Articles Posted in Restoration of Gun Rights

In Jacksonville, and throughout the State of Florida, a bad decision that leads to a felony conviction can strip a person of his or her civil rights for life. Without a restoration of civil rights, a convicted felon cannot possess a firearm, serve on a jury, vote, hold public office, and more. Perhaps the most hurtful rights to have taken from a convicted felon are the rights to vote and bear arms. The Florida Constitution takes the right to vote as a result of a felony conviction, while Florida Statute 790.23 makes it illegal for a felon to possess a firearm and creates a three (3) year mandatory minimum sentence that must apply for those convicted of the offense. Although it is possible to have one’s civil rights restored, the number of convicted felons having their rights restored has dropped in recent years, according to

statue-of-liberty-2-1420901-m.jpgAutomatic restorations implemented by former Governor Charlie Crist were done away with soon after current Governor Rick Scott came into office in 2011. Since Scott took office, the number of civil rights restorations has dropped significantly. There have only been approximately 1200 since Governor Scott was elected to office, compared to more than 150,000 during Crist’s administration.

The Office of Executive Clemency is the Florida agency that oversees the restoration of civil rights for Florida convicted felons. There are similar, but slightly different procedures that exist, depending on the level of civil rights restored and the seriousness of the underlying offense; each requires an investigation into the applicant that wishes to have his or her civil rights restored.
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Jacksonville Criminal AttorneyGiven the worry surrounding the Colorado movie theater slaying, background checks for concealed weapons permits have jumped tremendously across the country. Recent data indicates the jump is as much as 14% in Florida. That translates to an extra 2,386 requests for permits in the week since the shooting at The Dark Knight Rises premier in Aurora.

People across the country have moved to get concealed weapons permits partially out of a desire for protection and partially out of fear that increased government regulations may be lurking in the not so distant future. While the whole country has seen a surge in gun purchases, the bump in Florida puts the state very close to an important milestone.

Currently, Florida has around 950,000 citizens with concealed weapons permits which means the state is getting very close to becoming the first state in the nation to issue one million such permits. According to the Florida Agriculture Commissioner, Adam Putnam, Florida issues around 15,000 such permits each month which should mean the state crosses the million mark around the end of the year.

The most armed county in the state is, perhaps unsurprisingly, Miami-Dade, which had almost 85,000 concealed weapons permits issued at the end of June. Broward County is a close second with 74,439 concealed weapon permit holders and Palm Beach County comes in third with 60,315 permits.

The state already has a high percentage of gun ownership and corresponding high numbers of concealed carry permits, about one in every 17 Floridians can legally carry a firearm. Despite the high numbers, the government has taken steps to make it even easier for residents to get such permits. As of July 1, a new state law lowered the cost for a concealed weapons permit from $85 to $70, and a renewal license from $70 to $60.

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Jacksonville Firearm Crime Defense LawyerMany convicted Florida Felons have changed their ways and have led successful and productive lives following their criminal convictions. Nevertheless, until their gun rights have been restored, they are not permitted to have in their care, custody, possession, or control a firearm, electric weapon/device, or ammunition. These restraints on a person’s Gun Rights are listed under Florida Statute ยง 790.23. However, the question arises, “Can I be charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon if it is my spouse who owns the firearm?”

Whether or not one can be charged with a Jacksonville Possession of a Firearm by a convicted felon that his or her spouse owns will depend on the definitions of “care, custody, possession or control.” ‘Care’ and ‘custody’ mean immediate charge and control exercised by a person over the named object.” The term “possession” is defined as the ability “to have personal charge of or exercise the right of ownership, management, or control over an object.”

Under Florida Law, a Jacksonville convicted felon can either actually or constructively possess a firearm. Actual possession occurs when the firearm is on the convicted felon’s person or so close that it is readily within his or her reach. Just because the firearm is very close to the convicted felon, there is no actual possession of the firearm if he or she is not in a position to exercise control over it. One is in constructive possession if the firearm is located in a place that the felon has concealed or a place that the felon has control over.

In many Jacksonville Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon cases, a felon is arrested for possessing his or her spouse’s firearm. In most of those cases, the spouse keeps the firearm in a non-secure location in the house. This location is normally a place that the felon has access. Thus, the felon is arrested and charged. However, a Jacksonville Firearm Crime Defense Lawyer can defend this case based upon the fact that the felon may not have been aware that the firearm was located within the house.

Additionally, if the spouse keeps the firearm in a secure location in which the felon does not have access to it and could never gain access to it, the convicted felon would not have any ability to control the firearm and could not be in possession of it. For example, a woman owns a firearm and keeps it in a locked safe. The safe is bolted down to the floor and is kept in a locked room. Her husband is a convicted felon. He does not know the combination to the gun safe and does not have a key to the room. Thus, it would be absurd to believe that he is in constructive possession of the gun. On the other hand, if the gun is kept in a box in the couple’s bedroom closet that both people share, the state would have a better argument that the Jacksonville convicted felon was in possession of the firearm.

I am in no way stating that storing a firearm in the manner provided above will resolve a Jacksonville convicted felon from criminal liability. However, it would create a better defense. Therefore, if you are facing charges for the possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, contact a Jacksonville Firearm Crime Defense Lawyer today. It could prove to make all the difference in your Jacksonville Criminal case.

As a Jacksonville Criminal Defense Lawyer I work zealously to represent my clients and provide the best defense possible, given their current situation. However, my job is complicated when Social Media Sites are utilized by the State Attorney’s Office to prove their case. A recent example of Social Media negatively impacting a Florida Criminal Case occurred Brevard County.

Convicted Felon, Christopher Wharf, was arrested last Thursday for possession of a Firearm by a convicted felon, possession of ammunition by a convicted felon, and possession or use of a weapon while under indictment. How do you ask he was arrested for such crimes? Pictures and Videos posted on Facebook!! No the police did not arrive while he was firing the weapon, or actually see him in physical control. But, since pictures and video clearly show Wharf with a weapon and discharging said weapon, the Criminal Defense Attorney has a huge burden to overcome.

As a Criminal Defense Attorney in Duval, St. Johns, Clay, and Nassau Counties I advise them about the availability of Social Media Sites information to the State Attorney and the negative impact that could have on one’s Florida Criminal Case. This is a prime example of this advice. Who knows if the Police would have discovered Wharf’s extracurricular activities if he had not posted pictures and videos of his activities on the Internet, especially Facebook.

In the unfortunate event you are facing a Duval, St. Johns, Clay, or Nassau County Criminal Charge, contact a Jacksonville Criminal Defense Lawyer to review your case, represent you in court, and Protect you Rights. This call could prove to be invaluable in your Florida Criminal Case.

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