The material presented on the Jason Hicks Law Firm, PLLC website is intended for information purposes only. It is not intended as professional advice and should not be construed as such. FLORIDA LAW CHANGES RAPIDLY AND THE DISCUSSIONS OF LEGAL ISSUES CONTAINED IN THIS WEBSITE ARE NOT UPDATED DAILY. SPEAK TO A LAWYER FOR UP TO DATE LEGAL ADVISE. DO NOT RELY SIMPLY ON A WEBSITE. Transmission of the information and material herein is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, an agreement to create an attorney-client relationship with the Jason Hicks Law Firm or any member thereof. Some links within this website may lead to other sites. Jason Hicks Law Firm does not necessarily sponsor, endorse or otherwise approve of the materials appearing in such sites.
Former State Prosecutor
If you have been arrested for any firearm or weapon charge in Brevard County or the Central Florida surrounding areas, then call us to discuss the details of your case. Firearm charges are treated very serious in Florida. Many felony firearm offenses, such as when a convicted felon is caught in actual possession of a firearm, carry minimum mandatory prison sentences.
Jason Hicks has experience fighting these types of cases aggressively. Due to the potential harsh penalties involved, a criminal defense attorney needs to take these accusations very seriously and look at your case from all angles to try and find viable motions to suppress any evidence illegally obtained or to move to have the charge dismissed if there is insufficient evidence.
Jason Hicks represents all clients accused of the following types of weapon charges:
Aggravated Assault with a Firearm:
Aggravated Battery with a Firearm;
Armed Robbery or Burglary with a Firearm:
Attempted Manslaughter or Attempted Murder;
Carrying a Concealed Weapon / Firearm;
Improper Exhibition / Discharge of a Firearm;
Juvenile Possession of a Weapon on School Grounds;
Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon;
Violation of an Injunction due to Being in Possession or Ownership of a Prohibited Firearm; and
Violation of Probation When the Underlying Offense involved a Weapon or Firearm.
Florida Criminal Firearms Laws
Both the United States Constitution and the Florida Constitution provide for the right of the people to possess firearms.
The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution provides for an individual’s right to possess a firearm. "A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."
Florida Constitution Article I, Section 8(a), which provides “The right of the people to keep and bear arms in defense of themselves and of the lawful authority of the state shall not be infringed, except that the manner of bearing arms may be regulated by law.”
Although the constitutions at both the Federal and State level provide for the right to possess and own firearms, these rights are highly regulated and subject to complex statutes and regulations concerning gun possession and ownership.
Florida's Self-Defense Provisions: The Castle Doctrine or Stand Your Ground Defense
Castle Doctrine in Florida
Under the provisions of the Castle Doctrine, a person may use deadly force against another person who enters a residence or occupied automobile with force and for an unlawful purpose. Deadly force may also be used against a person who is attempting to forcefully and unlawfully remove someone from a vehicle.
The provisions are intended to allow a victim to defend him or herself, and also to defend another person against an attempted carjacking or home invasion robbery. In such a situation, a law enforcement officer or prosecutor cannot later second guess whether that decision to defene oneself was "reasonably believed to be necessary."
Because of the existence of the Castle Doctrine, even if it was possible for the client to retreat prior to using self-defense, there is no legal requirement to retreat from the home or an occupied vehicle that is subject to home invasion or carjacking. However, the law does not allow a person to use his or her vehicle or residence to commit a crime before being subjected to the threat that requires defending against. For example, a client cannot go and commit a carjacking and then shoot the owner of the vehicle when the owner is attempting to remove the client from the vehicle.
Additionally, the self-defense provisions provide for common sense exceptions. A person cannot assert the “Castle Doctrine” against persons who have a right to enter the residence or occupied automobile (unless they are subject to an injunction or protective order which would prevent their entry). A person cannot also assert the Castle Doctrine defense in disputes over a child custody and against police officers acting in accordance with their official lawful duties.
