Carrying a Concealed Firearm
If you carry a concealed firearm on your person, you may be charged under Florida Statute section 790.01(2). It is important to retain an experienced attorney when you are facing this potentially serious situation. At Hanlon Law, St. Petersburg gun crime attorney Will Hanlon knows how to guard the rights of people fighting these charges, as well as other weapons offenses like being a felon in possession of a firearm.The Charge of Carrying a Concealed Firearm
Under Florida Statute section 790.01(2), a prosecutor hoping to secure a conviction for carrying a concealed weapon must show that you knowingly carried a firearm on or about your person, and the firearm was concealed from others' ordinary sight. It is considered "knowing" if you are simply aware that the firearm is in your possession.
Concealment does not mean that the firearm is necessarily invisible. Instead, the issue is whether someone standing near you would, through his or her observation, realize that an object was a firearm. The prosecutor need not show that your intention was to conceal the gun, or that you planned to use it for nefarious purposes. The firearm is considered on or about you if it is either physically on you or easily accessed by you.
You can be charged with a third-degree felony for carrying a concealed firearm under this code section. This means that the court may sentence you to up to five years’ imprisonment or five years of probation, as well as a maximum fine of $5,000. It is very possible that you will spend time in prison if you are convicted of this offense. If a plea deal is offered, it usually involves more than one year of prison.
You should retain a St. Petersburg criminal attorney early in the process, preferably when you are arrested. Presenting mitigating evidence can be crucial to getting the charges dismissed or reduced, or obtaining less prison time through a plea deal. You should not assume that a conviction is inevitable. As with other crimes, the prosecution needs to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. This is a tough burden. It may be possible to argue that the firearm was not in your possession in the sense that it was not carried on or about your person. It may be possible to contest a lack of proof that you knew about the firearm. We may be able to argue that the firearm was not readily accessible to you or that it was within the ordinary sight of another person. Sometimes it is possible to argue that the firearm was not within your exclusive control. When a firearm is not in your exclusive control, it is not appropriate for there to be an inference that you knew of the firearm's presence.
Sometimes mistakes are made in charging a particular defendant. For example, if you have a concealed carry permit, you should not be charged with this crime. Additionally, there are certain exceptions to the prohibition of concealed carrying, and it may be possible to show that your conduct falls within one of these exceptions. For example, it is not illegal for you to carry a concealed firearm at your home or where you work, even if the place where you work is not your own sole proprietorship. However, you cannot carry a concealed weapon in another person's home. It may also be possible for you to carry a concealed firearm within the interior of a private conveyance, where it is securely encased and cannot be immediately used.
Sometimes carrying a concealed weapon is charged in connection with another serious criminal charge. If you are charged with carrying a concealed firearm or discharging it in connection with certain forcible felonies, you may face the penalties listed under the 10-20-Life statute as well. It is important to consult an attorney who can mount a comprehensive defense that takes into account all of the potential charges.Contact an Experienced Felony Lawyer in St. Petersburg or Surrounding Cities
If you are charged with carrying a concealed firearm in St. Petersburg, you need to retain an experienced criminal defense attorney. Hanlon Law may be able to represent you. Our founder, Will Hanlon, has been providing dedicated representation to people charged with a wide range of gun crimes, including the concealment or improper exhibition of a firearm, since 1994. You can call Hanlon Law at (727) 897-5413 or complete our online form.