For those Florida residents who are arrested on gun charges, contacting a Jacksonville criminal defense attorney immediately is a necessity. The penalties for unlawful possession are very harsh and if someone is injured or killed, the penalty could be as great as life in prison.
While Florida laws are written to protect our Second Amendment rights to own a firearm, there are restrictions on both how you carry that weapon and how you may use that weapon. Gun owners have to keep in mind there are restrictions that apply to openly carrying a firearm as well as concealment of a firearm. Some of these restrictions include:
- Gun owners may carry weapons on their person at home or in their place of business.
- Members of certain hunting and shooting clubs may be allowed to carry their weapon in a concealed manner going to or coming from these activities.
- You may have a concealed or openly carried weapon if you are a member of law enforcement or the military or if you are an armed security guard while on duty.
- You may carry a concealed firearm if you have a valid concealed weapons permit.
Those who openly carry or conceal a weapon on their person who does not fit into these narrow categories could be facing a felony gun charge and will need the assistance of a criminal defense lawyer in Jacksonville to help them fight the charges.
What types of defenses are possible?
As a criminal lawyer in Jacksonville, I look at a variety of issues including the circumstances of the arrest. Keep in mind, while prosecutors will pursue charges aggressively, oftentimes the evidence available does not support their position. Some of the possible defenses include:
- Not having possession – if you are arrested and do not have the gun physically on your person it may be relatively easy to fight a possessions charge. Keep in mind, for a prosecutor to prove a possession charge you must have control of the weapon. In Florida, this is called “constructive possession”.
- Probable cause – you cannot be stopped and searched simply because an officer believes you may have a weapon on your person. Even if you have a concealed weapon, there has to be a valid reason for the stop other than the law enforcement officer’s belief you are in possession of a weapon.
The laws in Florida regarding when you can and cannot carry your gun on your person can be confusing. You should not have to face jail time when you are carrying lawfully. If you have been stopped for any gun crimes in the Jacksonville area, contact James Davis at (904) 358-0420 to help you with your defense.