Carrying a Concealed Weapon
A common theme of conversation among those in the criminal defense field is the vagueness and difficulty of interpreting the often confusing criminal statutes that are written by state legislators. Vague, overbroad statutes are the norm rather than the exception, and that results in people being charged with serious criminal offenses even when it is not clear that a crime was committed. Often, statutes are written in a vague manner in order to give law enforcement and prosecutors broad discretion to file charges in cases with many different factual scenarios. One of the many downsides to this approach is that it makes it quite difficult for normal people to know what is and what is not illegal. If you have found yourself charged with a crime unexpectedly, don’t hesitate to contact a skilled St. Petersburg criminal lawyer.
One of these vague criminal statutes is Florida Statute 790.01 prohibiting unlicensed carrying of concealed weapons. Carrying a concealed firearm is also punished within the same statute, but the acts that violate that law are relatively clear. Carrying a concealed weapon, on the other hand, is open to much more interpretation from police, prosecutors, and judges. Because of the open-ended nature of this criminal charge, it is important that you not try to fight such a case on your own and retain an experienced lawyer to help you in your defense.What is a Weapon?
Florida Statute 790.001 provides definitions for what the word ‘weapon’ means under the carrying a concealed weapon law. The definition states that a concealed weapon is “any dirk, metallic knuckles, 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.” The problematic and vague portion of this statute is exemplified by the term “other deadly weapon.” Although the law does not specifically prohibit them, officers and prosecutors commonly use that portion of the definition to criminalize the carrying of a common pocketknife.
Court decisions have helped lawyers and defendants further understand what types of knives might fall under the purview of the law. Once court determined that a ‘common pocket knife’ is not a weapon for the purpose of the concealed carry statute where the knife blade is less than 4 inches long and can be folded shut. Such a common pocket knife is NOT considered a weapon under the statute and can be carried concealed in a pocket or elsewhere. This type of circumstance illustrates how the language of the law on its own is sometimes not descriptive enough for the normal person to understand everything that is prohibited. For that reason, it is critical to retain a skilled St. Petersburg criminal defense lawyer whenever you’ve been charged with carrying a concealed weapon.When is a Weapon Concealed?
A weapon is concealed under the law when it is carried in a way that “conceals the weapon from the ordinary sight of another person.” Police and prosecutors have interpreted this to mean that if an officer can’t see the weapon, it’s concealed and they can arrest you. An important distinction to understand is that open carry of weapons such as knives, brass knuckles, and billie clubs is legally permissible under Florida Law. If you have a concealed carry permit, you can carry a concealed weapon along with a concealed firearm. A weapon can be considered concealed even if it is not physically on your person. You can be charged under this law if you are carrying a weapon inside of your car, in a backpack or in a purse.Speak to Our Defense Lawyers Today
The lawyers at Hanlon Law are here to help you through even the most difficult situations. We have the experience and dedication you need to secure the best result for your case. Call us today at 727.897.5413.