The potential penalties for illegal possession of a firearm in Florida vary greatly. If the police have charged a defendant with a Florida weapons violation, it's vital they learn about the related laws. Doing so arms them with the required information to build their defense and decide their next move. Understanding the penalties that defendants will likely face helps them to prepare for what's to come in the following weeks and months.

Common Weapon Violations in Florida

This section gets to the heart of the issue and explores what a defendant can expect if they plead guilty or if a jury finds them guilty in court. The Florida Statues Chapter 790 defines these crimes and the punishments that come with them:
  • Unlicensed Carrying of a Concealed Firearm
  • Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon
  • Improper Exhibition of a Dangerous Weapon or Firearm
Authorities will charge defendants with a felony of the third-degree if they catch them concealing a firearm without a proper license to do so. In addition to getting up to five years behind bars, defendants can also get probation and a $5,000 fine. The police can charge them with improper exhibition of a firearm if they display a firearm in a careless or threatening way. Authorities can still charge defendants even when they have a license to carry a concealed weapon. For this crime, defendants can face up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. All states forbid convicted felons from owning or controlling firearms, and defendants can face up to 15 years in prison for violating this law in Florida.

Understanding the Legal Process Behind Illegal Firearm Possession in Florida

Now let’s explore the legal process and how plea deals work. Police officers will either spot what they think is a crime or act based on reports and evidence offered by third parties. After the initial arrest, defendants will have a hearing before a judge and enter their plea. For those who plead not guilty will likely get the chance to post bail. The prosecutor will likely charge the defendant with the highest possible offense and offer to reduce it as part of a plea bargain. In fact, more than 90 percent of criminal cases never make it to trial. Defendants will need to decide if they wish to accept the deal or take their chances in front of a jury.

Final Thoughts Regarding Penalties for Illegal Possession of a Firearm in Florida

The penalties defendants will face following a firearms violation depend on the nature of the crime and a range of other factors. In the best situation, these individuals will get less than one year in jail and a fine of less than $1,000. On the other side of the coin, they could get up to 15 years in prison. Prosecutors try saving time and money by getting defendants to accept plea deals, but only they can decide what path makes sense for them and their future.