Many people in South Florida are confused about the state’s firearms laws and whether or not they are allowed to carry concealed weapons. Since the firearms laws are confusing and somewhat contradictory, some people face firearms charges when they carry guns to protect themselves. If you are charged with a weapons offense, you should contact an experienced Fort Lauderdale carrying concealed firearm lawyer at Hassett & Associates, P.A. Attorney Kenneth P. Hassett has successfully represented many people who have been charged with concealed carry offenses and has helped them to receive favorable outcomes. One such case is discussed below.
Man Arrested for Firearm in His Carry-on Bag at Airport
On Sept. 6, 2020, Terrance Mitchell (not his real name) went to the Ft. Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport to catch an outbound flight to Denver, Colorado around 9:45 a.m. He was a ticketed passenger and went to Terminal #4 with his carry-on bag. When he reached the TSA Golf checkpoint, the TSA security screener saw a firearm in Mitchell’s bag on the security x-ray. The TSA security screener then discovered a 40-caliber Smith & Wesson M&P 40 Shield firearm inside of the bag upon further investigation.
While the firearm did not have a round inside of the chamber, it did have a magazine with seven rounds of ammunition inside of it. When asked if the bag and firearm were his, Mitchell confirmed that they were. He did not have a valid concealed carry license in Florida or from any other state. Mitchell was informed that he had violated Fla. Stat. § 790.01(02) for carrying a concealed firearm without a license. This offense is a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison. Mitchell was placed under arrest and transported to the Broward County Jail. After his arrest, he retained Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyer Kenneth P. Hassett to defend him. Attorney Hassett immediately got to work and negotiated with the state. He convinced the prosecutor not to file formal criminal charges against his client.
Concealed Carry Laws in Florida
Under Fla. Stat. § 790.01(02), you can be charged with a felony for knowingly carrying a concealed firearm if you do not have a license to do so in Florida. This offense is punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. The law does not apply when a person is evacuating during a state of emergency declared by the governor under an evacuation order. The law also does not apply to people carrying a chemical spray for self-defense or a nonlethal stun gun, dart-firing stun gun, or another type of nonlethal electric device for self-defense purposes.
The prosecuting attorney has the burden of proving each of the elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt to secure a conviction, including the following:
- The defendant knowingly carried a concealed firearm on his person or about his person.
- The firearm was concealed in such a way that another person could not ordinarily see it.
- The defendant did not have a valid license to carry a concealed firearm.
If you are charged with this offense, it is critical for you to retain an experienced criminal defense attorney who understands Florida’s concealed carry laws and is capable of defending against them.
Contact a Fort Lauderdale Carrying a Concealed Firearm Lawyer
Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyer Kenneth P. Hassett has more than 29 years of experience defending his clients against criminal charges and has a thorough understanding of the state’s firearms and other criminal laws. If you are charged with carrying a concealed firearm without a license or are facing any other type of criminal charge, call Hassett & Associates today at (954) 791-3939.