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Articles Posted in Weapon Offenses

Your Second Amendment rights provides each individual the right to bear arms to provide for the common self-defense. The question is, are there limitations? The Supreme Court, while granting the right to bear arms to individuals, still provides restrictions so the United States does not turn into the Wild West. Florida follows the Supreme Court’s ruling allowing individuals to bear arms and places restrictions on its citizens to ensure the safety of its citizens. In order to carry a firearm on your person, it is required to have a concealed carry permit. However, concealed carry permits are not necessary for every situation.

Florida has certain requirements to obtain a concealed carry license. Those requirements include:

  • Being at least 21 years old (unless in the armed forces).

School shootings have been increasing in the last several years, which means greater safety measures and stricter guidelines have been put into play. Bringing a weapon to a school, whether it be an elementary school all the way to high school, is not just a cause for suspension or expulsion, but can incur criminal charges as well. The Florida School Board of Education defines a weapon possession as acquiring a firearm or object that has the capabilities to cause serious harm or put another person in reasonable fear of injury. Those objects may include swords, knives, pocketknives, guns, pepper spray, etc. Florida schools have a zero-tolerance policy; if a student brings any of those objects or a firearm to school grounds, school facilities off site, at a school bus stop, on a school bus, or within 1000 feet of the school, that student will be expelled for one (1) year and submitted for criminal charge.

If the incident involves a firearm, the charge will be, under Florida Statute 790.115 (4): “any minor under 18 years of age who is charged under this section with possessing or discharging a firearm on school property shall be detained in secure detention, unless the state attorney authorizes the release of the minor and shall be given a probable cause hearing within 24 hours after being taken into custody. At the hearing, the court may order that the minor continue to be held in secure detention for a period of 21 days, during which time the minor shall receive medical, psychiatric, psychological, or substance abuse examinations pursuant to s. 985.18, and a written report shall be completed.” As you can see, these penalties are invoked quickly following the arrest. It is possible to limit these penalties at the initial hearing before the Judge.

Florida law states that minors under the age of 18 are not allowed to possess a firearm, unless they meet the few exceptions of transporting the firearm to a lawful competition or hunting activities. If a minor is found to have a firearm and not within the certain exceptions, the minor can be charged with a 1st degree misdemeanor. A conviction can range from a three-day detention sentence and 100 hours of community service for a first offense, to a maximum one year in jail and $1,000.00 fine. Those charges have harsher criminal convictions if that possession is on school grounds.

The short answer is yes if the criminal conduct you were involved in violated both state law and federal law then you can face criminal charges in both state court and federal court. Local or statewide law enforcement agencies including local sheriff’s departments, city police departments, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement conduct criminal investigations involving potential criminal activity that violates Florida Law. The U.S. government also has federal laws that criminalize certain conduct; those crimes are investigated by federal law enforcement agencies including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), or Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF). State crimes are prosecuted by the state attorney’s office and federal crimes are prosecuted by U.S. District Attorneys. It is possible to be investigated by multiple law enforcement agencies at both the state and federal level for the same criminal conduct, and to subsequently be prosecuted in both state and federal court. Continue reading

Bringing a weapon to the airport unintentionally can happen. Often people are in a rush and forget to remove a weapon they usually carry with them from their bag. Others bring a weapon to the airport under the belief that they are legally allowed to do so. Unfortunately, this can lead to unintended legal consequences, whether you have a license to carry the concealed weapon or not.

Under Florida law, even individuals with a Florida concealed weapons permit are not authorized to carry a concealed weapon or firearm the inside of the passenger terminal and sterile area of any airport. Under TSA guidelines, a person may carry a legal firearm that is encased in a locked container, unloaded, and declared to TSA, to be transported in a checked bag. Any individual with a concealed weapons permit who violates this law can be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to sixty days in jail and fines. While an individual could be taken into custody by law enforcement for this offense, officers have the discretion to possibly issue a notice to appear in court and then let the individual continue with catching their flight.  Other places that individuals with concealed weapons permits are not allowed to carry firearms include police stations, courthouses, jails, polling places, schools, colleges, and universities. Continue reading

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