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Understanding Florida’s Laws On Weapons Possession


Florida is well known for being a Castle Doctrine state, and the right to bear arms is protected by both the Florida Constitution and the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Under Florida law, a person can stand their ground in most cases and meet force with force – including deadly force. This law applies when a person reasonably believes that lethal force is necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm to themselves or others.

However, sometimes the use of force with a weapon is not justifiable when it causes bodily injury or even death. Even if no force was used, a person may face a weapons charge from carrying a concealed weapon without a license or being in possession of a firearm when it is illegal for you to do so.  Individuals under the age of 16, individuals who have been deemed mentally incompetent, convicted felons whose civil rights have not been restored and individuals with documented drug addiction problems are generally prohibited from possessing or owning firearms in Florida.

What are the Penalties for a Weapons Charge in Florida?

The penalties for a weapons charge can vary greatly and depend upon the severity of the charge. A weapons charge in Florida can be prosecuted as a felony or a misdemeanor. There are other weapons, besides guns, that can lead to charges too including brass knuckles, tear gas guns, and tasers.

People may be subject to criminal penalties and jail time in Florida if they are charged with any of the following:

  • Unlawful discharge of a firearm;
  • Unlawful possession of a firearm;
  • Unlawful sale of a firearm;
  • Manufacturing of firearms;
  • Possession of a firearm to commit a crime; or
  • Carrying a concealed firearm without a license.

Pursuant to Florida’s 10-20-Life law (Florida Statutes Sec. 775.087), a person faces enhanced penalties if they use a weapon while committing a crime. These are serious penalties that can include:

  • A mandatory minimum sentence of ten years if the accused was in possession of a weapon;
  • A mandatory minimum sentence of twenty years if a weapon was discharged; and
  • A mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years to life in prison if a person sustains injuries or dies due to a weapon that was used during the commission of a crime.

Important Note: A life sentence for firearms offense applies to certain crimes specified in the Florida statutes. Under Florida Statute § 775.087, a person could face a life sentence if they are convicted of firing a firearm and either killing or injuring another person during the commission of a felony offense.

Carrying a Concealed Firearm Without a License is a Very Serious Offense

For charges of carrying a concealed firearm or weapon without a license, the penalties are somewhat less severe than the penalties for unlawfully carrying and/or unlawfully discharging a firearm during the commission of a felony. Still, the unauthorized carrying of a concealed weapon is still a very serious criminal offense in Florida. You must have the proper license to carry a concealed weapon in the State of Florida. Otherwise, you are at risk of facing severe criminal punishment. If a person is arrested for having an unlicensed concealed weapon, they can face a third-degree felony charge, which involves a prison sentence of up to five years. Adding to that penalty are monetary fines and costs that can add a significant financial burden to those convicted.

What Are the Potential Defenses to a Weapons Charge in Florida?

For those arrested and charged with unlawful gun possession in Florida, they face serious consequences including prison time, financial fines and probation. However, the circumstances of your situation might justify your weapon possession (or could show you did not possess the weapon at all at the time in question). Here are some common defenses that might apply to your case:

  • You were allowed to lawfully carry the weapon.
  • You didn’t know you were in possession of a firearm or weapon at the time of your arrest.
  • You never physically possessed the weapon or firearm.
  • You were defending yourself at home or in your vehicle.
  • Your rights were violated by law enforcement.

No matter what the situation, you will need to speak with an experienced Florida criminal defense attorney if you face any charge related to weapons possession.

The Orlando Criminal Defense Attorneys at Joshi Law Firm, PA Are Here to Help If You Are Charged With Any Weapons Related Offense

It is important to understand that while Florida grants broad legal rights for possession of firearms and certain weapons – rights guaranteed under the State and Federal Constitutions. However, restrictions do exist and violations of these laws can lead to legal trouble. Our experienced Orlando criminal defense attorneys at Joshi Law Firm will help you review and understand all legal options if you have been charged with weapons possession or any offense related to the use of a weapon. To learn more, call our legal team today at 407-661-1109, or complete our online case questionnaire.



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