If you have been charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, you may feel as though you could be harshly punished for a minor crime. With a second-degree felony classification, the penalties for this offense are outrageous. Sentences can include huge fines and decades spent in state prison. Sarasota weapons lawyer Erika Valcarcel understands the turmoil that can arise from such accusations. With considerable experience in this arena, she knows how to navigate the Florida court process and will listen to your side of the story to ensure that an accurate picture is being painted.

Call (941) 363-7900 now to see how your charges can be reduced or eliminated, if possible.

Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon

According to Florida Statute 790.23, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon is defined as a felon caring for, controlling, or possessing a firearm. In this description, “firearm” has a unique definition. Charges for this crime can be brought against anyone who is in possession of the following items:

  • Firearm
  • Ammunition
  • Taser
  • Any other electric or highly dangerous weapon

A distinction is made between actual and constructive possession, but the individual will be charged either way. Actual possession is established if a firearm is found directly on the accused. Here, the gun could be in the person’s hand, in their coat, or even on the ground nearby. Constructive possession, on the other hand, involves the weapon being near, but not on the individual. If a convicted felon has a firearm in their house, for example, constructive possession may be established.

Penalties and Other Consequences

Most professionals agree that the sentences for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon are harsh. In addition to the crime being filed as a felony, there is also a mandatory minimum sentence. If a conviction is reached, the judge will be forced to assign a sentence of no less than 3 years in prison. In addition to this mandatory minimum, a judge may also impose any of the following penalties:

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

There are also collateral consequences that can make your life difficult once you serve your time. Finding a job, for example, might be all but impossible, as few employers jump at the chance to hire someone with a criminal record. Continuing your education can also be stifled. Most colleges and universities vet applicants before admitting them. Further, scholarships are often off-limits to those with conviction histories.

Defenses Against Florida Firearm Charges

There are many defenses that a qualified defense lawyer can use to get your charges thrown out. One effective strategy is proving that your civil rights and firearm authority have been restored. If you are legally allowed to own a firearm, there is no way that you can be convicted. Another winning defense is claiming that the weapon in question is not yours. People are often accused of being in constructive possession of a firearm when they just happened to be in the same vicinity as the weapon’s true owner.

Let Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Defense Lawyer, P.A. Protect Your Freedom

Being charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon can wreak havoc on your life. From ruining relationships to destroying a career, there is no area of life left unaffected. Sarasota weapons lawyer Erika Valcarcel of Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Defense Lawyer, P.A. understands the stress and anguish that can be caused by criminal charges. She believes that the key to an effective defense is listening to your side of the story. With all of the details, your case can be presented in the best possible light.

Call (941) 363-7900 now for a free consultation and to see how your rights and freedom can be protected.