Florida Criminal Defense & Family Law Attorney
Call Now to Schedule a Consultation 352.503.4111

Florida Gun Charges and Penalties

Many Floridians have strong feelings, one way or the other, about the possession of firearms. But because of the technicalities surrounding Florida's weapons and firearms laws, people can easily find themselves on the wrong side of the law and facing criminal charges.

The right to bear arms is, of course, guaranteed under the Second Amendment. Nonetheless, states, including Florida, have passed laws that regulate the possession of firearms and other weapons. Violation of these laws often carries strict penalties, including fines, possible jail time, forfeiture of the weapon or firearm, and possible limitations on possessing weapons or firearms in the future.

There are two types of gun and weapons crimes in Florida: gun or weapons offenses, and gun or weapons enhancements. A weapons offense is a crime based solely on the fact that a person improperly possessed, purchased, or used a weapon or firearm. A weapons enhancement increases the penalties for an underlying crime, or requires a mandatory minimum prison sentence when a weapon or firearm is used in the commission of a violent crime like aggravated assault, aggravated battery, or robbery.

Weapons Crimes and Punishments in Florida

The most common weapons charges in Florida are:

  • Unlicensed Carrying of a Concealed Firearm
  • Carrying a Concealed Weapon
  • Improper Exhibition of a Dangerous Weapon or Firearm
  • Possessing or discharging a weapon at a school-sponsored event
  • Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon
  • Allowing a minor under the age of 16 to access a loaded firearm

Carrying a concealed firearm, without a license, is a third degree felony in Florida, punishable by up to 5 years in prison, up to 5 years of probation, and up to $5,000 in fines. To fight the charge, you can show that you have a Concealed Firearm permit, issued by Florida or another state. You can also carry a concealed firearm if you are traveling to or from a fishing, camping, or lawful hunting event, transporting a firearm within a private residence, or traveling to or from a gun show or firearms club.

Carrying a concealed weapon is similar to carrying a concealed firearm, except that the defendant is accused of concealing a different type of weapon, like metallic knuckles, a sling-shot, a billie club, a tear gas gun, a chemical weapon or device, or some other deadly weapon. Carrying a concealed weapon is a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail, one year of probation, and up to $1,000 in fines. If you have a concealed weapons permit issued by Florida or another state with reciprocity, you can legally carry a concealed weapon. Self-defense products like pepper spray and non-lethal stun guns, as well as pocket knives, plastic knives, or table knives with a blunt blade are not considered concealed weapons.

Improper exhibition of a dangerous weapon or firearm means that the defendant carried a dangerous weapon or firearm, exhibited it in a rude, careless, angry, or threatening manner, and did so in the presence of at least one person. This crime is a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail, up to one year of probation, and up to $1,000 in fines. Self-defense is one way to fight this charge.

Possessing or discharging a weapon at a school-sponsored event means that the defendant exhibited a dangerous weapon or firearm in a rude, careless, angry, or threatening manner, in the presence of at least one person, at a school sponsored event or on the grounds of a school. This crime is a felony of the third degree, punishable by up to 5 years in prison, up to 5 years of probation, and up to $5,000 in fines. A claim of self-defense is also a defense to this charge.

Possession of a firearm by a convicted felon is illegal and punishable by up to 15 years in prison, up to 15 years of probation, and up to $10,000 in fines. It is illegal in Florida and elsewhere for a convicted felon to knowingly own, possess, or control a firearm.

Allowing a minor under the age of 16 to access a loaded firearm is a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $500. Valid defenses include that the firearm was stored in a location that the defendant reasonably believed was secure, or that the minor obtained access to the firearm through unlawful entry.

Florida Weapons Enhancements

Florida's most common weapons enhancement is known as 10-20-Life, and triggers mandatory minimum prison sentences if a firearm is carried, discharged, or a person is shot or killed with a firearm during the commission of certain violent crimes. Penalties under the 10-20-Life enhancement are as follows:

  • Firearm carried during the commission of a violent crime: 10 year mandatory minimum prison sentence.
  • Firearm discharged during the commission of a violent crime: 20 year mandatory minimum prison sentence.
  • A person is shot or killed during the commission of a violent crime: 25 year mandatory minimum prison sentence, up to life in prison.

The Law Office of Jody L. Fisher - Your Defense Against Central-Florida Gun and Weapons Charges

If you or someone you care about is facing a gun or weapons charge in central-Florida, I encourage you to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney today. Florida gun and weapon charges are serious, and you need an experienced, aggressive criminal defense lawyer who will give you the best defense possible. As a former prosecutor, I understand Florida gun and weapons charges and sentencing, and how Florida courts and prosecutors handle gun and weapons charges.

Contact me at The Law Office of Jody L. Fisher today to schedule a free, confidential initial consultation. Call (352) 503-4111, or complete our online information form today.

Categories: