Carrying a Concealed Firearm
The Clearwater and St. Petersburg areas of Central Florida are known for many things - plentiful sunshine, a vibrant arts scene, and, unfortunately, a rapidly growing crime rate. Both violent crimes and property crimes happen relatively often, and many citizens feel that carrying a firearm is important to protect their families and them. However, this can be problematic because carrying a concealed firearm is illegal unless the person carrying it has a license. Getting a license is not always an easy task, and some people do not qualify for a license. If you have been arrested for carrying a concealed firearm, St. Petersburg and Clearwater gun crime attorney Will Hanlon at Hanlon Law is available to provide the guidance and advocacy that you need.
There are several restrictions that prevent certain types of people from legally obtaining a gun carry permit, including age (you must be at least 21 to obtain a permit), residency, disability, previous criminal record (convicted felons are not allowed to carry a weapon unless their legal right to do so has been restored), lack of ability to demonstrate competence with a firearm, chronic drug or alcohol usage, mental illness, conviction of a domestic violence offense within a certain period, and more.Rules Concerning Concealed Weapons Under Florida Law
Even for people who have the legal right to carry a concealed weapon, there are certain limitations. For example, firearms are not to be carried into a police station, courthouse, school, bar, sporting event, jail, or airport, even if the person carrying the weapon has a carry permit. Permit holders can also run into legal trouble if they use a firearm while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, unless they do so in self-defense. Under Florida Statutes § 790.01, a person who lacks a license to carry a concealed firearm but nevertheless has a concealed weapon (or an “electric weapon or device”) on or about their person can be convicted of either a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the circumstances. Notably, people who carry a self-defense chemical spray or a nonlethal stun gun are not to be prosecuted under this law, although using those types of weapons can result in other charges if the defendant does not act in self-defense.
Regardless of whether a defendant has a permit, there may be a viable defense to a charge of carrying a concealed weapon. Police sometimes exceed their authority during an investigation or an arrest, and there may be a constitutional defense that could result in the exclusion of certain evidence. Without that evidence, the State of Florida may be unable to meet its burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Additionally, it may be possible to convince the jury that even legally obtained evidence should not be trusted or should be given little weight. For example, perhaps a certain witness’ testimony should not be believed because they are biased or have an incentive to tell a falsehood for their personal benefit.Get Started on Building a Strong Defense with a Criminal Attorney in Clearwater or St. Petersburg
A criminal conviction can have a devastating effect on your future. People who have been convicted of a crime, even if it is only a misdemeanor, often find that their social and professional reputation suffers. They may not be able to get the job or the professional degree to which they aspired, among other consequences. However, you should be reassured that not every arrest or indictment results in a conviction. There are many occasions when, with the help of a hard-working, results-oriented criminal defense attorney, it is possible to beat the charge or to get a reduced penalty. To speak to a knowledgeable firearms attorney in Clearwater or St. Petersburg, call Will Hanlon at Hanlon Law today at 727-897-5413 or contact us online. We also serve people in surrounding cities, such as Newport Richey and Dade City. The sooner that you call us, the more time that we will have to prepare a comprehensive defense for you.