Being charged with a criminal offense is something that should always be taken seriously. If you have been charged with a crime and a weapon was involved, however, there is an even greater need to be concerned and to develop a defense early on in the case. You face enhanced penalties for the presence of a weapon in a crime that you were convicted of in Florida, which include a mandatory term of imprisonment.
Weapons Enhancement In Florida
In the State of Florida, weapons are taken very seriously when used in the commission of a crime. It is important first to understand the difference between criminal offenses based on possessing a weapon and enhancements based on the presence of a weapon in the commission of a crime.
Like most states, Florida regulates the possession of firearms. Owning an illegal firearm or possessing a legal firearm without the proper license can be a criminal offense in Florida. These, however, are separate criminal offenses and have nothing to do with weapons enhancements. A weapons enhancement refers to a law that increases the penalties for a specific crime if a weapon was present during the commission of the crime. Florida's 10-20-Life law is the most commonly used weapons enhancement law.
Florida's 10-20-Life law adds a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years, 20 years, or life if a firearm is present during the commission of a crime. If you pull a gun out during the commission of a crime you are facing a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison if convicted. For certain crimes, simply having the gun on you, without pulling it out, is sufficient to qualify for the mandatory minimum of ten years. If you fire a gun during the commission of a crime you face a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years. If during the commission of a crime, you use a gun that injures or kills someone, you are facing a minimum mandatory sentence of 25 years to life in prison upon conviction. Convicted felons who possess a firearm also face mandatory minimum sentences even if they did not commit an additional crime.
As you can see, there are enhanced penalties for the presence of a weapon. Being charged with a weapons enhancement is often more serious than the underlying crime itself because of the mandatory minimum sentences that go along with the firearm enhancements. If you have been charged with a crime that involves the possession or use of a firearm consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately to discuss your options and what defenses you may have. Keep Calm Call Us®! 727-531-2926.