In Florida, criminal charges involving guns and other types of firearms and weapons can have serious legal consequences. You could be arrested in Florida on gun charges if a police officer reasonably has probable cause to believe that you are unlawfully carrying a weapon.
While you can lawfully possess a firearm in Florida with proper licensing, carrying it openly in public could expose you to legal penalties. More serious gun charges will be imposed with a potential for enhanced penalties if you violate some of the stringent gun laws in the state.
For example, attempting to commit or committing a felony in Florida while you possessed a firearm could result in a minimum jail time of three years. Apart from the sentencing, a criminal conviction can adversely impact your reputation, career, and business prospects in the future. Experienced Miami gun charges defense lawyer Chad Piotrowski and his legal team can help to protect your rights if you or someone you love is arrested for a firearm offense.
Most Common Gun Charges in Florida
Openly Carrying a Firearm or Weapon
It is illegal in Florida to carry a firearm openly unless you have a valid license to do so. According to the law, even if you have obtained the specific license to carry an electric weapon or firearm openly, you could still be criminally charged if you brandish it in a threatening or angry manner.
Illegally Possessing a Firearm or Weapon
Illegal firearm possession is a serious charge in Florida. You should be mindful of the laws related to possession of firearms or consult with a criminal defense lawyer if you are unsure. The following parties cannot legally possess a firearm in Florida:
- Mentally incompetent individuals, vagrants, and those with a substance abuse history
- Individuals facing charges of domestic violence or having an injunction imposed on them
- Convicted felons, except when the restoration of their 2nd Amendment rights has occurred
- Individuals who are 15 years or below that age, except when they are in possession of an unloaded firearm at home under the supervision of a parent or guardian
Illegally Carrying Concealed Firearms
The law defines a “concealed firearm” as any electric weapon or firearm that you can carry on your person in a way so as to hide it from the ordinary sight of others. In Florida, you can face serious gun charges if you are carrying a unlawfully carrying a concealed weapon or firearm.
However, the law has made certain exceptions when carrying a concealed weapon is legal. For example, if you have obtained a specific license to carry a concealed weapon, you will not be charged. Conceal-carrying self-defense objects such as pepper spray or a stun-gun is also not an offense under this law.
Committing a Crime Using a Firearm
You may be subjected to more serious gun charges and penalties if you commit a crime while using a deadly weapon or firearm. Typical crimes that may be committed with the use of firearms include sexual assault, kidnapping, carjacking, robbery, battery, and assault. When a firearm has been used at the time of commission of these offenses, you may face “aggravated” charges.
Penalties for Gun Charges in Florida
Improper Display of Firearms in Public
If you display a firearm in a threatening or reckless matter when others are present (except when you are doing it in self-defense), you will face a first-degree misdemeanor charge. Penalties include jail time of up to one year and/or fine of up to $1,000.
Carrying a Concealed Firearm without License
If you are found illegally carrying a concealed firearm in Florida, it will be treated as a first-degree misdemeanor. Penalties include jail time of up to one year and/or fine of up to $1,000. However, if the concealed firearm you were carrying is not licensed, the law will impose third-degree felony charges on you. Penalties include jail time of up to five years and/or fine of up to $5,000.
Firearm Discharge in Residential or Public Area
Whether you negligently or intentionally discharge a loaded firearm in a residential area or another public place (such as open spaces, streets, or highways), you will face a first-degree misdemeanor charge. Penalties include jail time of up to one year and/or fine of up to $1,000. More severe charges can be imposed in the following situations:
- If you are a vehicle occupant and you intentionally discharge a firearm public within 1,000 feet of presence of people, you will face second-degree felony charges. Penalties include jail time of up to 15 years and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
- If you are a vehicle driver who urges another occupant in the vehicle to discharge a firearm in a public space, you will face a third-degree felony charge. Penalties include jail time of up to 5 years and/or a fine of up to $5,000.
Using/Carrying a Firearm while Under the Influence of Alcohol
If you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol and are found carrying a firearm, you can face second-degree misdemeanor charges. For the purpose of law, carrying a firearm that is available for immediate discharge is equivalent to “using” the firearm, if your faculties have been impaired after consuming alcohol or drugs. Penalties for this offense include jail time of up to 60 days and/or a fine of up to $500.
Hire a Gun Charges Lawyer in Florida
Chad Piotrowski is a seasoned criminal defense attorney in Florida who will put up a vigorous defense if you are charged with a firearm offense of any kind. Piotrowski has a deep understanding of Florida’s gun control laws, and he will not hesitate from using every possible legal defense in the rule book to fight your case.
You cannot afford to take gun charges lightly in Florida. Reach out to Chad Piotrowski’s office as soon as possible after your arrest, so that we can move fast to collect evidence and resolve your case favorably. We have an outstanding performance record of successfully defending people facing even the most serious firearm charges. Call us today at 305-930-8645 or complete this contact form to set up an appointment.