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Daytona Beach Attorneys Explain How to Avoid Jail Time for Gun Charges


Daytona Beach Attorneys Explain How to Avoid Jail Time for Gun Charges

Getting arrested is scary. Getting arrested for something like illegal gun possession can make folks feel extra anxious. But don’t panic. There are things you can do to help avoid jail time if you’re facing gun charges. Let’s break it down.

First up, hiring a good lawyer is key. The legal system can be confusing AF, so having an experienced attorney in your corner makes a big difference. The lawyers at Smith & Smith Attorneys at Law in Daytona Beach know all the ins and outs of Florida gun laws. They can look at the details of your specific case and figure out the best defense strategy.

One approach is trying to get the charges lessened or dropped. Like let’s say you got busted for carrying a concealed weapon without a permit. Well in Florida, that’s a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison. Yikes! But your attorney may be able to negotiate with the prosecutor to reduce it to a misdemeanor. That means less jail time or possibly just probation. Boom – felony avoided.

Another good defense tactic is focusing on your intent. In other words, showing that you didn’t mean to break the law. For example, if you got arrested for having a gun in your car that you legit didn’t know was there – maybe your friend left it under the seat after going to the range. Your lawyer could argue you had no criminal intent, which might help get the charges dismissed.

There’s also the option of pretrial intervention programs. These are like probation before conviction. You agree to complete community service, counseling, etc. If you successfully finish, the charges are dropped. Sweet deal if you can get it! Florida has both misdemeanor and felony pretrial programs.

What if you have a prior record, though? That can make it tougher. But there are still ways an experienced attorney may be able to keep you out of the slammer. For instance, if your previous convictions were a long time ago or for nonviolent crimes, your lawyer can argue that shouldn’t affect the current case.

Another possibility is challenging issues with the arrest itself – like if the police didn’t have probable cause to stop and search you. If that evidence gets thrown out, the prosecution’s whole case could fall apart. Blammo – charges dismissed!

The bottom line is don’t just plead guilty and assume you’ll do time. Meet with a skilled Daytona Beach defense attorney to explore all your options. The law contains plenty of loopholes if you know where to look. And an attorney who regularly handles gun cases will know how to give you the best shot at avoiding jail.

Florida Gun Laws and Penalties

Let’s get into some specifics about Florida gun laws and penalties. The Sunshine State actually has relatively relaxed firearms regulations compared to other parts of the country. But there are still a number of ways to get crosswise with the law if you aren’t careful.

For example, it’s illegal in Florida for convicted felons to own guns at all. That’s a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Yowza! There are also penalties for giving guns to convicted felons. So loaning your buddy a pistol for target practice when you know he has a record – not smart.

Another big no-no is carrying a concealed weapon without the proper permit. As mentioned earlier, that’s a third-degree felony in Florida, even if it’s just a little .22 in your pocket instead of a huge Magnum. The minimum sentence is actually pretty harsh – three full years locked up.

Under Florida’s 10-20-Life law, if you commit certain crimes with a gun you face an automatic minimum sentence. Like if you pull a gun during a robbery, that’s 10 years just for brandishing it. Fire a shot, and it’s 20 years minimum. Shoot someone, and it’s 25 to life. Yikes x3!

But what if you legitimately didn’t know you were breaking the law? For example, say you borrowed a car with a handgun inside that you had no clue about. Or you took a wrong turn and accidentally carried your licensed concealed weapon into a prohibited area like a courthouse. Believe it or not, you can still be arrested and charged. Crazy right?

That’s where a good defense attorney comes in. If it truly was an innocent mistake, they can often get the charges reduced or dismissed. The key is convincing the judge and prosecutor that you lacked criminal intent. Easier said than done sometimes, but any decent lawyer has strategies to create reasonable doubt.

For instance, if you got popped with a gun in your car that wasn’t actually yours, your attorney may suggest taking a polygraph test. Passing it can show the D.A. you’re telling the truth and didn’t know the gun was there. Or if you accidentally carried someplace prohibited, testimony from friends/family about your law-abiding character can help.

See, the justice system isn’t always just. There are scenarios where good people make honest mistakes but get treated like hardened criminals. An experienced local attorney levels the playing field. They know all the technicalities and loopholes to get charges dropped or penalties minimized.

Possible Defenses

Let’s switch gears and talk about defenses that can work if the arrest was legit. Like say you’re a convicted felon who borrowed a gun for protection after getting death threats. Or you didn’t realize your concealed carry permit expired. While the law may be against you, there are still ways a creative lawyer can help.

For example, in abuse cases, they may argue you only broke the law under duress to protect yourself or your family when threatened. Even though felons can’t legally have firearms, the court may agree keeping yourself safe was more important. Same goes for expired carry permits – better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6, as they say.

Another useful defense is focusing on your character and background. Let’s say you’re a decorated veteran with no priors busted for having an unregistered handgun. Or a single mom who carried pepper spray in her purse for protection. Your attorney can put together testimony from friends, employers, clergy about all the good you’ve done in the community. This can help sway the judge to go easy on you.

The goal is to humanize you and show you aren’t just another “criminal.” You’re a complex person who made a mistake and deserves a second chance. Will this keep you completely out of jail? Sometimes, but not always. But it may persuade the court to give you less prison time or let you serve it under house arrest versus behind bars.

And even if you do get locked up, a good attorney can help minimize the damage. They may negotiate with the D.A. to serve time in the county jail rather than state prison. Or arrange for you to participate in work release or weekend reporting programs so you can keep your job. Little things like this make a big difference in how much the conviction impacts your life.

So if you’re facing gun charges, don’t panic. Get proactive and speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. They can review the evidence and help figure out what options you have. With the right legal strategy, there are always possibilities for reducing penalties or even avoiding jail altogether.

The attorneys at Smith & Smith in Daytona Beach understand Florida’s complex firearms laws inside and out. Their legal team has gotten gun charges dismissed for countless clients over the years. They know all the right moves to make, from picking apart police mistakes to presenting persuasive defenses.

So if you or a loved one got arrested for an illegal weapon, give Smith & Smith a call. Set up a free case evaluation and start exploring ways to avoid becoming just another inmate number. With an experienced lawyer on your side, you can breathe easier knowing every angle is being covered.

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