Weapons and firearm offenses in the State of Florida often result in severe consequences, which can either be classified as misdemeanor or felony charges. If convicted, individuals charged with crimes regarding weapons and firearms may face years of jail time in addition to hefty fines and a permanent criminal record. If you’ve been charged with weapons and firearms charges, contact The Law Office of Silverman, Mack & Associates to discuss your case with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Gainesville, FL. We will protect your rights while ensuring the best possible result in your case.
How Are Weapons & Firearms Defined?
Understanding how Florida law defines weapons and firearms is integral to any criminal law case in which they are involved. Florida Statute § 790.001 defines the following, among a number of other types of weapons and firearms to which Florida courts regulate.
A firearm is any weapon, including a starter gun, which is designed, has the ability, or may be readily converted to expel a projectile by an explosion; the frame or receiver of any such weapon; any firearm muffler or firearm silencer; any destructive device; or any machine gun.
Adding to the definition of a firearm, a concealed firearm is defined as being carried on or about a person in such a way as to conceal the firearm from the ordinary sight of another individual.
A weapon is any dirk, knife, metallic knuckles, slungshot, billie, tear gas gun, chemical weapon or device, or another type deadly weapon. The definition of weapons excludes firearms, common pocket knives, plastic knives, or table knives.
A “concealed weapon” is any dirk, metallic knuckles, slungshot, billie, tear gas gun, chemical weapon or device, or other deadly weapon carried on or about a person in such a manner as to conceal the weapon from the ordinary sight of another person.
Common Weapons & Firearms Charges
There are a number of different types of weapons crimes and firearms offenses that occur in Florida. The most common types of weapons include the following. Contact us to speak with a Gainesville attorney for more information about charges with weapons and firearms in Florida.
Failure To Provide Medical Reports
Medical professionals, such as doctors and nurses, are obliged to report to the police any and all gunshot wounds that they treat. Upon notification of a gunshot wound, the police and/or local law enforcement will be able to search for any nearby criminals and place them in custody, as necessary. The goal is to prevent unnecessary catastrophes and hold individuals accountable for their actions should they misuse their firearm, resulting in harm to another person.
Improper Display Of Firearms
With an adequate firearms license, individuals are able to purchase and possess firearms. However, necessary measures should be taken to ensure that others feel safe and secure. This means that firearms should not be publicly displayed in a way which threatens incoming guests and/or neighbors. Firearms should be properly locked away to keep both adults and children safe. A guest may feel that his or her safety is at risk if a firearm is undeniably present.
Minors In Possession Of Firearms
State law dictates that individuals must be at least 18 years old to possess a firearm, and he or she must be 21 years old to apply for a concealed carry permit. Unless a minor is supervised by his or her parental guardian or director (i.e. such as a junior military program), individuals who are under the legal age should not be in possession of firearms. This is to protect the safety and wellbeing both of minors as well as other people in the community.
Discharging Firearms In Public Places
The mere presence of firearms can cause fear and uneasiness in innocent bystanders. To prevent disruption of the public, it is imperative that firearms are not discharged or fired in public, which can result in widespread chaos and panic, making large crowds of people run in terror (even stampeding and injuring others).
Every firearm has specific marks which must never be removed. The particular markings on a firearm are not allowed to be removed, as removal can result in a felony charge for the individual to which the gun was purchased and/or registered.
What Are The Penalties To Weapons & Firearms Charges?
Florida is home to some of the most punitive laws in the nation in regard to gun legislation. Also referred to as the 10-20-LIFE law, Florida Statute § 775.087 outlines a number of sanctions against individuals who commit a crime while in possession of or while using a weapon. According to the statute, individuals who are charged and convicted of committing a crime with a weapon and/or firearm is given an additional and separate prison sentence from the sentence charged for the original crime. Sentences for other crimes cannot be combined or be served in conjunction with a weapons and firearms sentence.
Certain offenses, such as violent crimes, can also result in mandatory minimum sentences. For example, the possession of a firearm by a convicted felon results in a mandatory minimum sentence of three years in prison. An attempted felony or felony with a firearm carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison. Crimes in which a firearm was discharged result in a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years, while crimes committed with a discharged firearm in which serious injury or death occurred to another person carries a mandatory minimum of 25 years to life in a Florida prison.
Weapons Charge & Possession Defense
The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution affords every citizen with the right to bear arms. This means that citizens across the United States are allowed to purchase and maintain weapons in their homes or place of business, in so long as such arms are registered with their respective state and if those citizens do not have any prior sanctions or record of criminal activity. Unfortunately, the “right to bear arms” is often used as a segway into crimes involving weapons. Weapons crimes and charges related to the possession of a weapon can result in serious injury and/or even death to victims, as well as years of jail time and expensive fines for individuals who are charged and convicted with these crimes.