Unfortunately, gun violence has been a big problem recently in St. Petersburg. In late 2015, the Tampa Bay Times reported that seven young men had been killed by gun violence in a seven-week period. Although the right to bear arms is a constitutional right, the use and possession of guns is regulated by Florida law. If you commit a gun crime, you face the possibility of imprisonment as well as forfeiture of the weapon or firearm. You also will have a criminal record, which can affect your ability to get a job, education, or housing, or even bear weapons in the future. In addition to imprisonment for a gun crime, you face the possibility of sentencing enhancements if you used a gun to commit another crime. St. Petersburg gun crime lawyer Will Hanlon is dedicated to advocating for the rights of the accused. He understands how easy it is to run afoul of Florida's weapons laws, and he provides a strong, compassionate defense to his clients.Gun Charges Carry Significant Penalties
Gun crimes are based on violations of statutes or other rules related to the possession, purchase, or use of a weapon or firearm. Some common gun crimes include carrying a concealed weapon, improper exhibition of a dangerous weapon or firearm, aggravated assault with a firearm, possessing a firearm as a convicted felon, possessing or discharging a weapon at school, carrying a concealed firearm without a license, and allowing a minor who is under age 16 to access a loaded firearm.
Different elements must be proved to secure a conviction for any of these common crimes. However, they must all be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
For example, under Florida Statutes Section 790.10, which prohibits improper exhibition of a firearm, the prosecutor must show beyond a reasonable doubt that you carried a weapon, you exhibited or showed the weapon in a threatening, angry, careless, or rude way, and you did it in front of or around one or more people. In other words, you can be convicted for this crime even if you are just momentarily aggravated and take out your gun in a heated moment. You do not need to actually point it at someone or fire it into the air. You can even be convicted for showing it carelessly — you need not have done it angrily or intentionally. Improper exhibition is a first-degree misdemeanor, which means that if you are convicted, you can be penalized with up to a year in jail, a year of probation, and a maximum of $1,000 in fines.
Defenses to this charge vary. In some cases, a gun crime attorney in St. Petersburg can argue self-defense or defense of others when faced with an improper exhibition charge. In other cases, it is possible to persuade the prosecutor before the charge is filed that there is not enough evidence or that the police misunderstood the situation.
Under Florida Statutes Section 790.01(2), you can be convicted of carrying a concealed firearm if you knowingly carried it on your person, and it was concealed from another person's ordinary vision.
Carrying a concealed firearm without a license is a third-degree felony. This means that you face up to five years in prison or on probation, plus a maximum of $5,000 in fines. You may be able to fight the charge by showing that you have a permit to carry concealed firearms in Florida or another state, or by showing that you fall into one of several exceptions. For example, if you were traveling to or from a lawful hunting event, camping, or fishing, you are allowed to carry a concealed firearm. A St. Petersburg gun crime attorney can help you determine what an appropriate strategy would be in your case.
If you are a convicted felon, you should be aware that it is illegal to knowingly possess, control, or own a firearm. A conviction for this crime carries the possibility of up to 15 years in prison or 15 years on probation, as well as a maximum of $10,000 in fines.Get Assistance from a Gun Crime Lawyer in the St. Petersburg Area
If you are charged with a gun crime of any nature, you should consult us. Our founder, Will Hanlon, is an experienced criminal defense attorney who has been providing vigorous representation to the accused since 1994. Call Hanlon Law at 727.897.5413 or complete our online form.