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Felon in Possession of a Firearm
Criminal Defense for Clients in Miami & Fort Lauderdale
Felon in possession of a firearm is a significant charge. Those who have been convicted of felonies may not realize that simply possessing a firearm, ammunition, or electrical device or weapon could result in further felony charges and even possible prison time. If you are charged as a felon in possession of a firearm, you must take this charge seriously. Our attorney is an experienced Miami felon in possession of a firearm attorney and former prosecutor with substantial trial experience and an understanding of how to defend these types of charges.
Florida Statute section 790.23 provides that it is a crime to own or keep in your possession, custody, care or control a firearm, ammunition, electric weapon or concealed weapon under certain circumstances.
- You have a prior felony conviction in the state
- A Florida court found that you, as someone under age 24, committed a delinquent act that would have been a felony had an adult perpetrated it
- You were convicted or found to have committed a felony against the nation
- You were found to have committed a delinquent act in another state, territory, or country that would be a felony where committed by an adult who could be punished with imprisonment for a term of more than a year and that person is under age 24
- You were found guilty of an offense designated as a felony punishable by more than a year of incarceration in another state, territory, or country
Actual or Constructive Possession of a Firearm
"Possession" under this statute can mean either actual or constructive possession. Actual possession can be found if you were holding a firearm in your hand or on your person, whether by itself or in a container, or if it was so close it was within your ready reach and under your control. Constructive possession is a bit different. It can be found when a firearm is located in a place you control or where you've concealed it.
Sentences for Felony in Possession of Firearm
If the court finds you actually possessed a firearm as a felon, you will be sentenced to a mandatory minimum of 3 years in prison. The judge may impose a maximum of 15 years in prison, 15 years probation, and $10,000 in fines. If the court finds you constructively possessed a firearm, a judge may impose a maximum of 15 years in prison, 15 years probation, and $10,000 in fines.
Defending Against Felon in Possession of a Firearm Charges
Although it can be stressful to go through being charged with a felony again simply for possessing a gun, there are defenses that may apply to your case, and a seasoned defense attorney can help you identify them.
It may be possible to defend against these charges by showing that you didn't possess the weapon. There may have been violations of your constitutional rights in connection with evidence that would allow you to get the evidence suppressed. There may also be questions about whose weapon it was. For example, if there were multiple people who had access and controlled the place where the weapon was, the prosecutor may not be able to prove your actual or constructive possession beyond a reasonable doubt. There are certain unusual circumstances in which you may be able to argue that your civil rights and authority to possess a firearm had been restored and that therefore you should not be convicted.
Consult a Tough Weapons Offense Attorney in Miami
If you were charged as a felon in possession of a firearm or any other weapons offense, you can face steep penalties. The Hoffman Firm closely examines the circumstances of such charges in order to develop strong defense strategies for our clients.
Under Florida Statute § 874.04, criminal offenses committed to benefit, promoting, or furthering the interests of a criminal gang are increased one level.
Repeat possession by a felon offenses are also subject to several kinds of enhancements if they are classified as any of the following:
- Prison Releasee Reoffender, Florida Statute § 775.082 — Alleged offenders face the same penalties listed above but also become ineligible for early release
- Habitual Felony Offender, Florida Statute § 775.084(a) — Second degree felony offenses become punishable by to up to 30 years in prison, and first degree felony offenses become punishable by up to life in prison
- Habitual Violent Felony Offender, Florida Statute § 775.084(b) — Second degree felony offenses become punishable by to up to 30 years in prison with no eligibility for early release for 10 years, and first degree felony offenses become punishable by up to life in prison with no eligibility for early release for 15 years
- Three-Time Violent Felony Offender, Florida Statute § 775.084(c) — Second degree felony offenses become punishable by a mandatory minimum of 15 years in prison, and first degree felony offenses become punishable a mandatory minimum of 30 years in prison
- Violent Career Criminal, Florida Statute § 775.084(d) — Second degree felony offenses become punishable by a mandatory minimum of 30 years up to 40 years in prison, and first degree felony offenses become punishable by up to life in prison.
Possession by a Felon Resources in Florida
Restoration of Civil Rights (RCR) | Clemency | Florida Commission on Offender Review — Convicted felons can apply for Executive Clemency to have their firearm rights restored when eight or more years have elapsed since their sentences or probation ended and all court ordered restitution and costs paid. Use this website to search for rights already restored, print certificates, and download an application and instructions for Restoration of Civil Rights or Firearm Authority. "Rules of Executive Clemency" contains additional information about eligibility criteria for each form of clemency.
Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) | Seal and Expunge Home — Another way for a convicted felon to have his or her firearm rights restored is to get his or her criminal record expunged. Visit this section of the FDLE website to learn more about expungement processes in Florida. You can also find answers to frequently asked questions.
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