Firearms Charges in Florida

Firearms charges carry steep penalties in all states, and Florida is no different. It is essential to understand what you are facing and your options for defense, as even a misdemeanor offense can turn into up to a year in jail.

Don’t drag your feet in hiring an experienced attorney to help. Get familiar with the charges so you are prepared and consult an attorney immediately. Continue reading to learn more about firearms charges in Florida and how an attorney can help you.

Unlawful Possession/Discharge of a Firearm

Even if you are found to have possession of a firearm without a proper license, you can face 1st-degree misdemeanor charges. This infraction could lead to a fine of up to $1,000 and up to one year in jail.

Examples of those that can’t possess a firearm would be convicted felons, domestic violence abusers, minors, undocumented immigrants, drug addicts, or mentally ill individuals.

Unlawful firearm discharge refers to firing a gun in public or the negligent discharge of a firearm outside of a residentially zoned home. This charge carries up to five years in jail and a $5,000 fine because it is considered a 3rd-degree felony.

In Florida, if you are defending life or property, this is the only exception to discharging a firearm in a residentially zoned area. It is crucial to understand where the residentially-zoned areas are because even if you are target-shooting in a residential area, you can face a 1st-degree misdemeanor charge.

Also, if you discharge a firearm in a vehicle and are within 1,000 feet of another person, you may face a 2nd-degree felony charge, which carries up to 15 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

Illegal Guns in Florida

Concerning the 2nd Amendment, Florida laws are in place to protect those rights. However, some guns are illegal in Florida regardless of the actions surrounding them.

Illegal firearms are machine guns, short-barrel shotguns, and short-barrel rifles. Machine guns are defined as automatic firearms that can be shot without manual reloading. Short-barrel shotguns are defined as guns with one or more barrels less than 18 inches long. Short-barrel rifles are considered a rifle with one or more barrels less than 16 inches long or any firearm made from a rifle.

The exception to this rule is if the gun was manufactured before 1918. These guns are considered antiques, and possessing an antique firearm in Florida is generally not illegal.

It is important to note that firing a machine gun in public with the intent to harm in Florida can result in a 1st-degree felony which carries a punishment of up to life in prison and up to $15,000 in fines.

What About the Sale of Firearms in Florida?

It is crucial to avoid fines and jail time for you to understand the Florida laws surrounding the sale of firearms. If you are a licensed dealer but don’t follow appropriate protocol during a gun sale, you could be facing significant charges.

If you sell a firearm to an individual who isn’t legally allowed to possess a gun in Florida, you may face charges of anywhere from a 1st-degree felony to a 3rd-degree felony. Both of which carry hefty fines and jail sentences.

Illegal Use of a Firearm

If you use a firearm while committing a crime or while you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you will face severe penalties.

Using a firearm while impaired can lead to up to 60 days in jail and $500 in fines. Using a gun while committing a crime, whether concealed or not, can get you charges of 3rd-degree or 2nd-degree felonies, which both carry several years in prison and $10,000 in fines or more. These fines and penalties would typically be in addition to the penalties for the crime you were committing.

Manufacturing a Firearm

What if you want to manufacture your own firearm in Florida? It is not illegal to do so as long as you get the required licensing from Florida and the federal government. As you can imagine, firearms manufacturing is heavily regulated due to the safety risks involved, and laws change frequently regarding them, so it’s essential to understand the current regulations before manufacturing a firearm.

How Do I Defend Myself Against Firearms Charges?

If you are facing firearms charges, the time is now to seek a legal professional with experience in gun charges. Even some simple situations may result in stiff fines and penalties if a firearm is involved. The risk to public safety isn’t something Florida courts take lightly.

Self-defense may be an option, or proving that you had no intent to harm or didn’t fully understand the laws involved in your charges. Although the opportunities for defense in firearms cases are slim, there are options. Depending on your circumstances, you can rely on our experienced team to help you reach a reasonable outcome.

Our offices offer free consultations, so if you or a loved one are facing firearms charges, don’t hesitate to call us at (786) 933-6242 to discuss your options. Chad’s background includes years as an assistant state attorney before becoming a dedicated criminal defense attorney, so he can offer a unique perspective to his clients and is diligent and relentless in defending them. Don’t let something you misunderstood lead to losing the right to bear arms or your freedom. Contact us today.