Written and edited by our team of expert legal content writers and reviewed and approved by Attorney Mark O’Mara
Content last updated on: April 21, 2023
We Can Help With Any Weapon Charge
The O’Mara Law Group’s team of experienced attorneys can represent Orlando and Lakeland clients facing charges for weapons violations of any kind.
Defenses to Weapon Charges in Florida
If you are facing weapon charges, an experienced Orlando defense attorney can identify the best defense for your case. In some cases, a lawyer may identify grounds that can result in dismissal, while other cases can be reduced to misdemeanors.
Possible defense strategies include the following:
What should I do if I am facing a weapons charge in Orlando?
Weapons charges can carry lengthy prison sentences. It is important to avoid incriminating yourself. Contact a lawyer as soon as possible. Do not answer questions by law enforcement until your attorney is present.
Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon
Florida §790.23 makes it a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison, for any of the following Orlando individuals to own firearms:
This applies to firearms, ammunition, and electric weapons devices. For those who meet the Florida criteria for a violent career criminal, Florida §790.235 designates ownership of firearms, ammunition, or electronic devices a first-degree felony punishable by up to 30 years with a 15-year mandatory minimum and no discretionary early release except in special circumstances.
Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Felony
Florida §790.07 prohibits an individual from displaying, using, threatening to use, attempting to use a firearm, or carrying a concealed firearm in the following circumstances:
Anyone who violates either of these provisions and also has a prior conviction is guilty of a first-degree felony, which is punishable by up to 30 years of imprisonment. The law also does not permit anyone who violates this statute to receive a deferred or suspended sentence.
Improper Exhibition of a Weapon Charge
Anyone who brandishes a weapon by holding it in a menacing or careless manner that is not self-defense is guilty of a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail.
Unlicensed Carrying of Concealed Weapons or Firearms
It is a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail to carry concealed weapons without a license and a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison to carry a firearm without a license.
Open Carrying of Weapons
Openly carrying weapons, including firearms, is a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 60 days in jail. The only weapons that may be openly carried are the following:
Furnishing Weapons to Minors or Persons of Unsound Mind
It is a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail to furnish a minor with a weapon other than an ordinary pocketknife.
It is a third-degree felony to knowingly sell or transfer a firearm to a minor without the parent or guardian’s permission, in which case the parent or guardian must maintain possession of the firearm. A violation of this statute is a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison.
Possession While Subject to a Restraining Order
It is a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail to possess or be in control of a firearm while under the control of a restraining order due to domestic violence, stalking, or cyberstalking.
Destructive Device Charges
Creating, possessing, delivering, or discharging a destructive device such as a bomb is a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years of imprisonment. If the intent behind these acts is to do bodily harm, property damage, or disrupt the government, the charge can be elevated to a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years of imprisonment.
It is also a second-degree felony to threaten to deliver or discharge a destructive device with the intent to do bodily harm or property damage.
Illegally Discharging a Firearm
Discharging firearms in public areas can result in the following criminal charges:
Use of Firearms While Under the Influence
It is a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 60 days in jail for a person impaired by drugs or alcohol to discharge a weapon or possess a loaded weapon.
Use of a Defensive Weapon Against a Police Officer
The use of chemical sprays or other nonlethal defensive weapons against a law enforcement officer in the lawful performance of his or her duties is a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years of imprisonment.
Florida Gun Laws
The State of Florida carries stiff penalties for violating gun laws. Knowing Florida’s most important gun laws will ensure you avoid criminal charges related to gun ownership and use.
Florida is not an open-carry state, according to Florida §790.053. This means that most Orlando citizens cannot carry a firearm in open sight of another person. This law also applies to electronic devices, such as tasers. Under this law:
Florida §790.06 allows concealed carrying of firearms only when the individual is licensed through the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. You must carry your license with you when you are carrying your firearm or weapon. The concealed carry laws apply to the following:
Qualified licensees must meet the following criteria:
A concealed carry license is valid for seven years. According to the Florida Constitution, concealed carry holders are not required to undergo a three-day waiting period when purchasing a handgun, as other individuals are.
A concealed carry license does not authorize any individual to carry weapons or firearms into the following locations:
Use of Deadly Force
Florida is a stand-your-ground state that allows the use of deadly force with no duty to retreat if you believe a perpetrator presents an imminent threat of death, severe bodily harm, or a forcible felony against yourself or another person. You will be presumed to have held a reasonable fear for your life if you had a reasonable belief that an unlawful, forcible entry into your home, vehicle, or dwelling is occurring or has occurred.
The stand-your-ground law authorizes nondeadly force for the protection of yourself when under the threat of unlawful but nondeadly force and in the protection of property. Deadly force is not permitted in these circumstances.
Lawful Gun Ownership in Florida
Florida §790.25 allows a select group of people to own firearms in their homes for the lawful defense of their life, home, and property and to engage in marksmanship and target practice exercises.
Allowed (not an exhaustive list):
In addition, Florida §0790.251 authorizes individuals to carry firearms lawfully in their motor vehicles for self-defense.
The following Orlando residents are not eligible to purchase or own firearms:
Safe Storage Law
Florida §790.174 requires that Orlando gun owners must store handguns securely so they are inaccessible to minors who reside on the same property. If a minor living on the property accesses a firearm that was not secured, the owner is guilty of a second-degree misdemeanor.
Why Choose O’Mara Law Group to Fight Your Weapons Charge?
O’Mara Law Group has been protecting the rights of the accused for over 35 years under the leadership of the founder, Mark O’Mara. Mr. O’Mara is board-certified in criminal law and proudly serves as a legal analyst for CNN. He passionately supports criminal justice reform and handles each case with personalized, compassionate care. Learn more about criminal defense issues like how to seal your criminal record and Florida bail bonds.
If you face a weapons charge in the Orlando or Lakeland area, the most important method of protecting your case is to bring on a competent, experienced attorney. Contact us today to talk to a weapons defense attorney.
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