Fort Lauderdale Weapons Charges
If you’re involved with weapons and guns, and you’ve been arrested for violation of a criminal statute for the possession, unlawful discharge or illegal sale of firearms, you can face serious legal and financial consequences as a result. Weapons charges run the gamut from a misdemeanor to a felony, from a state to a federal crime, based on an individual’s criminal history, the time and place where the offense occurred, the amount of weapons involved, and the degree of injury. Involving a Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney is one of the most important actions you can take in the face of allegations or charges of a Florida firearms offense.
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 a 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.
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 alien, 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:
- Possession Without a License
- Persons Engaged in Criminal Offense Having a Weapon
- Improper Exhibition of a Weapon
- Discharging a Firearm in Public
- Throwing, Making, Placing, Projecting, or Discharging Destructive Device
- Threat to Throw, Place, Project, or Discharge Any Destructive Device
- False Reports of Bombing
- False Reports of Bombing State-Owned Property
- Furnishing Weapons to Minors
- Dealer Selling Arms to Minors
- Shooting or Throwing Missiles in Dwelling
- Possession of Forbidden Firearms
- Felons Possessing Weapons
- Using a Firearm While under the Influence
- Use of a BB Gun by a Person under 16
- Altering or Removing Firearm Serial Number/Sale or Delivery of Firearm with Serial Number Altered or Removed
- Use of A Self-Defense Weapon
- Carrying a concealed weapon/firearm
- Possession of a firearm by a convicted felon Aggravated Assault with 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
A Veteran Fort Lauderdale Florida Defense Team
If you used a weapon to defend yourself, Leader, Leader & Zucker, PLLC may be able to reduce or dismiss charges under the new Stand Your Ground law. This law allows you to defend yourself or others immediately if you are attacked. Contact a Florida criminal defense attorney at Leader, Leader & Zucker, PLLC as soon as possible if you have been accused of or arrested for any type of weapon offense. Not only do we offer a free initial consultation but we also have the dedication and experience necessary to effectively represent your interest through the life of your case. Each state has different laws that involve the possession, sale, manufacturing and distribution of firearms and a number of other deadly weapons. With over a decade of trial experience and as former prosecutors, Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorneys with Leader, Leader & Zucker, PLLC can provide you with the knowledgeable guidance and accurate information you need right now, as well as the aggressive legal representation you will need inside and outside of the courtroom.