Carrying a Concealed Firearm

Gun Crime Lawyer Representing Residents of Tampa and Surrounding Cities

Although it may be legal to carry a concealed weapon or firearm in Florida, this is true only if the carrier goes through the lengthy and complex process of obtaining a license to carry. For everyone else, carrying a concealed firearm is a crime. (If people with a legal carry license fail to abide by certain rules and regulations, they also may face criminal prosecution.) A conviction of this or any other crime may have lifelong consequences that go beyond the direct penalties of incarceration and fines. Seasoned Tampa gun crime attorney Will Hanlon at Hanlon Law has over 20 years of experience defending the criminally accused in state and federal courts. He can help defend your legal rights if you have been arrested or are under investigation for a weapons charge or another crime.

In order to obtain a license to carry a concealed weapon or firearm, an applicant must be at least 21 years old, must not be ineligible to possess a firearm by virtue of having been convicted of a felony, and must not have been convicted of certain offenses pertaining to the abuse of a controlled substance or the use of alcoholic beverages within three years of the application. Applicants who are not able to meet these qualifications but choose to carry a weapon nevertheless may be convicted of a felony under Florida law.

Understanding How a Concealed Firearm Case Unfolds

The State of Florida has the burden of proof in a criminal case. To get a conviction in a concealed weapon case, the State must provide legally admissible evidence sufficient to convince the jury of the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. This is a much higher burden of proof than the “preponderance of the evidence” standard used in civil trials.

The jury may consider only evidence that the trial court judge deems to be admissible in a given case. In deciding whether a particular piece of evidence is allowable, the court will often look more at the circumstances in which the evidence was obtained than at the evidence itself. For example, if police obtained a weapon from the defendant’s residence without having a warrant or consent to search, it may be possible for the defendant to move the court to exclude that evidence under the “fruit of the poisonous tree” doctrine because of a possible violation of the Fourth Amendment with regard to the search for and seizure of the evidence.

In some cases, the court may be required to rule on the nature of the evidence itself, rather than on the legality of the method of obtaining it. For the purposes of Florida Statutes § 790.01, a “concealed weapon or concealed firearm” includes both guns and certain electronic devices. However, the statute also says that a person who conceals, for the purposes of lawful self-defense, a “self-defense chemical spray” or a “nonlethal stun gun… or other nonlethal electric… device that is designed solely for defensive purposes” is not covered by the statute. Thus, the particular type of weapon that the defendant is accused of concealing may be very important in determining whether they are guilty of carrying a concealed firearm or weapon.

Talk to a Knowledgeable Attorney in the Tampa Area

The first step in avoiding a conviction on a gun crime charge – or having pending charges reduced to a lesser offense – is hiring a Tampa attorney who can help you investigate the circumstances of your arrest and explore possible defenses that may apply in your particular case. Each criminal case is unique. What works in one situation will not necessarily be effective under different facts. At Hanlon Law, we help the criminally accused defend themselves against prosecutors and police officers every day. An accusation is not a conviction. You have legal rights, but only a capable attorney on your side of the case can help you assert them. For an appointment to discuss your case, call us now at 813-228-7095 or contact us online. We also can assist people who need a drug trafficking attorney or representation in fighting a wide range of drug crimes, sex offenses, theft crimes, and other charges.