Experienced Clay County criminal defense attorneys explain how you can protect your freedom.
While Florida law allows for more firearm freedoms compared to some other states, penalties for gun law violations here are still harsh.
Florida does not have a gun registry and, in most cases, does not require you to have a license to purchase or possess legal firearms. Yet, about 20 percent of the state's prison population is doing time for conviction on a firearm charge.
Being accused of a gun crime is serious. You may feel hopeless. It may seem like this is the end.
It is not. There are many ways to beat gun charges in Florida. Here's how.
Florida gun charges
Since the 1980s, the Clay County defense lawyers at Aguilar & Sieron, P.A. have defended people accused of Florida crimes and developed many strategies to beat gun charges. How we approach your case depends on the specific charge(s) you are up against. Here are some of the most common gun charges filed in Florida:
- A firearm used in the commission of a crime. Depending on the situation, using a firearm in the commission of a crime could be considered a second-degree, first-degree, or "life" felony (you can be sentenced to life in prison). Second-degree felonies can be punished by up to 15 years of incarceration.
- Firearm(s) used to commit aggravated assault, sexual battery, other violent crimes, etc. - Whether or not a weapon was discharged, the use of a firearm in the commission of a violent crime like murder, sexual battery, arson, robbery, kidnapping, aggravated assault, escape, child abuse, carjacking, or home invasion may be penalized by a minimum of 20 years of incarceration. If someone was injured or killed, the penalty could be 25 years to life in prison.
- Carrying a concealed firearm without a permit. You must have the proper permit and/or license to carry a concealed firearm in Florida. Depending on the type of weapon that was allegedly concealed, the charge may be a first-degree misdemeanor or a third-degree felony. Penalties may include up to 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
- Possession of an illegal firearm. For the most part, you cannot possess machine guns, short-barreled rifles or shotguns, and armor-piercing or exploding bullets in Florida. Doing so is usually a second-degree felony with a penalty of up to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
- Convicted felon in possession of a firearm or ammunition. In general, convicted felons are not allowed to possess or own firearms in Florida. Usually, violating this law is a second-degree felony. Penalties include a minimum of 3 years and up to 15 years in prison.
Possible gun charge defenses
Every case is different, but the circumstances of gun charges typically call for one out of a handful of defenses. The following information is general and may not apply to your specific case. If you are facing gun charges, or expect they will be filed against you soon, contact us to learn more about your options during a free case consultation. We can build a strong defense for your specific circumstances.
- I didn't do anything wrong. This defense seeks to prove that you were allowed to carry and law enforcement was wrong to charge you with a gun crime.
- The firearm is an antique. In general, antique firearms that may not conform to current weapon standards can be possessed and owned in Florida if they were manufactured before 1918 or are a replica of such a device.
- Self-defense. Florida supports an individual's right to "stand their ground" by using lethal force to defend themselves and loved ones when they are under attack or serious violence is imminent.
- I didn't know about the firearm. This defense may be used in situations where a felon is accused of being in possession of a firearm, or an illegal firearm is discovered in the vicinity.
- I was not in possession of the firearm. If the firearm isn't yours or wasn't in your possession, there may not be enough evidence to convict you on a gun charge.
- Illegal search and seizure. If you are being charged with a gun law violation as the result of your civil rights being violated during an illegal search and seizure, it may be possible to have the evidence thrown out. For instance, many gun charges come from a weapon being found in a vehicle during a traffic stop; if we can show the officer didn't have legal grounds to pull you over or search your vehicle, evidence discovered during the traffic stop may be thrown out, which could leave little or nothing left to convict you.
We can fight to protect your freedom.
For more than 35 years, Aguilar & Sieron, P.A., has fought on the side of those accused of serious Florida crimes. Whether it's getting the charges dropped, obtaining a "not guilty" verdict, or negotiating for reduced charges or penalties, we are relentless in getting you the best outcome for your situation.
If you are facing firearm or other criminal charges in Florida, contact us for a free case consultation. Do not delay. The longer you wait, the more difficult it may be to dig up important evidence for your defense. A member of our team is available to hear from you right now. Contact us to schedule your free case consultation today.