An object may qualify as a deadly weapon under two circumstances. First, if it will likely cause death or great bodily harm when used in the ordinary and usual manner contemplated by its design. Second, if an object is not designed to inflict bodily harm, it may qualify as deadly if the subject used or threatened to use the object in a way likely to cause death or great bodily harm.
For example, a flare gun is not designed to cause great bodily harm – A flare gun is an emergency signaling device employed predominantly aboard boats to expedite rescue efforts – designed and manufactured to be an instrument of safety. Whether it is a deadly weapon depends on how it is used. It could be used as a deadly weapon to strike someone on the head causing an injury. Or it would not be use as a deadly weapon if someone is tapped on the head and only startled.
You may wish to have or keep guns in your possession for safety and protection, but you can find yourself in trouble if you don’t follow Florida’s firearms laws. It is legal to own a gun, but many people are still charged with offenses for breaking laws that have to do with possessing, licensing, or using their gun. Firearm charges can result in fines, jail time, and possibly restrictions on gun ownership in the future. Many felony offenses committed while in actual possession of a firearm carry minimum mandatory prison sentences. If you are facing firearm charges the sanctions can be severe. It is vital that you hire a Criminal Defense Attorney that understands the complexities of firearm charges.
Many firearm charges in the State of Florida involve the use of a firearm during the commission of crime:
- Aggravated assault with a firearm
- Carrying a concealed firearm without the proper permit
- Felon in possession of a firearm
- Armed Robbery
- Armed Burglary
- Armed Kidnaping
- Armed Trafficking
10-20-Life Statute and the Mandatory Minimum Sentences in Florida
If you use a firearm during the commission of a felony you are exposed to very severe mandatory minimum sentences in Florida State Prison:
- Carrying of a firearm during the commission of a felony – 10 year minimum mandatory
- Discharging a firearm during the commission of a felony – 20 year minimum mandatory
- If someone is shot or killed during the commission of a felony – 25 year up to life
Here is a breakdown of some common Firearm and Weapons charges that the attorneys at Daniel J. Fernandez, P.A., can help with:
Carrying A Concealed Firearm Without A Permit
Florida law bans anyone from knowingly carrying a concealed firearm without a concealed weapons permit. ‘Concealed,’ usually refers to the fact that the gun or weapon is out of sight.
If you don’t have a concealed weapon permit, you can have a gun in your vehicle as long as it is at least 3 ‘steps’ away. These steps could include things such as opening the glove compartment, removing the firearm from a holster and loading it.
What the Statutes Have to Say
790.25(5), Florida Statutes, outlines possession of a firearm in a private conveyance. There is also a very important distinction to be made between carrying long guns (rifles and shotguns) and carrying handguns (pistols).
Even without a concealed weapon or firearm license, long guns can be carried anywhere within a private conveyance as long as they are not on your person. But handguns are a different story.
You may only carry a concealed handgun in a private conveyance without a license if:
- You are 18 years of age or older
- The firearm or other weapon is for self-defense or another lawful purpose
- The firearm or other weapon is located within the interior of a private conveyance
- The firearm or other weapon is not on your person
- The firearm or other weapon is securely encased or is otherwise not readily accessible for immediate use
790.001(17), Florida Statutes, explicitly defines ‘securely encased.’ We are provided with several examples of where a firearm can be located and be considered ‘securely encased’:
- In a glove compartment, regardless if it is locked or not
- Snapped in a holster
- In a gun case, regardless if it is locked or not
- In a zippered gun case
- In a closed box or a container with a closed lid
Possession Of A Firearm By A Convicted Felon
If you have been convicted of a felony in the past, knowingly possessing a firearm is a violation of Florida law. Regardless of what the previous felony charge was, having a firearm in your control could lead to some serious penalties. There are two types of possession that can bring about this charge: actual and constructive.
Actual possession of a firearm usually refers to someone having a gun either on their person or within grabbing range. This could mean in their hand, in a container that was in their hand, or within ready reach (where they could reasonably reach for it).
Constructive possession, on the other hand, usually exists where a defendant does not have actual physical possession but knows of its presence and has the ability to exercise and maintain control over the firearm.
Penalties For Possession Of A Firearm By A Felon Charge
Possession of a firearm by a convicted felon can be prosecuted as a state law or federal law offense. The penalties range from five years to fifteen years, depending on the facts, and can carry a minimum mandatory sentence of three years. The sentence may run consecutive to any other sentence imposed for a related offense.
What About My Rights?
At Daniel J. Fernandez, P.A., our criminal defense attorneys protect the rights of clients from the moment the criminal accusation is made to the final resolution of the case, including an appeal if necessary.
With decades of combined experience, including time spent as a former prosecutor, you can rest assured that your case will be handled by an attorney who understands the tactics used by the prosecution.
Our criminal defense lawyers know how frightening a criminal charge can be, and we understand the emotions and confusion that our clients and their families go through. The Daniel J. Fernandez, P.A., legal team stands ready to help. We work to improve the lives of our clients. You need the skills of a focused and dedicated attorney to improve your situation.
If you or someone you care about has been charged with a weapons offense contact us immediately. The law firm of Daniel J. Fernandez, P.A., has the experience and skills necessary to assist you. We dedicate all of the firm’s resources and energy into getting you the best results possible. Each and every one of our clients receive focused, individualized attention to their criminal case from beginning to end.
Daniel J. Fernandez, P.A., is designed to swiftly resolve any difficulties that you may face. Contact Daniel J. Fernandez today so we can fight for you and protect your rights. Call (813) 229-5353.