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Weapon offenses should never be taken lightly as they can have serious consequences affecting you for the rest of your life. Whether you’ve been charged with carrying a concealed weapon, possession of a firearm, or other weapon charges, having an experienced criminal defense attorney representing you could result in a fine versus jail time. 

At Buda Law, you can trust that you’re being represented by one of the best criminal defense attorneys in the Tampa area. As a former prosecuting attorney, Andrew Buda knows what you’re facing and how to fight the case that has been built against you.

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If you’re fighting a weapons charge, call Buda Law today at (813) 352-2217 to schedule a free initial consultation.

Florida Weapon Laws

The weapons and firearms laws in Florida can be confusing. Below, we break down some weapons charges we handle at Buda Law. 

Florida Statute 790.01 – Unlicensed Carrying of Concealed Weapons or Concealed Firearms

Under Florida Statute 790.01, carrying a concealed weapon or concealed firearm without a license is illegal. To violate this statute, a person must knowingly carry, on or about their person, a firearm or other weapon concealed from the sight of another person without a valid concealed carry license. It is a third-degree felony to be in possession of a firearm without a license, according to Statute 790.1(2). Carrying a weapon, like a knife, metal knuckles, tear gas, billy club, or other objects, is considered a first-degree misdemeanor, Statute 790.1(1). Violating Statute 790.1 is a level five offense on the severity ranking scale. If convicted of carrying a concealed firearm, you could face up to five years probation, five years in prison, and/or up to $5,000 in fines. If convicted of carrying a concealed weapon, you could face a jail sentence of up to one year. 

Florida Statute 790.053 – Open Carrying of Weapons

It is unlawful to openly carry any electric weapon, device, or firearm according to Statute 790.053. If you briefly display the firearm or other device in a non-threatening manner, you will not be in violation of this statute. This is a second-degree misdemeanor charge if convicted and could result in up to 60 days in jail and/or a fine of $500 or less. Probation could be imposed for up to six months.  

Florida Statute 790.10 – Improper Exhibition of Dangerous Weapons or Firearms

According to Statute 790.10, it is against the law to carry a sword, sword cane, dirk, firearm, electric weapon or device, or other deadly weapon in an angry, rude, careless, or threatening way in the presence of one or more people. Violating this statute is a first-degree misdemeanor and could result in up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. 

Tampa Weapons Offenses

Florida Statute 790.15 – Discharging Firearm in Public or On Residential Property

To knowingly discharge a firearm in public or to recklessly or negligently discharge a firearm outside on a residential property is a violation of Statute 790.15 and is considered a first-degree misdemeanor. 

If you knowingly and willfully discharge a firearm from a vehicle that is within 1,000 feet of a person, you will violate Statute 790.15(2). This is considered a second-degree felony and could result in a prison sentence of up to 15 years, 15 years probation, and a $10,000 fine. 

Florida Statute 790.161 – Making, Possessing, Throwing, Projecting, Placing, or Discharging Any Destructive Device

You violate Statute 790.161 if you willfully and unlawfully possess, make, project, throw, place, or discharge a destructive device or attempt to do so. Violating this statute is a third-degree felony. 

If you intended to cause property damage or bodily harm, or the act disrupted government operations, commerce, or another person’s private affairs, it is considered a second-degree felony. If this action results in bodily harm or property damage, it is considered a first-degree felony, but if it causes a death, it’s regarded as a capital felony

Florida Statute 790.23 – Possession of Firearm By a Convicted Felon or Delinquent

It is against the law if you are a previously convicted felon and knowingly own control or are in possession of a firearm, according to Statute 790.23. This statute also applies to anyone previously convicted of a delinquent criminal act that would be considered a felony if they were an adult at the time of the crime and under the age of 24. Deadly weapons under this statute include an electric weapon or device, ammunition, tear gas, or other chemical weapon. Violating this Florida law is considered a second-degree felony and is a level-five offense. If you had actual possession of a firearm compared to constructive possession, you could face a minimum mandatory sentence of three years in prison. 

Actual possession of a firearm is committed if:

  • A firearm is in the hand of or on the person; or
  • So close that it is within ready reach and is under that person’s control; or
  • In a container in a person’s possession.

Constructive possession of a firearm occurs in an area that the accused has control of or has concealed. Being convicted of actual or constructive possession could result in up to 15 years in prison, 15 years probation, and/or up to $10,000 in fines. 

This statute does not apply to anyone that was convicted of a felony that had their civil rights and firearm authority restored or anyone with a criminal history expunged under Statute 943.0515(1)(b).

Weapon Charges in Florida

What are the Penalties for Weapon Offenses in Florida?

The penalties for being convicted of a gun crime in Florida can vary depending on the severity of that offense. Anytime you’re facing gun charges, you should contact an experienced gun crimes attorney regardless of if the charge is a felony or misdemeanor.

Misdemeanor Offense Penalties:

  • First-degree misdemeanor – a maximum sentence of up to one year in jail and/or fines of up to $1,000.
  • Second-degree misdemeanor – a fine of no more than $500 and/or up to 60 days in jail.

If convicted of a misdemeanor, it is possible to have your record sealed or expunged. Hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney is critical when facing a misdemeanor charge.

Felony Offense Penalties:

  • Capital felony – life in prison without the possibility of parole or death.
  • Life felony – life in prison without parole, probation for the remainder of your life, and a $15,000 fine.
  • First-degree felony – a $10,000 fine, up to 30 years in prison, and 30 years probation
  • Second-degree felony – a $10,000 fine, up to 15 years in prison, and 15 years probation.
  • Third-degree felony – a $5,000 fine, up to five years in prison, and five years probation.

Felony sentences are given based on the Florida Criminal Punishment Code, CPC. The felony is assigned a numerical value based on the ranking system set forth by the Florida legislature. The higher the felony ranks, the more points the CPC scores. A prison sentence is not required if the score is lower than 44. If the score is over 44 points, you could be subjected to the minimum sentence.

Florida 10-20-Life Law

The punishment in Florida for gun charges can also be broken down according to the 10-20-Life Law. This law automatically prompts mandatory minimum sentences if a firearm is carried, discharged, or an individual is shot or killed with that firearm in the commission of particular violent crimes.

  • 10-year minimum-mandatory sentence if a firearm is carried.
  • The 20-year minimum-mandatory sentence if the firearm is discharged.
  • 25-year minimum mandatory up to life if a person is shot and killed.
Tampa Firearms Lawyer

Why You Need an Experienced Firearms Attorney On Your Side

Whether you’re facing a simple misdemeanor or felony weapons charge, having an experienced Tampa criminal defense attorney on your side is key. You’re in good hands when you hire the Tampa criminal lawyers at Buda Law. As a former prosecutor, Andrew Buda knows what the opposing side will throw at you and can provide you with the best defense. Our goal is for your case to have the most favorable outcome, whether receiving probation, avoiding the maximum sentence, having your case dropped or dismissed, or having a non-guilty trial verdict. Your legal team at Buda Law will do everything possible to ensure you receive the most favorable outcome. 

If You Face Criminal Charges for a Firearm or Weapon Offense in Tampa, Call Buda Law Today 

If you’ve been accused of a misdemeanor or felony weapons charge, call the experts at Buda Law. Even misdemeanor firearm charges should not be taken lightly. When you work with our legal counsel, you can have peace of mind knowing that you’re receiving the best representation in the Tampa area. Contact Buda Law at (813) 352-2217 to discuss your weapons case with one of our experienced gun crimes attorneys today. 


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