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Weapon Possession by a Felon

A person who was previously convicted of a felony offense loses certain rights in Florida. One of the basic rights that can often result in criminal charges in the Sunshine State is a person’s Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.

A convicted felon can be charged with illegal weapon possession even in cases where nobody was hurt and the firearm was never fired. It is important to understand that these types of offenses typically rely on how the term possession is being defined, as law enforcement will occasionally arrest a person who was unaware he or she had supposed access to a firearm.

DeFuniak Springs Weapon Offense Lawyer

If you have been charged with being a convicted felon who was in possession of a firearm or other weapon, you will want to have skilled legal representation. The Adkinson Law Firm, LLC represents clients in Bay County, Escambia County, Holmes County, Okaloosa County, Santa Rosa County, Walton County, and Washington County.

Clay B. Adkinson and Clayton J. M. Adkinson have more than three decades of experience defending clients against these types of criminal charges. You can call (850) 892-5195 to our criminal defense attorneys review your case during a free, confidential consultation.


Overview of Weapon Possession by a Felon in Florida


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Florida Charges for Weapon Possession by a Felon

Florida Statute § 790.23 makes it unlawful 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;
  • Convicted of or found to have committed a crime against the United States that is designated as a felony;
  • 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;
  • 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 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.

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Types of Weapon Possession in Destin

A key aspect of any weapon or firearm possession by a felon charge is the type of possession that the prosecutor is alleging. This distinction can have an important effect not only on a person’s possible defenses, but also his or her sentencing if he or she is convicted of this offense:

  • Actual possession — The weapon or firearm is either in the hand of the alleged offender, in a container in the hands of the alleged offender, or so close as to be within ready reach and under the control of the person. If the prosecutor can prove this type of possession, then a conviction can result in a three-year minimum mandatory prison sentence.
  • Constructive possession — The firearm or weapon is in a place over which the alleged offender had control or in which he or she concealed it.
  • Joint Possession — Two or more people exercised control over a weapon or firearm, with each of those persons considered to be in possession. A minimum mandatory prison sentence does not apply in these cases.

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South Walton Weapon Possession by a Felon Penalties

A conviction for this offense can result in very serious punishments for an alleged offender. The length of a possible prison sentence depends on the circumstances surrounding the alleged offense:

  • Second-Degree Felony — Most violations of Florida Statute § 790.23 can result in up to 15 years in prison and/or up to $10,000 in fines.
  • First-Degree Felony — Under Florida Statute § 874.04, if an alleged offender violated Florida Statute § 790.23 for the purpose of benefiting, promoting, or furthering the interests of a criminal gang, then he or she may be sentenced to up to 30 years in prison and/or $10,000 in fines.

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Florida Penalty Enhancements for Weapon Possession by a Felon

There are several different penalty enhancements for repeat offenders in Florida that can dramatically impact the sentences you face for possession of weapon by a felon charges. These may include extended or mandatory minimum sentenced under the following statutes:

  • 10-20-Life Law, Florida Statute § 775.087 — Under this statute, an alleged offender who possesses or pulls a firearm or weapon during the commission of a felony offense can receive a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 10 years. If the alleged offender discharges a weapon or firearm during the commission of a felony, he or she can receive a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 20 years. If the discharge of a firearm or weapon results in death or great bodily harm upon any person, then the alleged offender will receive a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years up to a maximum sentence of life in prison.
  • Habitual Felony Offender, Florida Statute § 775.084(a) — If an alleged offender was previously convicted of any combination of two or more felonies in Florida and his or her current felony charge was committed while he or she was serving a sentence or within five years of the date of the conviction of his or her last felony or release from a prison sentence, probation, or other court supervision program, then a second-degree felony conviction can result in a maximum prison sentence of 30 years and a first-degree felony conviction may result in a life sentence.
  • Habitual Violent Felony Offender, Florida Statute § 775.084(b) — If an alleged offender was previously convicted of a felony or attempt to commit a felony and one or more of the convictions was for a qualified offense (including, but not limited to arson, kidnapping, manslaughter, murder, robbery, or sexual battery) and his or her current felony charge was committed while he or she was serving a sentence or within five years of the date of the conviction of his or her last felony or release from a prison sentence, probation, or other court supervision program, then a second-degree felony conviction can result in a maximum prison sentence of 30 years and the alleged offender is not eligible for release for 10 years. A first-degree felony conviction can result in a life sentence and the alleged offender is not eligible for release for 15 years.
  • Three-Time Violent Felony Offender, Florida Statute § 775.084(c) — Also known as Florida’s “Three Strikes Law,” if an alleged offender was previously convicted two or more times of a qualified violent felony or an attempt to commit a violent felony, and his or her current felony charge was committed while he or she was serving a sentence or within five years of the date of the conviction of his or her last felony or release from a prison sentence, probation, or other court supervision program, then a second-degree felony conviction can result in a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 15 years, and a first-degree felony conviction can result in a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 30 years.
  • Violent Career Criminal, Florida Statute § 775.084(d) — If an alleged offender was previously convicted three or more times of qualified offenses, has been previous incarcerated in state or federal prison, and his or her current felony charge was committed while he or she was serving a sentence or within five years of the date of the conviction of his or her last felony or release from a prison sentence, probation, or other court supervision program, then a second-degree felony conviction can result in a maximum prison sentence of 40 years with a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 years. A first-degree felony conviction can result in a life sentence in prison.
  • Prison Releasee Reoffender, Florida Statute § 775.082 — If an alleged offender attempted to commit a qualified offense while serving a prison sentence, while on escape status, or within three years of release from prison, then a second-degree felony conviction can result in a prison sentence of 15 years, a first-degree felony conviction can result in a prison sentence of 30 years, and the alleged offender is ineligible for early release in either case.

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Defenses to Weapon Possession by a Felon in Destin

While these types of cases can be incredibly frightening and seemingly insurmountable, you should know that several defenses may apply to your case and result in your charges being significantly reduced or completely dismissed. Some of the possible defenses may include, but are not limited to:

  • Illegal search and seizure or other constitutional rights violations or procedural errors;
  • Lack of evidence you possessed weapon or firearm;
  • You are not a convicted felon;
  • You had your Civil Rights and Firearm Authority restored through Florida Commission on Offender Review; or
  • You possessed a firearm or weapon only for justified self-defense purposes.

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Find a Lawyer in DeFuniak Springs for Weapon Possession by a Felon Charges

Do not assume that you will have to plead guilty and hope for the mercy of the court if you are facing criminal charges of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm or weapon. Clayton J.M. Adkinson has more than 20 years of experience as a former assistant state attorney and Clay B. Adkinson defends clients in state courts throughout Florida as well as such federal courts as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit and the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida.

The DeFuniak Springs criminal defense attorneys at the Adkinson Law Firm, LLC help residents of such communities as Crestview, DeFuniak Springs, Destin, Fort Walton Beach, Milton, Navarre, Panama City, Pensacola, and South Walton as well as many other surrounding areas. You can have our criminal defense attorneys provide a thorough and honest evaluation of your case when you call (850) 892-5195 or submit an online form to schedule a free legal consultation.