In Florida, the crime of carrying a concealed weapon is taken very seriously. If you have been charged with this offense, you are likely worried about the consequences that could follow a conviction. This crime is filed as a felony, which means huge fines and time spent in prison, even for first-time offenders. Sarasota weapons lawyer Erika Valcarcel understands that people are often falsely accused of carrying a concealed weapon illegally. With experience as both a prosecutor and a defender, she can anticipate the prosecution’s strategy in order to craft a winning defense. She will work tirelessly to listen to your side of the story and present your case in the best possible light.
Florida Carrying a Concealed Weapon Laws
According to Section 790.01 of Florida Statutes, carrying a concealed weapon is defined as a person knowingly carrying a weapon that is concealed from the ordinary sight of others. In order to reach a conviction, the prosecution must prove that: the individual knowingly carried a weapon, and the weapon in question was concealed from ordinary sight. Here, to knowingly possess means that the person knew the weapon was on their person. The weapon being in the ordinary sight of another person is described as being visible through ordinary and casual observation.
Penalties for Carrying a Concealed Weapon
Carrying a concealed weapon is normally filed as a third-degree felony. Even without a conviction, prison time can be expected if the charges are not dropped. Prosecutors are normally obstinate during plea negotiations, with offers commonly starting at 13 to 16 months in state prison. The penalties for this crime include, but are not limited to:
- A fine of up to $5,000
- Up to 5 years in prison or up to 5 years on probation
Besides criminal penalties, there are collateral consequences of a conviction that can be life-long. Finding a job once you are released might be all but impossible, as many employers avoid hiring those with criminal records. Your attempts to continue your education might also be stifled. Colleges and universities thoroughly vet applicants before admitting them, and someone with a conviction history may be disqualified from applying for certain scholarships.
Legal Defenses Against Weapons Charges
With the help of an experienced lawyer, there are a number of defenses that can be used to protect your freedom. One of the most common strategies, and arguably the most effective, is claiming that one of the many concealed weapon exemptions apply in your case. These exemptions outline circumstances that allow you to carry a concealed weapon without a permit. If you were hunting, fishing, or camping, for example, it is perfectly legal to carry a concealed firearm. It is also legal when you are at home or in your place of business. These exemptions can be instrumental in maintaining your freedom.
It might also be the case that the weapon was not concealed at all. If it was simply lying on the floor of your vehicle or out in the open, the courts can be convinced that the weapon was not hidden. It is also possible to get your charges wiped out through proving that you did not have knowledge of the weapon. It is entirely possible that you forgot to remove it from your person when you left home.
Contact Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Defense Lawyer, P.A. Today
Carrying a concealed weapon is punished very harshly by Florida prosecutors, which makes obtaining skilled legal representation essential. If you are being accused of this crime, it may seem as if you could be harshly punished for a minor offense. A conviction for a weapons offense can be devastating and long-lasting. Your family may struggle if you are sent to prison, and your career might be destroyed. Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Defense Lawyer, P.A. believes that listening to your side of the story is key to constructing an effective defense. With all of the details, the court can see your case in a whole new light.