Legal Strategies For Defending Florida Gun Crimes Charges
If you have been charged with a violation of Florida gun laws, it will not be too long after your arrest that you start to think about defenses. Even minor crimes regarding possession and use are charged as misdemeanors under state criminal statutes on weapons and firearms. More serious gun crimes are felonies punishable by up to 30 years in prison. Plus, under certain circumstances, Florida’s 10-20-Life law applies to a firearms case. Using a gun during commission of a felony could bump the charges up one notch, potentially leading to a life felony and spending the rest of your life in prison.
When you face these potential penalties, it is critical to retain a Fort Lauderdale gun crimes lawyer for legal help. There are always strategies to fight the charges, whether by presenting defenses, working out a plea agreement, or other tactics to obtain a favorable outcome. Some examples include:
Pre-Trial Motions to Dismiss
Even at the earliest stages of your case, you may have grounds to seek a motion to dismiss. This is often a wise strategy when illegal possession gun charges are the result of a civil rights violation. You are protected from unlawful search and seizure, so any evidence that turns up after police violate your rights must be tossed out of court. Without key evidence – i.e., the firearm found in your possession – the judge may side with you on a motion to dismiss.
Contest the Prosecutor’s Facts
Always remember that the prosecution must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, the highest legal standard of proof. Plus, the prosecuting attorney needs to meet this standard with respect to each element of a gun crime. Many of Florida’s firearms and weapons statutes include a requirement that you acted intentionally and knowingly; there can also be questions regarding actual versus constructive possession of a firearm.
When the facts are weak on any element of a gun crime, you have leverage regarding a plea agreement. Prosecutors are often willing to negotiate a plea bargain under the circumstances, as they would rather resolve the charges by agreement than risk a loss.
Defenses to Gun Crimes Charges
When it is your turn to present testimony and evidence, you may be able to take advantage of defenses to Florida gun crimes. Options include:
- The gun was not in your exclusive control;
- You have a concealed carry license;
- You acted lawfully in self-defense, defense of others, or defending property; and
- Accidental discharge of a weapon in public.
In addition, you can defend charges of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon by showing that your civil rights have been legally restored.
County on a Florida Gun Crimes Defense Attorney for Legal Assistance
Every gun offense case is different, so you will need to discuss the specifics with an experienced lawyer to determine whether these or other defense strategies could work in your favor. To learn more, please contact Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney Kevin J. Kulik. We can schedule a consultation to review your circumstances and explain the proceedings.