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When A Pardon Isn't An Option: Possession of a Firearm by a Former Felon

Feb. 1, 2021

You may have heard about how recently, rapper Lil Wayne, whose real name is Dwayne Michael Carter Jr., pleaded guilty to possessing a firearm as a former convicted felon just a few short months ago.

“Your honor, I plead guilty,” Lil Wayne said to District Court Judge Kathleen Williams.

He had previously been found traveling with a gold-plated handgun that was loaded with six rounds of ammunition. Lil Wayne claimed the weapon had been given to him as a Father’s Day gift.

Lil Wayne was facing up to 10 years in prison. His sentencing was to be March 4, however....he was pardoned by President Donald Trump just before President Trump left office.

Not everyone can be as fortunate as Lil Wayne to where a Presidential Pardon is a viable option for a weapons charge. What should you do if you or a loved one is arrested and charged with possession as a former felon?

Possessing a weapon as a convicted felon is a serious charge and as such can have serious consequences. Having a good criminal defense attorney can make a world of difference in properly defending yourself. If you or a loved one face charges for weapon possession, contact our Pensacola, Florida criminal defense lawyers to learn more about how we can help.

What is Possession of a Firearm or Weapon by a Convicted Felon?

Possession of a firearm or weapon by a convicted felon, in the state of Florida, is defined by Florida Statute 790.23, “Felons and delinquents; possession of firearms, ammunition, or electric weapons or devices unlawful.”

The law applies to all persons having been adjudicated guilty of a felony. This law does not apply to persons whose right to possess a firearm has been restored.

What are the Potential Punishments for Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon?

The potential punishments for a felon found to be in possession of a firearm or weapon under Florida Statute is up to fifteen (15) years in prison. If the person is found to have actual possession of the firearm, the mandatory minimum sentence is three (3) years.

What Does it Mean to Possess a Weapon?

Possessing a weapon can be understood a few ways: actual possession, constructive possession, and joint possession.

Actual possession occurs when the weapon is in the hand of the person, the holster or container the weapon is held by the person, or the weapon is in such close proximity to the person and under their control.

Constructive possession occurs when the weapon is in a location the person controls and is understood to have occurred if the person knew the weapon was at the location and they had control over the weapon.

Join possession occurs when two or more persons have either actual or constructive possession of a weapon.

What Firearms or Weapons are Illegal for Felons to Possess?

A few definitions outline what weapons are illegal for a felon to possess in the state of Florida.

A “firearm” is defined broadly as any weapon that can or can be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive.

A “weapon” is any device such as a slingshot, tear gas gun, dirk, metallic knuckles, chemical weapon, or other deadly weapon. The exception to this definition is the common pocket knife and kitchen utensil.

“Ammunition” includes metallic or nonmetallic casings and primer, bullets, shot, and/or gunpowder.

An “electric weapon or device” is any device that is designed or can readily be configured to harm or inflict injury.

Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney to Help

If you or a loved one has been accused of possessing a firearm or weapon as a convicted felon, contact Panhandle Defense Firm and experiences criminal defense Attorney Tom McGuire.

We can help you lower your charges and fight your case. Call us today.