Criminal Defense in Your Neck of the Woods
Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon is a very serious charge in Florida; if you have the displeasure of being charged with the offense of actual Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon you will face a mandatory minimum of 3 years in the Florida Department of Corrections that must be served day for day pursuant to Florida’s 10-20-Life Statute.
Constructive vs. Actual
Like any possessionary crime including drug offenses the State via the State Attorney’s Office in Orange, Seminole, Volusia, Lake Counties or elsewhere can prove the charge of Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon through showing actual possession (the individual physically possesses the gun i.e. on their person) or constructively possesses the gun (the individual is in a place where they may have control or if they have concealed the gun). Please note that prosecutors often use DNA evidence to prove possession.
Elements and Penalties
In order to prove the charge of Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon the following elements must be met beyond of a reasonable doubt: (1) the Defendant has been previously been convicted of a felony offense and rights have not been restored to lawfully possess a firearm (shown through proof of Judgment and Sentence) and (2) a firearm was actually or constructively possessed. As previously stated, the offense of Actual Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon carries a 3 year minimum mandatory; however, the offense is a second degree felony and punishable by up to 15 years in the Florida Department of Corrections (Prison). Also, many defendants who are charged with Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted may also be facing enhanced penalties if the State seeks Prison Release Reoffender or Habitual Felony Offender status.
Simply put, the State must show a Defendant possessed a firearm, an obvious defense is that the person did not have the firearm by way of alibi, witnesses, or lack of evidence. Further, if the State attempts to prove possession via DNA evidence, defenses available include lack of scientific reliability, trace DNA, and transfer DNA (the individual’s DNA is transferred from another person). Also, if an individual’s civil rights have been restored the Defendant may have the ability to demonstrate that he/she has also restored their ability to possess (not simply carry or own) a firearm. Commonly prosecutors will file via Information (Indictment) this charge as it is easier to prove at trial compared to attempted murder, aggravated battery, or other crimes of violence
If you have been charged with Possession of a Firearm and are also a convicted Felon in Sanford, Orlando, Lake Mary, Altamonte, Deltona etc… contact an aggressive Sanford, Lake Mary, and Orlando Criminal Defense Attorney, we may be able to help.