10-year minimum prison sentence for carrying a firearm during the commission of certain felonies
- 20-year minimum prison sentence for discharging a firearm
- 25-year minimum prison sentence if someone is shot and killed, with up to a life sentence possible.
Under this law, judges must impose the mandatory minimum sentence. Extenuating circumstances are not considered; if you are found guilty, the judge’s hands are tied. Furthermore, defendants are not eligible for any “gained time” or credit for time served while awaiting trial or during their trial. This is why, if you’ve been charged with a gun crime in Florida, you should hire an experienced gun charge attorney to represent you.
Taracks and Associates: Why Choose Us to Fight Your Gun Charge in Florida?
Former Tampa Prosecutor Now Fighting for You
You can benefit from the experience of a gun charge lawyer who understands both sides of the courtroom. As a former prosecutor, Barry Taracks, the founder of Taracks and Associates, has firsthand knowledge about how Hillsborough prosecutors handle serious cases like gun crimes. As a criminal defense attorney, Mr. Taracks can give you a clearer picture of how your case will likely unfold.
We begin your defense with our own independent investigation of the evidence presented against you. There could be police errors, such as a failure to have probable cause for stopping or searching you. Or perhaps the officers overstepped the legal bounds of a search or unlawfully entered your premises without a warrant. Any of these errors could help your case.
Our legal team is prepared to defend you aggressively at every step of the way. Contacting our gun charge defense lawyer may significantly increase the chances of a favorable outcome in your case, up to and including:
- A dismissed firearm charge
- A reduction of your initial charge
- A not-guilty verdict at trial.
Each case is different, and the outcome of any firearms charge is never certain. However, you can count on Taracks and Associates to help you understand your options under the law and to provide a vigorous defense of your rights.
Florida Laws and Statutes Concerning Firearms
Florida gun laws can be complex, from the types of weapons permitted under specific carry permits to what constitutes a firearm. Gun charges, even ones that may have arisen because you misunderstood what your permit allowed you to own, are always serious. They have the potential to result in long prison sentences. But a gun charge attorney will fight to protect your rights and work toward the best possible outcome for your case.
Florida Laws About Concealed Carry
Florida law prohibits an individual from carrying a concealed firearm unless the person has a valid, current Concealed Weapon License. In order to convict someone on this charge, a prosecutor must prove the following:
- The individual knowingly carried a firearm on or about their person.
- The firearm was concealed from the ordinary sight of another person.
Unlawful carrying of a concealed firearm is a third-degree felony in Florida. The maximum sentence is five years in prison.
Felony Convictions and Possession of a Firearm in Florida
Florida law also prohibits a person who has been convicted of a felony from owning a firearm. In order to convict someone with this charge, the prosecutor must prove the following:
- The individual had been convicted of a felony (a withhold of adjudication is not considered to be a conviction).
- After the person was convicted, they then knowingly possessed a firearm.
Having an attorney on your side with a charge like this can help you protect your rights.
Many people may wonder, however, what the term “possessing” a firearm means. Does it mean they personally purchased a weapon? What if their spouse had a firearm in the house — would that be possession?
Under Florida law, a person can “possess” a firearm in two ways. In the first way, they must have actual possession of the weapon. This means that the person is aware of the firearm’s presence, and one of the following is also true:
- It is in their hand or
- It is in a container in their hand (like a gun case or a purse) or
- It is close enough to be in ready reach and is under their control (such as lying on the table in front of them).
The second way that Florida considers someone to be in possession of a firearm is “constructive possession” of the weapon. This means that the individual is aware of the weapon’s presence; it is in a place over which the individual has control, such as their home; and they have the ability to control the firearm. For example, someone may know that there is a gun in a shoebox in the hall closet and they may be able to walk to the hall closet, remove the box, and obtain control of the weapon within.
One of the things that your gun charge attorney will establish is whether all the conditions of being in possession of a firearm were met in your case.
Penalties in Florida for Possessing a Firearm as a Convicted Felon
A convicted felon charged with possessing a firearm in Florida faces a second-degree felony. The maximum sentence for this is:
- 15 years in prison
- A fine of up to $10,000
- 15 years of probation.
If the individual is convicted of actually possessing the firearm, a judge is required to impose a mandatory three-year minimum prison sentence. However, this is just the minimum sentence. You could be looking at even more jail time, depending on your circumstances.
Do You Need a Skilled Tampa Gun Charge Defense Lawyer?
If you’ve been arrested on a firearms charge in Tampa or Hillsborough County, we can help. The Taracks and Associates team represents those who have been accused of a crime involving a firearm, including people who are convicted felons. We believe that you are entitled to a vigorous defense of your rights, and we fight for your interests. As a former prosecutor and now a criminal defense attorney, Barry Taracks has a full understanding of how gun charges in Florida work.
If you or a loved one has been arrested on a gun charge in Florida, call us today at 813-990-0599 for a free case review.