Using Deadly Force
If the person using deadly force is outside of their home or occupied vehicle, deadly force may only be used when it is "reasonably believed to be necessary." Even if one is outside of his or her residence, so long as the person is lawfully where they are entitled to be, they are within their right to use necessary force, including deadly force, if they reasonably believe such force is necessary to prevent great bodily harm, death, or to prevent becoming a victim of a forcible felony.
The Castle Doctrine and Florida’s Stand Your Ground law create a "presumption" that the person attempting to enter the vehicle or residence was presumed to have the intention of committing a forcible violent felony if they gained entry. This "presumption" is often used at trial in the defense of an accused who was acting in self-defense. This is particularly true in situations where a person is being prosecuted for having used a firearm in defense of oneself from someone entering his or her home to commit a crime, such as robbery or burglary. In such case, the defense attorney will request that the judge read to the jury the rule about this presumption and will allow the jury to decide if the "alleged victim" was attempting to commit a forcible violent felony at the time of the incident. If the jury concludes that supposed victim entered the home with intent to commit a forcible violent felony, the jury can then excuse the Defendant’s use of deadly force on the intruder.
Prohibitions Against Civil Liability
The Castle Doctrine and the Stand Your Ground law also prohibit civil liability against any person who acts in compliance with the self-defense provisions. In other words, if a person was lawfully acting in self defense, he or she cannot be successfully sued in civil court. Also, law enforcement officers are not allowed to arrested a person unless they have “probable cause” to believe that the person who used the deadly force was not acting in self-defense as allowed by the Castle Doctine and the Stand Your Ground law.
The information contained in this website is not intended as legal advice. This information is merely a summary or overview of the law as it existed at the time of this article’s drafting. Every case is unique and very subtle facts can change the analysis completely. Also, the law changes in Florida routinely and specifically on “hot button” topics like firearm possession law. If you need up-to-date legal advice about a firearm or gun case, contact an attorney such as Jason Hicks or another Central Florida Firearm lawyer.
The Florida legislature has enacted what has become known as the 10/20/Life law in an attempt to further regulate firearms and to more harshly punish those using firearms in the commission of serious crimes.
In the State of Florida, weapons charges can carry a minimum mandatory sentence, which means if convicted, you must serve a at least a specific amount of your sentence “day for day,” without “gain time” or “good behavior time” in Florida State Prison.
Keep in mind that these sentences are the minimum mandatory sentence that will be imposed upon conviction. This means that the judge cannot impose less jail time if convicted. The judge can still impose a sentence up to the statutory maximum allowed for that particular offense, but the judge cannot give less than the minimum even if the judge wanted to. Also, the judge is not allowed to “withhold” adjudication and the person must be convicted.
The 10/20/Life provisions apply to the following offenses:
Illegal Possession of a Firearm in State and Federal Law
Federal Law excludes certain people from legally possessing a firearm. This prohibition includes applies to any person who:
Inaddition to the Federal prohibitions, Florida law forbids certain persons from possessing a firearm, such as:
The punishment for illegal possession of a firearm can vary from a misdemeanor to a felony, depending on the circumstances surrounding the possession.
The Child Access Prevention Law
Any gun owner can be charged and prosecuted for not securing a firearm or other weapon in a location that is not readily accessible to children under 16 years of age. If a child under the age of 16 possesses the firearm, the gun owner can be charged criminally for not properly securing the firearm. Any person who stores or leaves a loaded firearm in an area under his or her control, and who knows or reasonably should know that a person under age 16 is likely to gain access to the firearm without the lawful permission of the minor’s parent or person having charge of the minor, or without supervision required by law, must either keep the firearm in a securely locked box or container, keep the firearm in a location which a reasonable person would believe to be secure, or secure the firearm with a trigger lock.
It is also a crime under Florida law give a firearm to a child. One cannot deliver, give, or transfer a firearm to a person under 18 except under very limited circumstances.
Seek Advise from An Attorney if Charged with a Gun Crime
If you have been arrested for any offense involving a firearm, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in Central Florida to discuss the facts of your case today. Jason Hicks defends against accusations of firearm offenses in Brevard, Seminole, Orange, Osceola, Indian River Counties, and the surrounding areas of Central Florida. Call us for a free consultation at 321-868-2585.
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