Carrying a Concealed Weapon
Tampa Carrying a Concealed Weapon Attorney
In Florida, it is against the law for a person to carry a concealed weapon unless that person has a Concealed Weapons License.
In 1867, the Florida Supreme Court stated that the law against carrying concealed weapons was designed to prevent a person with a weapon from “taking some undue advantage over an unsuspecting adversary,” who is not aware that the person is carrying a weapon.
In Florida, to convict an accused of Carrying a Concealed Weapon, the prosecutor must prove:
- The accused knowingly carried on or about his or her person a weapon.
- The weapon was concealed from the ordinary sight of another person.
The definition of a concealed weapon includes an electric weapon, metallic knuckles, a chemical weapon, or other deadly weapon carried on or about a person in such a manner as to conceal the weapon from the ordinary sight of another person.
Maximum Penalties for Carrying a Concealed Weapon in Florida
In Florida, Carrying a Concealed Weapon is a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by a maximum of:
One year of imprisonment
A $1,000.00 fine
12 months of probation
Possible Defenses to a charge of carrying a Concealed Weapon in Florida
Lack of Knowledge
There are instances where people carry concealed weapons unknowingly.
For example, sometimes an accused brings carry-on luggage through an airport security line without realizing that the luggage contains a concealed weapon. This might happen because the person forgot about the weapon being in the luggage, or because, unbeknownst to the person, a family member or roommate put the weapon in the luggage and then neglected to remove it. Regardless, during the passenger screening process, the airport police will arrest the person and charge them with Carrying a Concealed Weapon. However, if the accused person was not aware that he or she was carrying the weapon, they are not guilty of the charge.
Another example of lack of knowledge in a concealed weapon case arises when people drive vehicles that don’t belong to them. Imagine that the owner of a vehicle keeps a hunting knife under the front seat. One day, the owner lends the vehicle to a friend for the day without removing the hunting knife. Although the friend may drive around with this concealed weapon in the vehicle, he is not guilty of the crime, as he doesn’t even know the hunting knife is present.
The Accused Has a Valid Concealed Weapon License
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services issues licenses to carry concealed weapons to qualified persons. These licenses are valid for 7 years.
Aside from firearms, a Florida Concealed Weapon License allows a license holder to carry a concealed electronic weapon, tear gas gun, knife, or Billie.The Florida Statutes do not define “Billie.” However, a Florida Court has defined a “Billie” as a short wooden club, especially a police officer’s club.
The licensed person must carry the license, together with valid identification, whenever they carry a concealed weapon.
The Weapon Was Transported Securely Encased In A Private Conveyance
Florida Law permits the carrying of a concealed weapon for self-defense within the interior of a private conveyance, without a license, if the weapon is securely encased or is otherwise not readily accessible for immediate use.
Conveyances include cars, motorcycles, and boats.
“Securely encased” means in a glove compartment, whether or not locked; snapped in a holster; in a gun case, whether or not locked; in a zippered gun case; or in a closed box or container which requires a lid or cover to be opened for access.
For example, if a person without a concealed weapon license were to place a hunting knife into their glove compartment, that person would not be guilty of carrying a concealed weapon, as the Florida Private Conveyance Exception would apply.
Law Enforcement Discovered the Concealed Firearm During An Illegal Search
The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution provides that “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated . . . .”
Therefore, police searches of citizens must be “reasonable.”
While courts have held that a police officer may search a person for weapons where the officer has reason to believe that he is dealing with an armed and dangerous individual, the detention and search must be based on more than a hunch.
Are you looking for the best criminal defense lawyer in Tampa Florida to represent you in a Carrying a Concealed Weapon case?
Tampa Attorney David C. Hardy is a former prosecutor that now represents persons accused of Carrying a Concealed Weapon. He is Board Certified by the Florida Bar and the National Board of Trial Advocacy as an Expert in Criminal Trial Law. As a prosecutor and defense attorney, he has extensive experience handling Carrying a Concealed Weapon charges.
If you or a loved one has been arrested for Carrying a Concealed Weapon in Hillsborough County Florida, Pinellas County Florida, or Pasco County Florida, Attorney David C. Hardy has the knowledge, skills, and experience to guide you through this process and obtain the best possible results.