Miami Weapons Offenses & Gun Crimes Attorney
Gun crimes and other weapons offenses are zealously prosecuted in Florida. In both the state and federal systems, crimes involving the use of firearms expose the defendant to significantly higher punishments if convicted, including mandatory minimum prison sentences in many instances. The Tony Moss Firm, L.L.C. represents individuals charged with various weapons offenses as well as people charged with theft, assault or other offenses that involve the use or possession of a firearm or other weapon.
Federal and Florida Gun Laws
Federal criminal laws touch on every aspect of the ownership of firearms and ammunition, including who can own them, what types may be bought or possessed, and the manner in which they may be bought or sold. At the state level, Florida has enacted several weapons crimes ranging from misdemeanors to serious felonies, including:
- Possession of an Illegal Firearm
- Carrying a Concealed Weapon
- Improper Exhibition of a Weapon
- Assault with a Deadly Weapon
- Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon
- Possession of a Stolen Firearm
- Possession or Discharge of Destructive Device
Use a Gun, and You’re Done
The above heading is a popular slogan in the state of Florida, referring to the stiff penalties in the state’s 10-20-Life statute. Basically, the law provides for automatic sentences upon conviction of ten years for pulling a gun during the commission of a crime, 20 years if a gun is fired during the commission of a crime, and an automatic 25 to life for shooting someone during the commission of a crime. A gun does not have to be fired or even used threateningly to invoke this law; it is enough if a person displays or even just carries a gun to reclassify the underlying felony and greatly enhance the potential penalty if convicted.
The federal government has a similar statute which provides for a mandatory five year minimum sentence if a firearm is used or carried in relation to any violent or drug trafficking crime. If the firearm is brandished during the crime, the mandatory minimum increases to seven years, and if the firearm is actually discharged, then the court is to impose at least ten years in prison upon conviction. These sentence enhancements could apply to a conviction for attempt or conspiracy even if the actual underlying crime was never committed.
Authority of Prosecutors and Judges in Weapons Offenses
The Supreme Court has ruled that judges must still retain some discretionary authority to sentence, even when given a range of permissible sentencing options. Where acquittal is not possible, a skilled attorney can still argue for imposition of the minimum sentence allowed. Without effective legal representation, you could find yourself subjected to ten or twenty years or life in prison for a weapons violation.
As a practical matter, mandatory sentences for weapons offenses have shifted a lot of power from the judge to the prosecutor. There are often many different ways in which an offense can be charged, and it is the prosecutor who decides what precise charges to bring, including whether to seek a mandatory sentence or not. A skilled and experienced criminal law attorney can have an impact on the prosecutor before charges are ever filed by pointing out the difficulty the prosecutor will have proving a particular set of charges. Even without negotiating a plea bargain, the defense lawyer may be able to have certain charges dismissed or influence which charges are brought.
Help with Florida Weapons Offenses
If you have been charged with a firearms violation or other weapons offense in Florida, or if you have been charged with any crime which also includes the possession, display or use of a handgun or other weapon, contact the Tony Moss Firm, L.L.C. for advice and representation from a skilled and knowledgeable Florida criminal defense attorney.