To respect people’s right to protect themselves, Florida does not prohibit the use of certain weapons. As a result, if you meet certain requirements, you are allowed to possess a gun. But, since these are self-defense tools there are some regulations by which you need to abide. If you violate some of the Pinellas County gun laws, you might face criminal charges.
If you possess a weapon for protecting yourself or your property, there are some regulations that you should keep in mind to avoid a gun charge. In Pinellas County, if you are convicted for a weapon charge, not only might you face imprisonment and fines, but you might also be prevented from owning or using a weapon.
If you are facing a gun charge in Pinellas County, talk to a lawyer to explore some of the potential legal measures that you can take to protect your rights and your future. For further information, speak to a St. Petersburg criminal defense attorney.
Florida Weapon & Gun Laws in Pinellas County
In broad terms, Florida gun laws are related to ownership and the lawful uses of a weapon. These laws establish the requirements that people need to meet to own a gun as well as the legal ways to employ such weapons.
Part of the Florida and Federal firearms laws for use and ownership also covers the type of illegal weapons and accessories that you are not allowed to use. For example, if you are found in possession of a machine gun, short-barreled rifle, bump-fire stocks, self-propelled knives, among others, you could face criminal charges.
Under these legislations, the main purpose of a weapon is for personal protection, home defense and for recreational purposes (such as hunting, fishing, shooting practice, etc). On the other hand, unlawful uses of a weapon include but are not limited to:
- Discharging a firearm in a residential area or school property
- Carrying a concealed weapon without permit
- Openly carrying a weapon
- Removing or changing the gun’s serial number
- Using a gun while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Using a weapon to commit a crime
- Threatening a person with a weapon
As established before, there are some eligibility criteria that you need to meet to possess or own a weapon. If you were convicted for a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence, you are not allowed to possess a firearm. Felony convictions also prevent you from buying, using, or possessing a gun.
If you have questions about your weapon possession charge, you should talk to the Pinellas County defense lawyers at Goldman Wetzel. Call our office to schedule a free consultation and see if we can help you with your case.
BB gun rules in Florida
According to Florida Statute § 790.22, minors under 16 years are legally allowed to use a BB gun as long as they are being supervised by an adult who has the consent of the child’s legal guardians. If they acted without consent, the person responsible for the minor’s welfare could be charged with a 2nd-degree misdemeanor.
In Florida, BB guns are legal and minors can use them if they have an adult’s supervision. This statute also establishes that a person under 18 years of age is not allowed to possess a firearm unless it is unloaded.
This might not be applicable to minors that are engaged in lawful recreational activities that are being supervised by an adult. Violating this law can result in criminal charges for both the child and the person in charge of the minor’s welfare.
Felon caught with a gun in Florida
In Florida, a person convicted of a felony crime is prohibited to use, carry or possess a gun. As a result, if a felon is caught with a gun, he or she could be charged with a second-degree felony which can result in up to 15 years of imprisonment and a maximum fine of $10,000.
According to Florida law, if you are a felon with a current or previous conviction for gang activities and you were found in possession of a gun, your charges could increase to a first-degree felony.
If you are a convicted felon, your wife or your roommate might be able to possess a gun. However, to avoid facing a gun possession charge, you should not have access to the firearm. If you were accused of illegal possession of a firearm in Florida, the criminal defense attorneys at Goldman Wetzel might be able to help.
How Long Do You Go to Jail for Gun Charges in Florida?
In Florida, the penalties associated with weapons crimes depend on the type of offenses committed. Lesser charges can result in up to 60 days of jail while more serious gun crimes can lead to 30 years imprisonment. Additionally, sentences include the loss of your ownership rights and fines.
Violating a gun law in Pinellas County can result in criminal charges. As established above, depending on the severity of the offense, gun crimes range from misdemeanors to felonies charges.
Some examples of weapon charges that are classified as misdemeanors include but are not limited to:
- Openly carrying a gun.
- Carrying a gun while having a restraining order or domestic violence injunction.
- Illegal possession of a firearm by a minor (first-offense).
- Improper displaying of a dangerous weapon.
- Carrying a concealed weapon.
Some of the gun crimes that Florida classifies as felonies include but are not limited to:
- Possession of a firearm by a convicted felon
- Carrying a concealed firearm
- Discharging a firearm from a vehicle
- Using a weapon during the commision of a crime
- Aggravated assault with a deadly weapon
- Possessing, selling or manufacturing prohibited ammunition
- Possessing an illegal gun
Keep in mind that penalties could increase if you are a repeat offender.
How to Get Your Gun Rights Back in Florida
If you lost your rights to possess or use a gun due to a felony conviction, you might be able to apply to Florida’s Clemency Board to get your rights restored. If you want to get your gun rights back there are some requirements that you must meet:
- Apply 8 years after all the terms of your sentence were completed.
- You have paid restitution.
- There are no criminal charges pending.
- You do not owe more than $1,000 in any misdemeanor, felony adjudication withheld cases or criminal traffic infractions.
- You have not been convicted of a federal felony crime.
If you have questions about your eligibility to restore your gun rights, you should contact the attorneys at Goldman Wetzel.
Contact a St. Petersburg Criminal Defense Lawyer
Since it could be considered a breach of peace, violating Pinellas County gun laws can result in criminal charges. A conviction for a weapon offense can lead to long-term imprisonment, stiff fines, and the loss of your right to possess a gun. To discover your legal options, you should enlist the help of a reputable criminal defense lawyer.
Goldman Wetzel is a criminal defense law firm that represents clients facing charges in St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Dunedin, Pinellas County and the Tampa Bay area at large.
If you or your loved one have been arrested for a gun charge, the defense attorneys at Goldman Wetzel might be able to help. Contact us today or call our St. Petersburg office at (727) 828-3900 to book a free consultation. We fight to protect your rights and criminal record.