Possession by a Felon
While Section 8 of Article I to the Constitution of the State of Florida and the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution both guarantee a person's right to keep and bear arms, it is not without its restrictions. The federal government and the individual states have the right to regulate firearms and under what circumstances an individual may possess one. For example, a person who has been convicted of a felony can lose his or her right to possess a firearm.
In fact, simple possession of a firearm or other weapon by a convicted felon is a criminal offense in Florida. The conviction of which, can carry very serious penalties, even if the gun or weapon was not displayed or discharged. Repeat offenses or other aggravating factors can also trigger enhanced penalties that lead to longer prison sentences and larger fines.Lawyer for Possession by a Felon Arrests in Broward County, FL
If you are a convicted felon who was arrested for being in possession of a firearm or other weapon in South Florida, it is in your best interest to retain legal counsel as soon as possible. The Hoffman Firm aggressively defends clients accused of firearm and weapon crimes in Hollywood, Cooper City, Miramar, Coral Springs, Pompano Beach, and several other surrounding areas of Broward County.
Evan A. Hoffman is an experienced criminal defense attorney in Fort Lauderdale who will diligently work to help you achieve the most desirable outcome to your case that results in the fewest possible consequences.
Call (954) 524-4474 today to have our lawyer review your case and answer all of your legal questions during a free initial consultation.
Fort Lauderdale Possession by a Felon Information Center
- Which people can be charged with possession by a felon?
- What are the consequences of convictions for this crime?
- Where can I learn more about possession by a felon in Broward County?
Florida Possession by a Felon Charges
Under Florida Statute § 790.23, it is illegal for any person to own or have in his or her care, custody, possession, or control any firearm, ammunition, or electric weapon or device, or to carry a concealed weapon, including a tear gas gun or chemical weapon or device, if he or she has been:
- Convicted of a felony in the courts of Florida;
- Found to have committed a delinquent act in another state, territory, or country that would be a felony if committed by an adult and which was punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year and such person is under 24 years of age;
- Convicted of or found to have committed a crime against the United States that is designated as a felony;
- Found in courts of Florida to have committed a delinquent act that would be a felony if committed by an adult and such person is under 24 years of age; or
- Found guilty of an offense that is a felony in another state, territory, or country and which was punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year.
When a person is accused of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, ammunition, or other prohibited weapon, the type of possession involved can be very important. Not only do certain types of possession allow for different defenses against the criminal charges, but the kind of possession can also have an impact on a person's prison sentence if he or she is convicted.
Actual possession involves an alleged offender having any firearm, ammunition, or prohibited weapon in his or her hands, in a container in his or her hands, or close enough to be within ready reach and under his or her control. A conviction for actual possession by a convicted felon will result in a mandatory minimum prison sentence of three years.
The two other types of possession in these cases are constructive possession—in which a firearm, ammunition, or prohibited weapon is found in a place over which the alleged offender had had dominion and control—and joint possession—in which a firearm, ammunition, or prohibited weapon was under the control of two or more people. Mandatory minimum sentencing does not apply in these cases.
Possession by a Felon Penalties in Broward County
Florida Statute § 790.23(3) states that violations of this statute are second-degree felony offenses. Convictions are punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Under Florida Statute § 790.23(4), however, an alleged offender commits a first-degree felony punishable by to up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 if he or she has previously qualified or currently qualifies for the penalty enhancements provided for in Florida Statute § 874.04.
Under Florida Statute § 874.04, criminal offenses committed to benefit, promoting, or furthering the interests of a criminal gang are increased one level. Repeat possession by a felon offenses are also subject to several kinds of enhancements if they are classified as any of the following:
- Prison Releasee Reoffender, Florida Statute § 775.082 — Alleged offenders face the same penalties listed above but also become ineligible for early release.
- Habitual Felony Offender, Florida Statute § 775.084(a) — Second-degree felony offenses become punishable by to up to 30 years in prison, and first-degree felony offenses become punishable by up to life in prison.
- Habitual Violent Felony Offender, Florida Statute § 775.084(b) — Second-degree felony offenses become punishable by to up to 30 years in prison with no eligibility for early release for ten years, and first-degree felony offenses become punishable by up to life in prison with no eligibility for early release for 15 years.
- Three-Time Violent Felony Offender, Florida Statute § 775.084(c) — Second-degree felony offenses become punishable by a mandatory minimum of 15 years in prison, and first-degree felony offenses become punishable a mandatory minimum of 30 years in prison.
- Violent Career Criminal, Florida Statute § 775.084(d) — Second-degree felony offenses become punishable by a mandatory minimum of 30 years up to 40 years in prison, and first-degree felony offenses become punishable by up to life in prison.
Possession by a Felon Resources in Florida
Restoration of Civil Rights (RCR) | Clemency | Florida Commission on Offender Review — Convicted felons can apply for Executive Clemency to have their firearm rights restored when eight or more years have elapsed since their sentences or probation ended and all court ordered restitution and costs paid. Use this website to search for rights already restored, print certificates, and download an application and instructions for Restoration of Civil Rights or Firearm Authority. "Rules of Executive Clemency" contains additional information about eligibility criteria for each form of clemency.
Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) | Seal and Expunge Home — Another way for a convicted felon to have his or her firearm rights restored is to get his or her criminal record expunged. Visit this section of the FDLE website to learn more about expungement processes in Florida. You can also find answers to frequently asked questions.
Were you arrested in Broward County for being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm or other prohibited weapon? You will want to contact The Hoffman Firm immediately.
Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyer Evan A. Hoffman represents individuals in communities throughout South Florida, including Hallandale Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Margate, Dania Beach, Lauderhill, and many others.
You can have our attorney provide a complete evaluation of your case when you call (954) 524-4474 or fill out an online contact form to schedule a free, confidential consultation.