Many 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 § 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.