If you are a gun owner in Florida, the state’s gun laws may seem paradoxical. While on one hand, Florida leans heavily in favor of gun rights and the 2nd Amendment, it also has some of the most stringent gun crime laws in the country. Due to the complexity of gun possession, it is vital to call a St. Petersburg gun crimes attorney if you are facing charges. You should always consult a gun violence attorney if you are arrested in St. Petersburg, FL for a gun offense.
Florida law allows open carry of a firearm when someone carrying is fishing, attending a gun show, camping, hunting, shooting, or traveling to and from these activities. This has led some people who want to appear openly armed to travel everywhere with a fishing pole in their vehicles!
In addition, many Floridians hold concealed weapons permits. Add to that the “stand your ground” law that allow the use of a weapon whenever you feel threatened, and you have a situation where people have the idea that there are few restrictions on how guns are used in the state, which is simply not the case.
Weapons crimes are serious business in Florida, and convictions on gun crime charges bring heavy sentences. The Florida State Attorney’s office has a special “Gun Unit” of prosecutors who receive special training in gaining convictions on weapons offenses.Types Of Gun-Related Charges In St. Petersburg And Throughout Florida
These are some of the most common gun-related charges in Florida. Many involve not holding the proper permit or using a gun in the commission of a crime.
- Possession of a firearm by a convicted felon
- Improper exhibition of a firearm or deadly weapon
- Carrying a concealed firearm without a permit
- Aggravated assault with a deadly weapon
- Aggravated battery with a deadly weapon
- Armed burglary
- Armed kidnapping
- Armed possession of illegal drugs
- Armed trafficking in illegal drugs
- Shooting deadly missiles
Florida’s 10-20-Life law requires mandatory minimum sentences when a gun is used during the commission of a felony. These are the sentencing requirements:
- For carrying a firearm, a 10 year minimum mandatory prison sentence;
- For discharging a firearm, a 20 year minimum mandatory prison sentence;
- If someone is shot or killed, a 25 year minimum mandatory prison sentence, up to life in prison.
In Florida, because the law offers opportunities to carry a gun and even to use it in self-defense, while requiring extremely severe mandatory sentencing when the gun is not used in strict compliance with the law, some gun owners are confused about what they can and cannot do when carrying a gun. Additionally, it is easy to feel a sense of power when armed, which may lead some people into behaviors that can get them into trouble with the law, for example pulling a gun during a minor altercation.
The state’s laws often leave room for uncertainty and interpretation. Because the penalties are so severe, if you have been charged with a gun-related crime, it is especially important to hire the best St. Petersburg criminal defense attorney you can find.You Need A Focused, Private Criminal Defense Attorney
This is no time to take a chance with an overworked and underpaid public defender. While often dedicated attorneys, public defenders have such large case loads, they are only able to give a minimal amount of attention to each case they are assigned.
Not having a gun crimes attorney who can focus ample attention on you and your case is a risk you simply cannot afford to take.Experienced Criminal Defense In St. Petersburg, FL
In St. Petersburg, you will find the experienced, skilled, and aggressive representation that can prevent the loss of your freedom when you hire St. Petersburg criminal defense attorney Will Hanlon. Will has been successfully representing people who have been accused of crimes in and around the St. Petersburg area for more than 20 years, and has spared numerous Floridians from the years of incarceration that comes with a gun crime conviction.
If you or a loved one is facing a gun charge, call the law office of Will Hanlon. It is important to act immediately for the best chance at preserving your freedom and your future, so make that call and wait until counsel arrives to answer any questions posed by the police. Exercise your right to remain silent until Will Hanlon is by your side.
- 10/20/Life Statute
- Aggravated Assault With A Firearm
- Aggravated Assault with a Firearm: Sentencing and Penalties
- Carrying a Concealed Firearm
- Felon in Possession of Firearm
- Improper Exhibition of Firearm or Deadly Weapon
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 727.289.0222 or complete our online form.