POSSESSION OF A FIREARM
BY A CONVICTED FELON
In Florida, when someone is convicted of a felony they lose certain rights. One of those rights is the ability to lawfully own a firearm and therefore it is a crime to do so. Florida makes the unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon a second-degree felony.
Florida Statute 790.23 states:
(1) It is unlawful for any person to own or to have in his or her care, custody, possession, or control any firearm, ammunition, or electric weapon or device, or to carry a concealed weapon, including a tear gas gun or chemical weapon or device, if that person has been:
(a) Convicted of a felony in the courts of this state;
(b) Found, in the courts of this state, to have committed a delinquent act that would be a felony if committed by an adult and such person is under 24 years of age;
(c) Convicted of or found to have committed a crime against the United States which is designated as a felony;
(d) Found to have committed a delinquent act in another state, territory, or country that would be a felony if committed by an adult and which was punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding 1 year and such person is under 24 years of age; or
(e) Found guilty of an offense that is a felony in another state, territory, or country and which was punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding 1 year.
The penalties for a Second-degree Felony are:
Up to 15 years in prison; or
Up to 15 years’ probation; and
Different defenses are available depending on the facts of the case, however, not every case will have a defense. The defenses can be legal or factual in nature such as:
Not in possession;
No knowledge of the firearm;
Florida does allow convicted felons to petition the Florida Commission on Offender Review for Clemency which is the process one must undertake to have their civil rights restored and their firearm authority restored. If a Defendant has gone through this process, then the fact that they have had their rights restored is a valid defense.
Another exception is if the individuals record as been expunged.
Note: Wilbur Smith offers both Clemency and Sealing and Expungement services.