It is very common for people to have strong feelings about firearms, especially in Florida. Even though the Second Amendment guarantees the right to own firearms, Florida, like many other states, has very explicit regulations around this ownership. Unfortunately, many people do not fully understand these laws, and therefore find themselves on the wrong side of a weapons violation notice. These violations can carry some serious penalties, including jail time, fines, loss of the weapon, and possible restrictions on the ability to own weapons in the future.
Additionally, while most people associate weapons violations purely with guns, they can come into play with any type of weapon, or anything utilized as a weapon. For example, if someone were to suddenly grab a kitchen knife in a heated argument, they could technically receive a weapon charge. This could occur even if the offender merely brandished the knife for a moment. To further complicate things, there exist two types of weapons crimes in Florida: weapon offenses, and weapon enhancements. At Tom Culbreth Bail Bonds, we always strive to keep our clientele informed. We also post bail for charges related to weapons in Cocoa and Palm Bay, FL. To learn more or get our help, call 321-638-2245.
Weapons Violation Arrests
A weapon violation represents a crime in which someone unlawfully purchased, brandished, or possessed a gun or other weapon. An enhancement involves another underlying charge, such as aggravated assault, that involved the use of a weapon. Weapon enhancements often have harsh mandatory sentences. While a lack of understanding leads to many weapon arrests, the inability to control emotions in a heated moment also can hurt someone. The simple exhibition of a weapon can result in a first-class misdemeanor with 12 months in jail and a $1,000 fine. Before you learn the nature of specific charges, however, you must understand what the state of Florida considers a weapon in the first place.
Definition of a Weapon: Florida law defines a weapon as any dirk (blade), firearm, metallic knuckles, billie club, slingshot, chemical weapon, tear gas, or “other deadly weapon”. This last phrase is left intentionally vague, as it gives prosecutors the leeway to interpret objects not typically considered weapons as such in certain scenarios. For example, if a person were to brandish a frying pan in a threatening manner, it could qualify as a deadly weapon.
Weapons Violation Sentence and Charges
Whether the weapon employed was a knife, gun, or tear gas, the weapons charges remain the same. Florida defines a huge number of various types of weapon charges. However, six of them account for the vast majority of charges. These are:
- Carrying a Concealed Weapon
- Unlicensed Carrying of a Concealed Firearm
- Possessing or Discharging a Weapon at a School-Sponsored Event
- Improper Exhibition of a Dangerous Weapon or Firearm
- Allowing a Minor Under the Age of 16 to Access a Loaded Firearm
- Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon
Carrying a Concealed Weapon: This makes it a crime to carry any kind of concealed weapon that’s not a firearm. However, you can legally carried a concealed weapon with the appropriate permit. You can also carry non-lethal defense weapons, such as pepper spray or a stun gun, along with pocket knives and table knives with a blunt blade, as they do not count as a weapon. This crime counts as a first-degree misdemeanor, and can result in one year of jail or probation, and a $1,000 fine.
Unlicensed Carrying of a Concealed Firearm: This charge is similar to the previous, but much more serious because of the involvement of a firearm. If you do not have a license to carry a concealed firearm, yet do so anyway, you could receive up to five years in prison, five years on probation, and a fine that could reach $5,000. Exceptions to this law occur when a person travels to or from an outdoor event like camping, fishing, or hunting, the movement of a firearm through a private residence, or when traveling to or from a gun show.
Possessing or Discharging a Weapon at a School-Sponsored Event: This describes the possession or exhibition of a weapon in a rude, threatening, or careless manner, on the grounds of a school or at a school-sponsored occasion. This represents a third-degree felony, with the same range of punishment as the preceding charge.
Improper Exhibition of a Dangerous Weapon or Firearm: This covers the same activity as the preceding charge, if performed in a public space not affiliated with a school. This is a first-degree misdemeanor, with a punishment that ranges from one year in jail, to one year on probation, along with a $1,000 fine.
Allowing a Minor Under the Age of 16 to Access a Loaded Firearm: If you allow someone younger than the age of 16 to handle a loaded gun, then you could receive a second-degree misdemeanor, serve 60 days in jail, and receive a fine of up to $500.
Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon: The most serious of these types of weapons charges, firearm possession by a convicted felon carries a sentence of up to 15 years in jail, 15 years probation, and a $10,000 fine. In the state of Florida, felons may not own guns under any circumstances.
Weapons Probation Violation
If you violate your weapons probation, you could expect any number of consequences. Violations can occur in many different ways, for both related and unrelated offenses. A probation officer assigned to your case will have carefully outlined all the requirements for your successful completion of probation. When the officer determines that a violation occurred, he or she will communicate this to the judge of your case. The judge will then decide the appropriate punishment. In the case of especially egregious or repeated violations, the judge could decide to revoke probation entirely, and send you to jail for the extent of your original sentence.
Weapon Violation FAQ
Is Possession of a Deadly Weapon a Felony?
Only in certain circumstances, and only when the weapon is a gun. Possession of a firearm by a felon counts as a second-degree felony, while possession of a gun at a school or school event counts as a third-degree felony. If the gun is concealed on your person, then possession could result in a third-degree felony.
What Is a Weapon Violation? What Is a Weapon Charge?
A weapon violation occurs when someone acts at odds with a statute intended to govern the possession and ownership of weapons. A weapon charge occurs when someone is formally indicted for a weapon violation.
What Does Criminal Possession Mean?
There exist many laws to govern the ownership of guns and other weapons. Criminal possession occurs when someone carries or transports a weapon in a manner contrary to a specific law.
Is a Knife Considered a Weapon?
Yes, a knife is considered a weapon when employed in a violent or threatening manner. As for possession or concealment charges, these only apply to knives with blades longer than 4 inches, or those types of knives considered daggers or dirks.