Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon

As leading criminal defense attorneys in Florida, we understand the magnitude of a felony conviction, including the many legal penalties and loss of rights. If you were charged with possessing a firearm as a felon, we can help. Contact us online to learn more. 

When you’re convicted of committing a felony in Florida, you face a range of immediate legal penalties. However, the consequences don’t end there. After you’ve served your prison sentence, paid your fines, completed probation, and endured any other court-mandated punishments, you’re still left with perhaps the most upsetting consequence: the loss of your rights. 

In the State of Florida, convicted felons are prohibited from voting, serving on a jury, and possessing a firearm. For many convicted felons in Florida, this last ramification is the most upsetting loss, which is why some people choose to ignore it. However, doing so can result in serious legal consequences, and even land them back in prison. 

If you’ve been charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, you need to do everything you can to avoid conviction. Fortunately, you’re not alone: The gun possession defense lawyers at Sergio Cruz Criminal Defense are here to help. This article will explain everything you need to know about possession charges for convicted felons, possible penalties, legal defense strategies, and more.

How a Orlando Gun Possession Defense Attorney Can Help a Convicted Felon Charged with Possession of a Firearm

As skilled Orlando gun possession defense attorneys, we apply our years of experience, resources, and expertise to ensure the best possible outcome for your case. After a thorough review of the circumstances, we will gather evidence, explore various legal defense strategies, and present compelling arguments to have your firearms charges reduced or dismissed.

What to Do if You’ve Been Accused of Having a Firearm

If you have been charged with possession of a firearm as a convicted felon in Florida, you need to do everything you can to protect your legal rights. Building a strong case starts with the following steps:

  • Secure immediate legal representation.
  • Educate yourself on the nature of your weapons charges and the penalties for conviction.
  • Refrain from making any statements to law enforcement, friends, family members, or anyone else until you’ve spoken with an attorney.
  • Help your gun possession defense lawyer gather pertinent evidence.
  • Explore the best legal defense strategies for the circumstances of your case.
  • Comply with all legal procedures, including court appearances.
  • Consider your plea options.
  • Prepare for trial by helping your attorney prepare a robust case for your innocence.

Facing a charge of firearm possession as a convicted felon is no laughing matter. If convicted, you will be sent back to prison — potentially for a very long time. By securing experienced legal representation, understanding your criminal charges, and exploring all possible defenses, you stand the best chance of keeping your freedom. 

How Can I Fight Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon Charge?

There are several legal defenses that your attorney can help you explore to fight the charge. The best defense strategy for you depends largely on the details of your case, your prior convictions, and any aggravating circumstances. Our criminal defense lawyers may be able to make one of the following arguments on your behalf: 

  • Lack of evidence. The prosecution lacks sufficient evidence to prove that you possessed the firearm beyond a reasonable doubt or had constructive possession of it.
  • You did not possess a firearm. The weapon in question belongs to someone else, and you were mistakenly identified as the possessor.
  • Self-defense. You possessed the firearm out of necessity for self-defense, to protect yourself from an imminent threat of death or serious bodily harm.
  • Defense of others. You possessed the firearm to defend others who were in imminent danger of death or serious bodily harm.

Far from an exhaustive list, there are numerous other defense strategies and legal arguments we can use to demonstrate your innocence. Keep in mind, though, that the effectiveness of any legal defense depends partly on the proficiency of your legal representation, which is why you should choose the best.

What Are the Penalties for Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon in Florida?

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If you are convicted of possessing a firearm as a convicted felon, you will face a range of severe, life-altering legal penalties and additional consequences. Far from a slap on the wrist, this crime is considered a second-degree felony under Florida law, specifically Florida Statutes, Section 790.23, and is punishable by the following general penalties:

  • Up to 15 years in state prison
  • Up to 15 years of probation
  • Up to $10,000 in fines

These are just the base penalties associated with conviction. The full extent of your punishment will depend on aggravating factors, your criminal record, and whether you are convicted of actual or constructive possession.

Actual Possession

Actual possession means that the firearm was found on your physical person or within your immediate reach and control — or that you knew where it was and could readily access it. If convicted of actual possession, you could face up to 15 years in state prison and be ordered to pay up to $10,000 in fines. Florida’s 10-20-Life law might apply, imposing a minimum mandatory prison sentence of three years, and you may also face enhanced penalties.

Constructive Possession

Constructive possession means that the firearm was not found on your physical person, but it was found in a place you have control over or was hidden in a place that you knew about. If convicted of constructive possession, you may face up to 15 years and up to $10,000 in fines, but the mandatory minimum sentence may not apply if there weren’t aggravating factors.

Additional Consequences

Habitual felony offenders or those with prior convictions may face a range of enhanced sentences. If you were on parole or probation for another weapons offense or a different crime at the time of this charge, your parole or probation may be revoked, and you may be sent back to prison or face additional penalties. The best way to protect yourself is by working closely with a dedicated attorney.

Exceptions for Convicted Felons to Possess a Firearm

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Florida does offer a few legal avenues through which certain convicted felons can regain their gun possession rights. If you are a convicted felon and would like to legally possess a firearm, you may want to consider one of the following options:

  • Restoration of civil rights. Convicted felons can seek to have their civil rights restored, including their right to possess a firearm, through an official pardon or clemency process. If approved, they may be legally permitted to possess a firearm.
  • Expungement or sealing of conviction. Under certain conditions, a convicted felon may have their criminal record expunged or sealed, potentially restoring their firearm rights. However, not all convictions are eligible for expungement or sealing.
  • Federal relief from disabilities. Certain felons may apply for relief from federal firearms disabilities through the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).If the ATF grants the relief, the individual may regain their firearm rights.

Given the complexity and strict requirements of these processes, it is advisable for convicted felons seeking to restore their firearm rights partner with an experienced criminal defense attorney. Our legal professionals can provide guidance on eligibility, help prepare applications, and represent the individual in court or before clemency boards.

Sergio Cruz Criminal Defense: Top Orlando Criminal Defense Lawyers

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Possession of a firearm by a convicted felon is an extremely serious charge in Florida, the punishments for which can jeopardize your future and steal your freedom. Just remember: Being charged with committing this crime doesn’t mean you’re guilty of committing it. You deserve a robust, aggressive legal defense, which is exactly what our law firm will provide. Contact our law office today to start exploring your options.

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