Felon in Possession of a Firearm

Convictions for felony offenses carry several consequences in Florida, but one of the most troubling complications for many people if the prohibition on possession of any firearm, ammunition, or electric weapon or device. When a convicted felon allegedly possesses a firearm, he or she can be charged with yet another felony offense.

Felon in possession of firearm offenses can result in enhanced criminal penalties for certain types of alleged repeat offenders, but many people can be charged with this crime as the result of unknowing or accidental possession of firearms or other weapons. The type of alleged possession in these cases can have a dramatic impact on the possible penalties if a person is convicted of the offense.

Lawyer for Felon in Possession of a Firearm Arrests in Fort Lauderdale, FL

If you are a convicted felon who was recently arrested for allegedly possessing a firearm anywhere in Broward County, it is in your best interest to immediately seek legal representation. Meltzer & Bell, P.A. aggressively defends clients accused of weapons and firearms crimes in Hallandale Beach, Hollywood, Margate, Coconut Creek, Coral Springs, Davie, Deerfield Beach, Fort Lauderdale, and many surrounding areas of South Florida.

Lawrence Meltzer and Steven Bell are experienced criminal defense attorneys in Fort Lauderdale who can investigate every detail of your arrest and fight to possibly get the criminal charges minimized or eliminated. Call (954) 716-8538 today to have our lawyers review your case and help you understand all of your legal options during a free initial consultation.


Overview of Felon in Possession of a Firearm Crimes in Broward County


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Felon in Possession of a Firearm Charges in Florida

Florida Statute § 790.23 makes it unlawful for any person to own or 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 he or she has been:

  • Convicted of a felony in the courts of Florida;
  • Convicted of or found to have committed a crime against the United States that is designated as a felony;
  • 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 one year;
  • Found in courts of Florida 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; or
  • 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 one year and such person is under 24 years of age.

The type of possession that is alleged when a person is charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon is an especially critical element to that individual’s case, not only because of the possible defenses that may be applicable but also because of the ways in which a prison sentence can become mandatory if he or she is convicted. The three types of possession in these cases include:

  • Actual Possession — An alleged offender has any firearm, ammunition, or electric weapon or device either in his or her hands, in a container in the hands of the alleged offender, or so close as to be within ready reach and under the control of the alleged offender. Actual possession convictions are punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence of three years in prison.
  • Constructive Possession — A firearm, ammunition, or electric weapon or device was in a place over which the alleged offender had had dominion and control over the firearm, ammunition, or electric weapon or device, knowledge the firearm, ammunition, or electric weapon or device was within his or her presence, and knowledge of the illegal nature of the firearm, ammunition, or electric weapon or device.
  • Joint Possession — A firearm, ammunition, or electric weapon or device was under the control of two or more people, each of whom are considered to be in possession. Mandatory minimum sentencing does not apply in joint possession cases.

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Broward County Felon in Possession of a Firearm Penalties

Violations of Florida Statute § 790.23 are generally second-degree felony offenses punishable by up to 15 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000, but an alleged offender can face first-degree felony charges punishable by to up to 30 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000 under Florida Statute § 874.04 if he or she violated Florida Statute § 790.23 for the purpose of benefiting, promoting, or furthering the interests of a criminal gang. Felon in possession of a firearm offenses are also subject to several kinds of enhancements that lead to even longer sentences.

Alleged repeat offenders may face enhanced sentences if they are classified as any of the following:

  • Prison Releasee Reoffender, Florida Statute § 775.082 — Alleged offenders face the same penalties listed above but also become ineligible for early release.
  • Habitual Felony Offender, Florida Statute § 775.084(a) — Second-degree felony offenses become punishable by to up to 30 years in prison and first-degree felony offenses become punishable by up to life in prison.
  • Habitual Violent Felony Offender, Florida Statute § 775.084(b) — Second-degree felony offenses become punishable by to up to 30 years in prison with no eligibility for early release for 10 years and first-degree felony offenses become punishable by up to life in prison with no eligibility for early release for 15 years.
  • Three-Time Violent Felony Offender, Florida Statute § 775.084(c) — Second-degree felony offenses become punishable by a mandatory minimum of 15 years in prison, and first-degree felony offenses become punishable a mandatory minimum of 30 years in prison.
  • Violent Career Criminal, Florida Statute § 775.084(d) — Second-degree felony offenses become punishable by a mandatory minimum of 30 years up to 40 years in prison, and first-degree felony offenses become punishable by up to life in prison.

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Florida Resources for Felon in Possession of a Firearm Offenses

Restoration of Civil Rights (RCR) | Clemency | Florida Commission on Offender Review — Convicted felons who have had eight or more years elapse since their sentences or probation ended and all court ordered restitution and costs paid can apply for Executive Clemency to have their firearm rights restored. On this website, you can search for rights already restored, print certificates, and download an application and instructions for Restoration of Civil Rights or Firearm Authority. You can also find additional information about eligibility criteria for each form of clemency in the "Rules of Executive Clemency."

State v. Collazo, 93 So. 3d 417 (Fla. 4th DCA 2012) — A Broward County Sheriff's Deputy was driving in the Dania Beach area on October 25, 2009, looking for a suspect connected to a commercial theft when he saw Alexis Collazo "reach down to his left ankle and retrieve a shiny metal object and discard it approximately a foot away from him into a bush line that he was standing by." The deputy found a .22 caliber firearm in the bushes near where he observed Collazo toss the shiny object, and arrested Collazo after a criminal background check revealed he was a convicted felon. The state appealed Collazo's sentence of five years’ probation after a jury found him guilty of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, but the Fourth District Court of Appeal affirmed the sentence without the mandatory minimum sought by the state because it concluded that the “jury was not presented with a special interrogatory or special verdict form to indicate which theory of possession it used to determine guilt.”


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Meltzer & Bell, P.A. | Fort Lauderdale Felon in Possession of a Firearm Defense Attorney

Were you arrested in South Florida for allegedly being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, ammunition, or electric weapon or device? Do not make any kind of statement to authorities without legal counsel. Contact Meltzer & Bell, P.A. as soon as possible.

Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyers Lawrence Meltzer and Steven Bell represent individuals all over the greater Broward County area, including Tamarac, Weston, Wilton Manors, Miramar, Pembroke Pines, Plantation, Pompano Beach, Sunrise, and several other nearby communities. You can have our attorneys provide a complete evaluation of your case when you call (954) 716-8538 or submit an online contact form to schedule a free, confidential consultation.


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