Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon in Florida

Actual Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon carries a minimum-mandatory prison sentence.  Minimum-mandatory sentences are served day-for-day without any gain time and leaves no discretion to the judge for sentencing.

If accused of Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon in Florida, you need to know the following:

 

  • Definition of Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon
  • Penalties for Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon
  • Defenses to Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon

 

Definition of Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon

 

The crime of Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon is committed if a person:

  1. Has previously been convicted of a felony, either in Florida or another jurisdiction; and
  2. Knowingly owned, cared for, possessed, or controlled a firearm.

 

Possession: Actual versus Constructive

 

An important issue in determining the ultimate sentence for the crime of Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon is whether the person actually possessed a firearm or constructively possessed the firearm; as Actual Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon carries a three-year minimum-mandatory prison sentence.

 

Actual Possession

 

Actual possession occurs if the firearm is:

  1. In the hand of or on the person; or
  2. In a container in the hand of or on the person; or
  3. So close as to be within ready reach and is under the control of the person.

 

Constructive Possession

 

Constructive possession occurs if the firearm is in a place over which the accused person has control, or in which the accused person has concealed it.

 

Penalties for Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon

 

The crime of Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon is classified as a Second Degree Felony and is assigned a Level 5 offense severity ranking under Florida’s Criminal Punishment Code.

 

Actual Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon

 

Under Florida’s 10-20-Life law, a felon found to be in the actual possession of a firearm is required to serve a three-year minimum mandatory sentence; regardless of whether the person scores prison.

If convicted of Actual Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon, a judge is required to impose a minimum-mandatory sentence of three-years in prison and can also impose any combination of the following penalties:

  • Up to fifteen (15) years in prison.
  • Up to fifteen (15) years of probation.
  • Up to $10,000 in fines.

 

Constructive Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon

 

If convicted of Constructive Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon, a judge can impose any combination of the following penalties:

  • Up to fifteen (15) years in prison.
  • Up to fifteen (15) years of probation.
  • Up to $10,000 in fines.

 

Defenses to Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon

 

In addition to the pretrial defenses and trial defenses that can be raised in any criminal case, a specific defense to the crime of Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon is:

 

Restoration of Civil Rights with Firearm Authority

 

A person whose civil rights and firearm authority have been restored cannot be convicted of Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon.

However, while many convicted felons have had the majority of their Civil Rights restored, including the right to carry a weapon, very few have had their right to possess a firearm restored.