Have you been charged with a gun-related crime in Florida?
If so, this charge can be scary and overwhelming to navigate. It can also carry serious and long-term consequences affecting everything from your future employment to your financial health.
While there are naturally many thoughts filling your mind right now, hiring a gun defense attorney should be one of the first decisions you make. An experienced legal expert will know the state’s gun laws and can help you navigate your next steps.
Today, we’re sharing 10 reasons why this is a smart move, and how hiring one of the best criminal defense attorneys can help.
1. Localized Legal Expertise
How well do you know the ins and outs of Florida gun laws? Unless you work in the legal field full-time, it can be nearly impossible to familiarize yourself with every single statute and regulation. This makes it easier to violate those terms.
Chapter 790 of the Florida Statutes is completely devoted to these requirements. Here, you’ll find critical information concerning the possession and use of a gun in the Sunshine State. In addition to the long-standing mandates, your lawyer will also be up-to-date on the latest news regarding this topic.
For instance, did you know that starting on July 1, 2023, Florida residents are now allowed to carry a concealed gun without a permit? Governor Ron DeSantis signed the bill back in April, effectively doing away with the former training, licensing fees, and background checks that were once necessary to carry a concealed gun.
Keeping up with all of these changes and requirements can be difficult. Your gun defense lawyer will be by your side to explain what the rules are, and how they apply to your case.
2. Strong Defense Strategy
If you’re convicted of violating a Florida gun law, the legal consequences you face could be life-altering. Depending on the crime, you could be charged with a misdemeanor or felony and forced to spend years of your life in prison. In addition, you could also be required to pay hefty fines of up to $15,000.
With stakes this high, it’s unwise to forego legal counsel. Hiring an attorney means getting direct access to someone who knows the law forward and backward. They’ve worked on cases like yours before, and they can help you develop a strong defense strategy against the charges you’re up against.
Even if they’re unable to have your charge dropped entirely, they may be able to uncover valuable evidence that could reduce the severity of your punishment. It’s always smart to work with a qualified and experienced lawyer, especially if a felony conviction could be in your future.
3. Explanation of Charges
If you’re facing felony charges related to a gun, it’s critical to know exactly what you’re up against. The Florida legal system can be complicated and complex, especially when it comes to the different levels of convictions.
In this state, there are five different levels of felonies. These include:
- Capital felonies
- Life felonies
- 1st-degree felonies
- 2nd-degree felonies
- 3rd-degree felonies
Let’s take a look at the charges you could face for each one.
If you’re convicted of a capital felony, you could face life in prison without the possibility of parole. In some cases, you could face the death penalty. Examples of these types of crime include:
- First-degree murder
- Armed kidnapping
- Capital drug trafficking
In addition, some felony crimes can be considered capital felonies if the charge includes death or sexual components.
Being convicted of a life felony can lead to life in prison. You may also be required to pay a fine of up to $15,000. Examples of life felonies can include crimes such as:
- Aggravated sexual assault
- Kidnapping and sexually assaulting a child younger than 13
- Committing sexual battery on a child younger than 12 that leads to serious injuries
- Selling or buying minors for human trafficking
A 1st-degree felony is the third-most serious offense in Florida, after capital and life felonies. These crimes are punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Examples include:
- Aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer
- Drug trafficking
- Home invasion
- Aggravated child abuse
If you’re found guilty of committing a 2nd-degree felony, you could face up to 15 years in prison, along with a fine of up to $10,000. This offense covers crimes such as:
- Possessing a firearm as a convicted felon
- Vehicular homicide
A 3rd-degree felony is punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. This is the least serious type of felony in Florida, with examples that include:
- Aggravated stalking
- Vehicle or firearm theft
- Trespassing while armed
- Felony battery
While these felonies differ in severity and punishment, they can all affect your life. It’s important to have a gun defense lawyer by your side as you navigate the charges, no matter how major or minor they might seem. Depending on the circumstances, they may be able to get your sentence or fine reduced, so you can be one step closer to reclaiming your quality of life.
4. Timeline Knowlege
Florida has strict timelines that control how and when a crime is charged. These are called statutes of limitations.
In general, they are based on the type and degree of crime that’s been committed. For instance, first-degree felony cases must be started within four years of the crime, while second-degree felony cases must begin within three years.
However, there are exceptions. For instance, if the crime in question involved the use of a destructive device that caused injury to another person, the time limit for reporting is 10 years. For capital felonies, life felonies, and any felony that leads to death, there is no limit on when charging documents may be filed.
