Firearm Possession by a Felon
Most individuals convicted of felonies lose certain rights and privileges such as the right to possess a firearm. It is a felony under Florida law to be caught with a firearm if you have been previously convicted of a felony offense. Additionally, if you have been convicted of a felony outside of Florida that carried a possible sentence of more than one year in prison, you are not eligible to legally possess a gun in Florida. You need to hire an experienced Melbourne criminal defense lawyer familiar with fighting felony charges. If you are a felon caught with a firearm, you could face prison time, parole violations and probation violations.
In order to avoid the criminal penalties associated with being a convicted felon possessing a firearm, you need to contact a Melbourne criminal defense lawyer immediately.
Melbourne Lawyer Possession of Firearm by a Felon Charges
The attorneys at the Law Offices of Germain & McCarthy have dedicated their law practice to criminal defense matters. Even if you are a convicted felon, you still have rights. Contact us at (321) 253-3447 for a consultation on how we can help you fight a possession of a firearm allegation.
Firearm Possession by a Convicted Felon – Information Center
- Florida’s Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon Statute
- Penalties for Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon
- Defenses to a Firearm Possession Charge
Under Florida Criminal Code §790.23, it is against the law for any individual to do own or possess a firearm, ammunition or an electric weapon if the individual is:
- Convicted of a felony in the state courts
- Committed a delinquent act under the age of 24 that would be considered a felony but for the individual’s youth
- Committed a felony crime against the United States
- Found guilty of a felony offense in another state which was punishable by over 1 year in prison
Under some circumstances, it is possible for a convicted felon to get their civil rights and firearm authority restored. In most cases, a convicted felon loses their ability to own, carry, possess or control any firearm, ammunition or electric device or weapon including a tear gas gun or chemical weapon or device.
Possession of a firearm is considered a third-degree felony under Florida law. The punishment for a third-degree felony is up to 5 years in Florida state prison. In addition to the 5-year prison sentence, 3 years can be added onto the charge if the prosecutor can prove that the individual was in “actual possession” of the firearm, ammunition or electric device.
It is the government’s burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that an individual is a felon in possession of a firearm. There are two main elements associated with this crime:
- The individual must be classified as a convicted felon under Florida’s criminal statute §790.23 and
- The individual knowingly had possession of a firearm, ammunition, electric device or concealed weapon.
Usually, a criminal defense lawyer tries to cast doubt on one of these elements because if there is a reasonable doubt as to one of the elements, the prosecution has not met the burden of proof.
The first part is the convicted felon classification. If there was some kind of mistake or misunderstanding about your felon status, then the criminal defense lawyer can present evidence to the court that establishes that you were not a convicted felon at the time of your possession of the firearm.
If the prosecution is able to conclusively establish the convicted felon status of an individual, the criminal defense attorney can attack the second part of the statute. Under §790.23 the convicted felon must “knowingly” have possession of the firearm. If the criminal defense attorney can prove that you did not know the firearm was in your possession, then the case must fail.
It is vital for you to contact a Melbourne criminal defense attorney right away to go over the specific facts of your case. There have been hundreds of scenarios where firearms and ammunition have been in the area of convicted felons, but the defense attorney was able to prove that the felon did not actually have possession of the firearm.
Under the Florida statute, possession of a firearm is defined as an individual having the ability to control or manage the operation of the firearm. There are two types of possession: constructive and actual. In order to have constructive possession, the firearm must be in a location where the individual could reasonably gain access to the firearm. Actual possession means that the firearm is either in the hands of the individual or concealed on their person.
If your case is based on constructive possession, it is easier to cast doubt on your possession of the firearm. Just because the firearm was in a container or some other location where you theoretically had access, does not mean that you had ownership of the firearm. A good defense attorney can cast reasonable doubt on the possession part of the prosecution’s argument.
Knowledge is another part of the case the prosecution must prove. Usually, they use circumstantial evidence to show that you knew or should have known that a firearm was in your possession. However, it is possible for other individuals to place firearms and ammunition among your possessions without your knowledge. Depending on the totality of the circumstances, often times the prosecution cannot prove the knowledge element beyond a reasonable doubt.
Law Offices of Germain & McCarthy | Possession of Firearm by Felon in Brevard County
If you are charged with possession of a firearm and you are a convicted felon, contact the Law Offices of Germain & McCarthy at (321) 253-3447 to get immediate legal representation. A conviction for possession of a firearm by a felon can have serious consequences. This conviction can violate the terms of your probation or parole and cause serve a harsh prison sentence. Once you outline the facts of your case to our Melbourne gun charge lawyers, we can begin creating a defense to mitigate the damage that possession of a firearm charges can cause to your criminal record.