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Criminal Defense: Firearm Offenses


Federal gun violations are prosecuted in the federal district courts in the United States by the U.S. Attorney's Office. Investigations into federal firearm charges are usually investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms ("ATF"). Gun laws vary between states and the most common charges prosecuted in the State of Florida are carrying a concealed firearm, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and improper exhibition of a firearm.

The most popular charges filed in federal court are possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of firearm associated with a drug trafficking or felony drug charge, interstate transportation of firearms, possession of non-registered automatic firearms or machine guns and possession of restricted ammunition. Federal law also requires that gun dealers that are in the business of buying and selling firearms must possess a license issued by the FTA. The Miami firearm offense attorneys at Donet, McMillan, & Trontz, P.A. (DMT) have defended clients in state and federal court on various firearm and weapons offenses. Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon To prove the offense of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, the prosecution must prove that the defendant has a prior felony conviction in Florida or any other state and that the defendant knowingly owned, or had in his care, custody, possession or control a firearm, electronic weapon or device or ammunition. A conviction is required to prosecute the charge and a withhold is not legally sufficient to proceed with the case.

Care and custody is defined as the immediate charge and control exercised by a person. Possession is defined as the personal charge or exercising the right of ownership, management or control over an object. There are two different types of possession, actual or constructive.Actual possession exists when an object is in a person's hand, in a container in the hand, or so close to be within ready reach of the person. Constructive possession is defined as when an object is in a place which the person does not have control, but has knowledge of the presence of the object and also has control over the object. Mere proximity to an object is not sufficient to establish control or possession when the object is not in a place under the control of the person.

Possession of a firearm by a convicted felon is a second degree felony punishable up to 15 years in prison. If a felon has actual possession of a firearm, a 3 year minimum mandatory sentence applies. Carrying Concealed Weapons To prove the offense of carrying a concealed weapon, the prosecutor must prove that a person knowingly carried a firearm, electronic weapon or device or weapon which was concealed from the ordinary sight of another person.

The definition of firearm for the offense of carrying a concealed firearm is a weapon which is designed to or can be readily converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive. The definition of firearm does not include antique firearms unless it is used in the commission of a crime. Weapons include dirks, knives, metallic knuckles, or slingshots, but does not include pocket knives, plastic knives, or blunt bladed table knives.

Carrying a concealed firearm is a third degree felony punishable of to 5 years in prison, while carrying a concealed weapon is a first degree felony punishable up to 364 days in jail. To be convicted of the charge, the firearm or weapon must be "readily accessible". If the weapon is in a closed glove box, center console or carrying the case, the charge will not stand up in court.
Improper Exhibition of a Weapon or Firearm To prove the offense of improper exhibition of a firearm or weapon, the prosecution must have sufficient evidence that a person had or carried a weapon or firearm; exhibited the firearm or weapon in a rude, careless, angry or threatening manner; and the offense was committed in the presence of one or more persons. The offense is first degree misdemeanor punishable up to 364 days in the county jail. Speak with a South Florida Criminal Attorney Today If you are under investigation for, or have been arrested and charged with any firearm offense, contact the Miami criminal lawyers at Donet, McMillan, & Trontz, P.A.. An experienced criminal attorney is available every day of the year, 24 hours a day to speak with you regarding your situation. Allow us the opportunity to help protect your rights and defend your case. You can call our office at (305) 340-2197 or reach us by completing the form on our contact page or by sending an e-mail.