It’s important for everyone involved in a case to understand how those timelines can affect them. Your lawyer can help you understand the statute of limitations that applies to your case.
5. Court Preparation
An experienced attorney will work their hardest to win every case and help you achieve the best possible outcome. However, they will also be as realistic as possible with you. They will go over all of the potential results that may occur, and what you can expect with each one.
This way, if the court gives you a sentence that isn’t what you hoped for or expected, you will not be blindsided. Your lawyer will guide you through every step of the case and will advise you on the best option as you reach each crossroad. They’ll show you how to make important decisions and work through hard questions as they help you build your case.
6. Protect Your Rights
Gun defense attorneys have worked on cases similar to yours in the past. In fact, many law firms will share testimonials and reviews from past clients directly on their websites, so you can see for yourself what kind of reputation they’ve earned.
With this experience, they’ve also learned firsthand the kind of tactics prosecutors will use to build up their cases. Sometimes, this even means prosecutors violating the rights of the defendant. Your lawyer will watch everyone carefully and monitor their actions to make sure they always comply with the law.
7. Legal Process Knowledge
Did you know that after an arrest, there must be an advisory hearing within 24 hours? At this hearing, a judge will decide whether or not probable cause existed for the arrest. If they find that such cause is present, they will share the terms for the pretrial release.
According to the Florida Constitution, Article I, Section 14, almost all crimes have the right to a pretrial release. However, there are a few exceptions. For instance, someone convicted of a capital offense, such as a homicide, does not have that right.
Another name for pretrial release is bond, or posting bail. In addition to this monetary condition, the judge can also impose non-monetary conditions, such as requiring you to wear an ankle bracelet so GPS monitoring can track your activity. Both measures are put in place to protect the community from harm and encourage you to show up for your court date.
If the judge decides to forego any official pretrial release conditions, this is known as release on recognizance, or ROR. As you can imagine, this is a fast-paced process. These decisions must be made within one full day of your arrest. You need an attorney who can keep up and help guide you through this process.
8. Sound Legal Strategy
Once you hire a gun defense attorney, they’ll get to work creating a solid defense for your case. They will determine what happened how the law applies, and what you need to do next.
Without such counsel on your side, it can be almost impossible to know where to turn or what to do. There are forms to complete, meetings to hold, and evidence to gather. Instead of doing it all alone, trust a qualified lawyer to take the reins for you.
A sound legal strategy is your best defense against gun charges. Miksis Law PLLC offers free consultations that allow you to share the details of your case with someone who knows what to do next. Then, your lawyer will explain how the legal strategy will optimize your outcome and help you achieve the results you want.
Throughout this process, they’ll seek to resolve your case as quickly and efficiently as possible. They know that cases involving gun-related crimes have the potential to escalate, and they’ll work to control tempers, mediate disputes, and resolve issues. As they do, they’ll be sure to keep you in the loop the entire time.
9. Access to Experts
Sometimes, a gun case requires the input and knowledge of a specialized expert. For instance, you may need insight from a medical professional, or a crime scene reconstructionalist.
Their input and advice can be invaluable in helping you build your defense. They may share insights that the jury wasn’t aware of, encouraging them to give your side a second thought. They could even encourage the judge to rule in your favor and dismiss the allegations altogether.
Your lawyer will know who to reach out to because they have those connections already in place. This gives you access to niche-specific professionals who can add credence and validity to your claims. In certain situations, the data they share can help determine the outcome of an entire case.
10. Ongoing Support
Finally, let’s talk about the kind of support your gun defense attorney can provide. Navigating a gun case can be one of the most draining and overwhelming experiences you ever go through.
You need a trusted expert who can lend a sympathetic ear, support you every step of the way, and help guide you through the legal process. Your lawyer will offer advice, resources, guidance, and reassurance to improve your peace of mind. At a time in your life when you need compassion and understanding the most, they’ll be there.
In addition, they can also answer your questions, and you’re sure to have plenty. They’ll explain everything you can expect, and how the case will go. Having this kind of support in your corner is an incredible resource and one that it’s wise to leverage.
Hire a Gun Defense Attorney Today
If you’re facing a gun-related crime, you need the right attorney on your side.
This is an incredibly trying time, and the right legal counsel can make all the difference. Along the way, your lawyer will be there to serve as your go-to resource, offering insight and advice as they craft a strong defense strategy. They’ll also look at your case from every angle, preparing you for possible outcomes.
If you need a gun defense attorney in Florida, reach out to us today. We’ll schedule a free consultation to learn more about your case, so you can take that next step forward in confidence.