Most gun owners are responsible, law-abiding people who comply with the rules and know how to possess and handle guns safely. However, laws and regulations regarding the ownership, possession, and use of firearms can be complex. Sometimes even the best-intentioned gun owner may misunderstand a nuance of the law or forget to fill out the right paperwork. When that happens, you may find yourself charged with a criminal firearms offense.

If you’ve been charged with a firearms crime, you’re likely feeling a significant amount of stress and uncertainty about what’s going to happen to you — especially if your charge is based on a simple mistake or if you’re innocent of any wrongdoing at all. In order to avoid or minimize the consequences of a conviction, you need the help of an experienced weapons crime defense lawyer.

Florida Firearms Charges

Florida statutes include a lengthy list of potential criminal charges related to weapons and firearms. Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Defense Lawyer, P.A. can handle any type of weapons charge that you face, including:

Carrying a Concealed Weapon

It’s legal in Florida to carry a concealed weapon with an appropriate license. However, if you’re suspected of carrying a concealed weapon without a license, you can be charged with a serious misdemeanor crime. If the weapon is a firearm, you can be charged with a felony. The potential penalty includes a prison sentence and significant fines.

Discharging a Firearm

It’s a serious misdemeanor offense to fire a weapon in a public place, on a street, or over a residence. It’s a felony when you’re suspected of firing a weapon from a vehicle within 1,000 feet of a person. A conviction can result in a jail or prison sentence and fines.

Illegal Possession of a Firearm

Certain people are prohibited from possessing firearms in Florida, including convicted felons, people who are the subject of an anti-harassment order, people convicted of domestic violence, drug addicts, people judged mentally incompetent, unlawful immigrants, and people dishonorably discharged from the military. If you fall into one of these categories and are suspected of possessing a firearm, you can be charged with a crime. An illegal possession of a firearm offense can be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances.

Penalties for Weapons Crimes in Florida

Depending on the nature of the offense, a firearms charge in Florida can be a misdemeanor or a felony. However, a conviction for any type of firearms charge can have lifelong effects. Some of the potential consequences of a conviction can include:

  • A jail or prison sentence
  • Expensive fines and court fees
  • House arrest
  • Probation
  • A permanent criminal record that can affect your ability to find or hold a job
  • Loss of your right to own or possess a gun
  • Loss or denial of a professional license to work in your chosen career, such as nursing, medicine, pharmacy, or law
  • Loss or denial of your immigration visa or green card, denial of your citizenship application, or deportation if you’re a non-citizen

Defenses Against Firearm and Weapons Crimes

Defending firearms and weapons charges requires a detailed understanding of Florida gun laws and the local criminal courts. Erika Valcarcel’s significant experience as both a prosecutor and defense lawyer in Sarasota and Manatee counties mean she knows how local prosecutors and judges treat these cases and which firearms and weapons defenses are likely to work for you.

Some common defense strategies that might be used in a Florida firearms case include:

  • You had a proper concealed weapon permit
  • Your right to possess a firearm had been restored following a conviction
  • You were defending your home or exercising your “Stand Your Ground” rights under Florida law

Every case is different and involves its own unique set of facts and circumstances, which also means that your defense strategy must be unique and individualized. No matter your charge, Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Defense Lawyer, P.A. will fight to get your case dismissed or your penalties reduced and to protect your rights as a gun owner.

"Valcarcel is the best you will find."

Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Defense Lawyer, P.A. is the best you will find. Erika Valcarcel is completely honest and straightforward. She took a huge burden off my shoulders many times during difficult periods of my life knowing that she was doing everything that that could and should be done. Her knowledge is extensive and her advice has always been right on the mark. She is worth every penny of the fee she charges. You cannot go wrong securing her services.

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Contact a Sarasota Weapons Lawyer

When you’re charged with a crime such as a weapons or firearms offense, it’s not a foregone conclusion that you’ll be convicted. With the help of an experienced Sarasota weapons lawyer such as Erika Valcarcel, you may be able to convince a jury to find you not guilty, or have your charge dismissed or reduced.

Contact Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Defense Lawyer, P.A. at (941) 363-7900 for a free consultation about your Florida firearms charge today.