Felon in Possession of a Firearm
In the state of Florida, the conviction of a felony offense carries several consequences. One of the most significant complications that convicted felons face is the inability to possess a firearm legally.
Due to the severe penalties associated with being convicted of this crime, you must immediately seek legal advice if you’re a convicted felon accused of possessing a firearm. OA Law Firm’s experienced criminal defense attorneys are committed to defending your legal rights. We have helped hundreds of clients get their criminal charges minimized or dismissed entirely. For a free and confidential discussion with a Tampa criminal defense attorney, call (813) 461-5291 or contact us online now.What is a Felon in Possession of a Firearm Charge in Florida?
According to Florida Statute § 790.23, it is unlawful for a convicted felon to own or have in their possession any firearm, ammunition, or electric weapon. In addition, convicted felons are not permitted to carry concealed weapons, including tear gas guns or chemical weapons. This statute applies to anyone who;
- Has been convicted of a felony in the state of Florida;
- Has been convicted of a felony crime against the United States;
- Has been found guilty of a felony offense in another state, territory, or country which was punishable by a minimum one-year prison term;
- Has been found guilty of committing a delinquent act in the state of Florida that would be considered a felony if committed by an adult;
- Has been found guilty of committing a delinquent act in another state, territory, or country which was punishable by a minimum one-year prison term, and would be considered a felony if committed by an adult
A critical element in a felon in possession of a firearm charge is the type of possession that is alleged. This is because different types of possession can significantly impact whether a prison sentence is mandatory in the event that the defendant is found guilty. In addition, building a successful defense case can hinge on the type of possession that the defendant is accused of. There are three types of possession that a felon in possession of a firearm can be accused of:Actual Possession
Actual possession occurs if the firearm was in their hands or in a container in your hands. You can also be accused of actual possession if the firearm was within ready reach and under your control. If convicted of actual possession, you could face a mandatory minimum sentence of three years in prison.Constructive Possession
Constructive possession occurs if the firearm was in a place in which the alleged offender had dominion and control. You can also be accused of constructive possession if the firearm was within your presence, and you had knowledge of the illegal nature of the firearm.Joint Possession
Joint possession occurs if the firearm was under the control of two or more people, both of whom are considered to be in possession. In joint possession cases, mandatory minimum sentencing does not apply.What Happens During a Felon in Possession of a Firearm Prosecution?
If you’ve been charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm, it’s imperative that you retain legal counsel immediately. The legal process you face will differ depending on whether you are charged by the state of Florida or in federal court.
As the defendant in a federal prosecution case, after a probable cause determination has been made, you will be arraigned before a federal magistrate to enter a plea of “not guilty.” After entering your plea, a trial date will be scheduled. At this point, your attorney will contact the prosecution to obtain any evidence they intend to use at trial, such as witness statements and arrest reports. The prosecution is required to disclose any exculpatory information they have under Brady v. Maryland.
Once your plea has been entered, if you’re being held in jail, you can opt to have a preliminary hearing within 14 days — or within 21 days if you’re out on bail. If the preliminary hearing results in the judge determining that the prosecution has not established probable cause that you committed the crime, your charges will be dismissed. This is the optimal legal outcome, and our Tampa criminal defense attorneys have helped many clients secure a dismissal of their charges. If it’s not possible to have your charges dismissed, it’s crucial that you begin building a strategic criminal defense to present at your trial.Building a Felon in Possession of Firearm Defense in Florida
If you are a convicted felon who has been accused of being in possession of a firearm, you could face enhanced criminal penalties if it’s deemed that you were using the weapon during the commission of another crime, or if you’re convicted as a repeat offender. Unfortunately, many defendants have faced charges while unknowingly or accidentally possessing a firearm.
Gun cases often hinge on the evidence that is obtained by the arresting agency, including the seizure of the weapon in question. If law enforcement agencies violate your Fourth Amendment right, it may be possible for your defense attorney to request that the court exclude the weapon from the evidence. If a dismissal isn’t possible, the prosecution must still prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you intentionally possessed a firearm.
As each case is highly individual, it’s important to seek the advice of an experienced criminal defense attorney. If you’d like to learn more about what legal options may be available to you, call us today for a confidential discussion of your case at (813) 461-5291.Why You Should Choose OA Law Firm Criminal Defense Attorney
Omar Abdelghany is a highly experienced criminal defense lawyer who can help you fight federal charges in the Middle District of Florida. Omar understands the gravity of federal criminal charges and has an unwavering commitment to defending his client’s legal rights. As a convicted felon, you may feel like your case is a lost cause; however, this isn’t true. In the United States, you are innocent until proven guilty, and OA Law Firm is dedicated to securing our clients the best possible legal outcome.
Fighting a felon in possession of a firearm charge requires experienced and aggressive legal counsel. In his role as a trial attorney at the Palm Beach Public Defender’s office, Omar Abdelghany gained an in-depth knowledge of the criminal justice system. He now leverages this invaluable experience to provide clients with an unparalleled criminal defense.
Speak to a Tampa criminal defense attorney now by contacting us online, or calling (813) 461-5291.