Florida has some of the toughest laws in the nation for people who use a weapon in the commission of a crime or who otherwise illegally possess or use a firearm. While the laws may have been well-intentioned, the results can be harsh in individual cases. Fortunately, there is sometimes a defense available that can help a defendant either seek an acquittal or get a reduction in the charges or the penalties. If you have been charged with a gun crime or believe that you may be under investigation for a weapons offense, St. Petersburg and Clearwater gun crime lawyer Will Hanlon will be glad to discuss your case with you. He genuinely cares about the future of people who have been charged with a violent crime, and he will do everything that he can within the bounds of the law to pursue a successful outcome in your case.Serious Penalties for Gun Crimes in Florida
While there are many different laws covering gun crimes, one of the most notable is Florida Statute § 775.087. More commonly known as the “10-20-Life” law, this statute has the power to put a defendant behind bars for up to 25 years or life if they used a firearm during the commission of a crime, and someone was either killed or seriously injured. There is no requirement that the defendant had the intention to kill or hurt someone, only that the death or injury occurred while the defendant was using a gun to commit a crime. (If intent can be proven, the defendant will likely face other charges as well, such as murder, manslaughter, or aggravated assault.) Even if the defendant does not actually hurt or kill anyone, they still face the possibility of up to 20 years in prison if a gun is fired during the commission of a crime. A possible 10-year sentence is triggered if the defendant even possesses a gun while committing a crime – even if the gun is not fired. A gun crime attorney in Clearwater or St. Petersburg can explain in more detail the specific penalties that you may be facing.
These sentences are “minimum mandatory” sentences, which means that early release is not possible. Unless a conviction is reversed on appeal, the defendant will be required to serve the entire sentence imposed upon them by the court. In addition to the 10-20-Life law, Florida also imposes harsh punishments, including jail time, fines, and other penalties, on people found guilty of other weapons charges like possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, carrying a concealed weapon without a license or permit, armed robbery, aggravated assault or aggravated battery with a firearm, illegal discharge of a weapon, and homicide.
In order to be acquitted or have the charge reduced to a less serious offense, a defendant in a gun crime case needs a strong defense. Sometimes a defendant may be able to negate an element of the State’s case by calling into question a particular witness’ testimony or convincing the trial court to exclude a key piece of evidence on the basis that it was obtained in violation of the defendant’s constitutional rights. For example, there may have been a violation of the Fourth Amendment prohibition against unlawful searches and seizures.Schedule a Consultation with a Gun Crime Lawyer in Clearwater or St. Petersburg
There are two sides to every story, including the circumstances leading to a gun charge. At Hanlon Law, we work hard to understand both sides of the case – the arguments brought by the State and the defenses that may be available to the defendant. St. Petersburg and Clearwater gun crime attorney Will Hanlon represents defendants facing weapons charges or allegations of other violent crimes in cities such as Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Newport Richey, and Dade City. Call 727-897-5413 or contact us online to schedule an appointment to talk about your case. We can also help people who need a domestic violence lawyer or assistance with drug, theft, sex, and white collar crime charges.