Miami Carrying Concealed Firearm Attorneys
If you are facing criminal charges for carrying a concealed firearm in Miami, it is vital to seek legal representation from a skilled criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Our experienced Miami carrying concealed firearm attorneys have years of experience defending weapons charges. We can help protect your rights and fight for the best possible outcome in your case.
Definitions of Weapon and Firearm
What is a Concealed Weapon in Florida?
Florida Statute 790.01 makes it illegal to carry a concealed weapon without a valid permit. According to Florida Statute 790.001, a concealed weapon is defined as ““Weapon” means any dirk, knife, metallic knuckles, slungshot, billie, tear gas gun, chemical weapon or device, or other deadly weapon except a firearm or a common pocketknife, plastic knife, or blunt-bladed table knife . . . carried on or about a person in such a manner as to conceal the weapon from the ordinary sight of another person.” This means that if you carry a weapon on your person or in a bag or other container in a way that someone else would not be able to see, you could be charged with carrying a concealed weapon.
What is a Concealed Firearm?
Florida Statute 790.001 defines a concealed firearm as any weapon (including a starter gun) that will, is designed to, or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive. This definition includes guns, rifles, shotguns, machine guns, and other weapons designed to discharge a bullet or other projectile utilizing an explosive. It includes any firearm muffler, silencer, or “destructive device.”
A “destructive device” is any bomb, grenade, mine, rocket, missile, pipe bomb, or similar device that contains an explosive, incendiary, or poison gas and is capable of causing harm to people or damaging property.
Exceptions Concealed Weapons/Firearms Law
There are some exceptions to this law, including:
- Law enforcement officers and other individuals who are authorized to carry concealed firearms in the course of their employment. These individuals must be properly trained and licensed.
- Individuals with a valid concealed weapons permit issued by the state of Florida or another state that has a reciprocal agreement with Florida. To obtain a concealed weapons license in Florida, an individual must be at least 21 years old, undergo a background check, and complete a firearms training course.
- Military personnel who are on active duty and are carrying a valid military identification card and orders.
- It is not illegal for someone to carry a self-defense chemical spray, a nonlethal stun gun, or dart-firing stun gun, or other nonlethal electric weapons for self-defense as long as it is carried in a concealed manner. However, using any of these items during the commission of a crime can still be prosecuted.
If you do not fall into one of these exceptions and you are caught carrying a concealed weapon or firearm without a valid permit, you could be charged with a crime.
Penalties for Carrying a Concealed Weapon/Firearm
The penalties for carrying a concealed weapon/firearm in Miami may vary depending on the specific circumstances of your case and your criminal history. If you are convicted of the first-degree misdemeanor of carrying a concealed weapon, charged as a first-degree misdemeanor, you could face up to one year in county jail and a fine of up to $1,000. If you are convicted of carrying a concealed firearm, a third-degree felony, you could face up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. Whether you are charged with a first-degree misdemeanor or third-degree felony, your attorney must explore every avenue available to help you avoid criminal punishment. In some cases, the prosecutor may be willing to negotiate a plea deal that involves reduced charges in a felony offense or a lighter sentence. In other cases, it may be necessary to go to trial to fight the charges.
Defenses to Carrying a Concealed Weapon/Firearm
To convict you of carrying a concealed weapon or firearm in Miami-Dade County, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were carrying a weapon or firearm in a manner that concealed it from the ordinary sight of another person. Several possible defenses may be available depending on the facts and circumstances of your case.
Lack of Concealment
One defense you or your attorney may be able to raise is lack of concealment. This means that you may be able to argue that the weapon was not concealed on your person or in a bag or other container in a way that someone else would not be able to see it.
To successfully argue the lack of concealment as a defense, you must provide evidence that the weapon was visible to others. This could include testimony from witnesses who saw the weapon or photos or video footage that shows the firearm or weapon in plain sight.
It is important to note that simply carrying a weapon in a visible location may not necessarily be a defense against a charge of carrying a concealed firearm or weapon. In some cases, the prosecutor may be able to argue that the weapon was partially concealed or that you took steps to conceal it at some point during the alleged offense.
If you were arrested in your car or another vehicle, you might be able to raise the defense that your weapon was “securely encased,” even if it was concealed.
Florida Statute 790.25 provides that it is not a violation of Florida Statute 790.01 (which makes it illegal to carry a concealed firearm or weapon without a valid permit) if the firearm or weapon is “securely encased” and otherwise not readily accessible for immediate use.
According to Florida Statute 790.001, a weapon is considered to be “securely encased” if it is:
- In a glove compartment, whether locked or not
- In a closed box or container which requires a lid or cover to be opened for access
- In a closed trunk
- In a closed cargo or luggage compartment of a motor vehicle
It is important to note that the exception for a “securely encased” weapon only applies to the transportation of the weapon, not to the carrying of the weapon on your person or in a bag or other container.
Not in Constructive Possession
Situations may arise where an officer charges someone for carrying a weapon or firearm they didn’t have in their actual possession. This can occur when an officer discovers the weapon in a vehicle or another location with several people present. In this situation, the prosecutor needs to prove that constructively possessed it—you knew about its presence and had control over it. This defense may apply, for example, when the officer finds a weapon or firearm under a passenger’s seat in a vehicle.
There are several other defenses that you or your attorney may be able to raise in court. Some possible defenses to a weapon concealment charge include:
- Lack of knowledge: You may be able to argue that you did not know that you were carrying the weapon or that you did not know that it was illegal to carry a concealed firearm or weapon without a permit.
- Lack of intent: You may be able to argue that you did not have the intention to carry a concealed firearm or weapon or that it was not in your control at the time of the alleged offense.
- Illegal search and seizure: If the police violated your Fourth Amendment rights by searching you or your property without a warrant or probable cause, any evidence obtained from the search might be inadmissible in court.
- Self-defense: You may be able to argue that you were carrying a concealed firearm or weapon to defend yourself.
- Defense of others: You may be able to argue that you were carrying the weapon to protect someone else from harm.
- Necessity: You may be able to argue that you were carrying a concealed firearm or weapon out of necessity, such as to protect yourself from an immediate threat.
The defenses available to you will depend on the specific circumstances of your case. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you understand your options and work with you to develop a defense strategy tailored to your specific situation.
Contact an Experienced Miami Gun Crime Lawyer
If you have been charged with carrying a concealed firearm or weapon in Florida, it is important to seek legal representation from an experienced Miami gun crime lawyer as soon as possible. Our criminal defense attorneys have significant knowledge and experience defending weapons offenses and will work tirelessly to build a strong defense on your behalf. We will thoroughly review the circumstances of your case, gather evidence, and explore all legal options to help you fight for the best possible result.
By taking the immediate action of hiring a criminal defense lawyer to defend yourself, you are minimizing the chances that your criminal case will have lasting consequences for your career, personal life, and reputation.
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