Possession Of A Firearm By A Convicted Felon

Possession Of A Firearm By A Convicted Felon

Gainesville Criminal Defense Attorney

Florida Law strictly prohibits convicted felons from possessing weapons or ammunition. The penalties for possessing a firearm as a convicted felon are harsh in Florida, even if the weapon was never discharged or used to commit a crime.

Nonetheless, defenses to firearm possession charges do exist, and our Gainesville criminal defense attorney can provide pivotal legal guidance to individuals, or their loved ones, facing such allegations.

Being convicted of firearm charges can have a long-lasting impact on someone’s life and, unfortunately, felons are often convicted for unknowing or accidental possession of a firearm. If you’re facing charges of firearm possession, ensure your rights are protected going forward.

Contact Stout Defense, P.A., and request a free consultation!


Florida Laws Regarding Firearm Possession

As defined in Florida Statute §790.23, it is unlawful for any person to own or have in their care, custody, possession, or control any firearm, ammunition, or electric weapon or device if that person has been convicted of a felony. This statute does not apply to felons whose (a) civil rights and firearm authority have been restored or (b) criminal history has been expunged.

Per the guidelines of this statute, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused has been convicted of a felony and, after the conviction, knowingly owned, possessed, or had in their care the alleged firearm, ammunition, or electric weapon or device. 

What Is A Firearm?

In Florida, a firearm is defined as any weapon designed to, or may be readily converted to, expel a projectile by the action of an explosion. This definition excludes “antique firearms” unless used to commit a crime. Individuals with prior convictions can also face charges if any ammunition or an electric weapon or device is discovered to be in their possession. Ammunition is defined as gunpowder, projectiles, bullets, shots, or a fixed metallic or nonmetallic hull containing a primer. Finally, an electric weapon is defined as any device that emits an electric current and is used, whether for defensive or offensive purposes, to inflict injury or death.

Types Of Possession

The defenses available to the accused and penalties they may incur if convicted will differ depending on the type of possession they are alleged of committing. The three types of possession are:

Actual Possession

This occurs when the alleged offender was either holding the firearm, carrying a vessel containing a firearm, or was close enough to a firearm for it to be considered readily available to them and under their control. Charges of actual possession are the harshest, resulting in a mandatory minimum of three years in prison if convicted. In addition to the mandatory minimum sentence, a judge may also choose to impose up to 15 years in prison, up to 15 years of probation, and up to $10,000 in fines. 

Constructive Possession

This occurs when the firearm, ammunition, or electric weapon or device is in a place over which the alleged offender holds dominion (home, vehicle, storage unit, etc.), has control over, or has concealed it. This type of possession has no mandatory minimum sentence. However, a conviction will still result in devastating penalties with the possibility of up to 15 years in prison, up to 15 years of probation, and up to $10,000 in fines.

Joint Possession

This type of possession occurs when the firearm, ammunition, or electric weapon or device is under two or more individuals’ shared control. In cases such as these, both parties are considered to be in possession of the firearm. Joint possession carries no mandatory minimum sentence. 

How Our Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help

If you’re facing charges for any kind of weapons offense, contact our experienced Gainesville attorney — Adam Stout! With a wealth of legal knowledge, years of criminal defense experience, and unwavering commitment to his clients, our Gainesville lawyer can help you construct a rock-solid defense. The penalties for firearm possession charges are severe and long-lasting, so don’t wait — get a criminal defense lawyer dedicated to protecting your rights. Contact Stout Defense, P.A. today for a case consultation!