Unless the law indicates otherwise, you are allowed to own or, under certain situations, use a weapon. However, to legally possess a firearm in Florida there are some laws that you need to obey. If you were accused of violating a weapons law, you should speak to a Tampa Lawyer about your gun charges.
Given that weapons could be used to harm people or as a tool for the commission of a violent crime, failing to comply with Florida regulations can result in a gun charge. A conviction for this type of crime can lead to severe consequences that not only can hurt your ability to possess a firearm, but also can cost you your freedom.
In these situations, you need to protect your rights and your future. If you have questions about the accusations against you or want to know the potential defenses for your case, you should contact a Tampa criminal defense attorney.
Weapon Offense Charge in Florida
Florida gun laws are extensive and, in broad terms, they are meant to regulate the type of deadly weapons and accessories permitted for use, the lawful uses of these weapons, and the requirements that people need to meet to be able to own a gun in Florida.
As established before, a gun charge can result from violating any of these laws. In addition to discharging a firearm or using a weapon for the commission of a felony, a lot of these offenses might be related to the illegal possession of a firearm.
A weapon possession charge in Florida can occur for a number of reasons, some of the most common include but are not limited to:
- Carrying a concealed weapon
- Openly carry a weapon without a valid license
- Possessing or owning an illegal weapon or ammunition
- Possession of a weapon by a non-authorized person
- Carrying or possessing a weapon on a non-authorized place
- Being under the influence and possessing a deadly weapon
- Owning or possessing a gun with an altered or removed serial number
- Having a modified weapon, such as short-barreled rifles and shotguns
The fact that most people in Florida are allowed to have a weapon for self-defense, does not mean that they have permission to carry that gun in public. If you do not have a concealed weapon permit, your gun should remain on your property.
Weapon laws are meant to respect people’s right to bear arms at the same time that they try to prevent gun violence. As a result, violating these regulations can result in criminal charges. If you are facing a gun charge in Hillsborough County, speak to the defense lawyers from Goldman Wetzel to know more about your potential defenses.
What happens if you pull a gun on someone in Florida?
In Florida, pulling a gun on someone is considered an aggravated assault offense. This type of crime is considered a third-degree felony that can result in up to 5 years of imprisonment and a maximum fine of $5,000. However, you might be able to pull a gun on someone for self-defense.
If you use a gun or any deadly weapon to threaten a person, you might be charged with an aggravated assault. Nevertheless, Florida laws also establish that people have the right to use deadly force to protect themselves or their property.
According to weapon laws, if you did not pull a gun on someone but you exhibited a dangerous weapon in a careless or threatening way, you might be charged with improper display of a dangerous weapon. As a first-degree misdemeanor, a conviction for this crime can result in up to 1 year of jail and a maximum fine of $1,000.
What are the laws for carrying a gun in your car in Florida?
According to Florida Statute § 790.251, people are allowed to have a gun inside of a car, truck, recreational vehicles, minivans, and other motor vehicles as long as it is for self-defense or any other lawful purposes. This law is not applicable for people that are not eligible to possess or own a gun in Florida.
If you meet the requirements to possess and own a weapon in Florida, you also have the right to keep and bear an arm in your locked motor vehicle. In this context, it is best that your gun or ammunition is securely encased so it is not accessible for immediate use.
When you are carrying a gun in your car, people cannot prevent you from using a private or public parking lot as long as you are an invitee, customer, or employee in such an area. However, there are some places and situations where you are not allowed to have a gun in your car. Some of them include but are not limited to:
- School property
- Correctional institutions
- A vehicle that is leased, rented or owned by someone else
- Property involved in national defense, homeland security or aerospace activities
- Businesses authorized to manufacture, use or store explosive materials
If you were arrested in Hillsborough County for illegally carrying an arm on your car, you might want to talk to a Tampa lawyer regarding your firearm charges. Book a free appointment with the defense attorneys at Goldman Wetzel.
