Weapons & Firearms Charges

Weapons, Firearms Charges, and the 10-20-Life Law

In comparison to other states in the U.S., Florida is quite accommodating to guns. Florida allows the issuing of concealed carry licenses to residents as well as non-residents, and recognizes concealed carry licenses from all states that recognize Florida’s licenses. The license-holder must be at least twenty-one years old, or a member of the US Armed Forces. Currently, thirty-five states recognize resident licenses, and thirty states recognize non-resident licenses. We at Pallegar Law, P.A. are a team of experienced Tampa weapons attorneys who can help you with a gun-related crime.

Florida law allows handguns, electronic weapons, tear gas guns, and knives to be carried concealed, as long as a license is obtained. You cannot obtain a license to carry long guns or machine guns. Open carry of firearms is illegal in Florida, except when hunting, fishing, practice shooting, or in your own home. There are a number of places where you cannot carry your concealed weapon, even with a valid license. These places include police or sheriff stations, courthouses, polling places, schools, career centers, or any establishment whose main source of revenue is selling alcoholic beverages.

Carrying a concealed weapon without a license is a first-degree misdemeanor in Florida, and carrying a concealed firearm is a third degree felony, with a maximum penalty of five years in jail. If you or someone you know has been charged with a gun-related crime, seek out an experienced Tampa weapons attorney to represent you. At Pallegar Law, P.A., we know that punishments for these crimes can be severe, and we will do whatever we can to minimize that potential sentence.

Florida’s ‘10-20-Life law’ establishes a mandatory minimum sentence for felony crimes that involve the use of a firearm. The law went into effect in 1999, increasing the minimum sentence from three years to at least ten. A year later it was extended to include 16 and 17-year olds who use a gun while committing a violent felony.

The law’s name comes from three separate minimum sentences. 10 refers to the minimum sentence for someone who pulls out a firearm while committing a certain violent felony. Firing the weapon mandates a 20-year minimum sentence, and to shoot someone mandates 25 years to life in prison, even if no one was fatally injured. A life sentence is the maximum sentence for that kind of crime unless the defendant is charged with first-degree or felony murder. In that case they may be subject to the death penalty. Any gun-related crime is serious, so it is important to contact an aggressive Tampa weapons attorney who can assist you in navigating the system.

Additionally, the ’10-20-Life law’ created a number of different minimum sentences. These include a three year sentence for a felon possessing a firearm, aggravated assault with a firearm, and aggravated assault on a police officer or someone older than 65. A three-year minimum sentence was also established for drug offenses, increasing to 7, 15, or 25 years depending on the kind of drug and the amount.

According to the Florida Parole Commission (FPC), there was a twenty six percent drop in gun-related violent crime just two years after the 10-20-life law was passed. By 2004, gun-related violent crimes had fallen more than thirty percent.

If you or someone you know has been charged with any crime whether it’s a gun crime, a theft crime, or a DUI contact an experienced Tampa criminal defense attorney by calling Pallegar Law, P.A. at 813-444-3912.

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