Gun Charge Sentence in Florida
In Hillsborough County, the penalties for a gun charge vary from a 2nd-degree misdemeanor to a 1st-degree felony. In other words, a sentence for a weapon offense can range from up to 60 days to 30 years imprisonment.
The penalties and sentences associated with a gun charge depend on the type and the severity of the offense. The table below contains the penalties for some weapons charges in Florida.
|Gun offense||Charge||Maximum imprisonment||Maximum fine|
|Open carrying||2nd degree misdemeanor||60 days||$500|
|Leaving a gun within easy reach of a minor||2nd degree misdemeanor||60 days||$500|
|Use of a firearm under the influence of alcohol or chemical substances||2nd degree misdemeanor||60 days||$500|
|Improper display of a dangerous weapon||1st degree misdemeanor||1 year||$1,000|
|Discharging a gun in a residential area||1st degree misdemeanor||1 year||$1,000|
|Carrying a concealed weapon without permit||3rd degree felony||5 years||$5,000|
|Pulling a gun on someone||3rd degree felony||5 years||$5,000|
|Using a weapon in the commission of a felony||3rd degree felony||5 years||$5,000|
|Alter or remove the serial number of a gun||3rd degree felony||5 years||$5,000|
|Selling guns to minors||2nd degree felony||15 years||$10,000|
|Possession of illegal guns||2nd degree felony||15 years||$10,000|
|Felon in possession of a gun||2nd degree felony||15 years||$10,000|
|Using a firearm in the commission of another crime||2nd degree felony||15 years||$10,000|
|Discharging a machine gun in a public place||1st degree felony||30 years||$10,000|
|Possession of a weapon by a career offender||1st degree felony||30 years||$10,000|
If you were accused of a gun crime in Tampa Bay and want to know the potential penalties, speak to the defense attorneys at Goldman Wetzel.
How to Beat a Gun Charge in Hillsborough County
When facing a weapons-related charge, your criminal lawyer needs to find a strong, viable defense strategy that covers the unique circumstances and facts of your case. There are many defenses against gun charges. However, an attorney needs to study your specific case to find the best legal angle possible to help you achieve a favorable outcome.
Some of the most common defenses that the Tampa Bay criminal attorneys from Goldman Wetzel might use include:
- Lack of knowledge: many gun charges require that the offender acted knowingly. In simple words, this means that you had knowledge that you were breaking the law. For example, if you did not know that the serial number of your gun was altered, your lawyer might be able to prove your innocence.
- Illegal search and seizure: under the law, law enforcement officers are not allowed to perform unreasonable searches and seizures. If you were arrested for an unlawful search, Goldman Wetzel might be able to argue that your rights were violated. In some of these cases, our defense attorneys might be able to get the evidence suppressed.
- Lack of intention: in some cases, your lawyer might gather evidence to prove that you did not have intentions to commit a crime and the violation was unintentional.
- Stand your ground: Florida allows people to use deadly force if they fear that they are in imminent danger. So if you used a weapon for defending your property or yourself, your lawyer might gather evidence that supports the facts of your case.
- Weapon was not operational: if you are facing a weapon possession charge, proving that the firearm was not within reach and ready to use can be a potential defense that your lawyer might be able to use.
If you have questions about the potential defenses for your case, you should contact an attorney with experience handling firearm charges.
Contact a Tampa Lawyer for Gun Charges
Being accused of a gun offense can be a frustrating and stressful experience if you are not familiar with the law. Since a conviction for these charges can result in imprisonment, fines, a criminal record, and the loss of your ownership rights, you might want to enlist the help of a skilled defense lawyer.
Goldman Wetzel is a Tampa criminal law firm that represents clients facing criminal charges for gun crimes, domestic violence accusations, sex offenses, violent crimes, and drug offenses in Hillsborough County and the Tampa Bay area.
If you or your loved one were arrested or are facing a weapon charge, our Tampa lawyers for gun charges might be able to help. Contact us today or call our office at (888) 727-4652 to schedule a free consultation.