Help from a Fort Pierce Firearm Possession Lawyer
While people in Florida have rights under the Second Amendment to possess and own firearms, there are some legal restrictions on this right. Many people are criminally prosecuted each year in Florida for firearms offenses and face harsh penalties. People who are charged with firearms offenses should get help from an experienced Fort Pierce firearm possession lawyer at the law firm of Jonathan Jay Kirschner, Esq. & Associates as soon as possible. A recent case that happened in Port St. Lucie demonstrates how seriously firearms offenses are taken by Florida law enforcement authorities.
High School Student Charged with Possessing a Stolen Handgun at School
On Jan. 14, the Port St. Lucie Police Department announced that a high school student was arrested for possessing a stolen handgun on his high school’s campus. The student was a 15-year-old boy who attended Treasure Coast High School.
The Treasure Coast High School’s school resource officer reportedly spotted the teenager walking with two other students on campus around 9 a.m. after classes had already started. The resource officer approached the students and spoke with them. He allegedly smelled the scent of marijuana and alerted school administration officials. The officials then searched the teenagers’ backpacks and discovered a loaded handgun in the charged student’s bag.
The handgun was a .22-caliber gun that was reported stolen in Indian River County in Oct. 2020. The tenth grader refused to answer any questions asked by the police and was arrested and charged with several felony gun crimes, including possession of a firearm at school, grand theft of a firearm, and carrying a concealed weapon. The other two students were not charged with any crimes. After his arrest, the boy was transported to the St. Lucie Regional Juvenile Detention Center.
Felony Firearm Possession Offenses Faced By the Student
The teenager was charged with three offenses, including possessing a firearm on school property, grand theft of a firearm, and carrying a concealed weapon. Under §790.115, Fla. Stat. (2021), possessing a weapon on school property or at a school-sanctioned event is a third-degree felony.
Under §812.014, Fla. Stat. (2021), people who steal firearms can be charged with a third-degree felony grand theft regardless of the value of the stolen firearm. Under §790.01, Fla. Stat. (2021), carrying a concealed firearm without a license is also a third-degree felony unless an exception applies.
Third-degree felonies in Florida carry up to a maximum of five years in prison, a fine of up to $5,000, and probation for up to five years. When an adult is charged with multiple offenses, the prosecutor might seek to stack the charges and ask the court to sentence the person to consecutive sentences. However, a minor such as this teenager might instead be adjudicated in juvenile court instead of being prosecuted in adult criminal court.
Prosecutors can directly file criminal charges in adult criminal court for minors ages 16 or 17 who are charged with felony offenses. For minors who are 14 or 15, prosecutors can choose to directly file in adult criminal court when they are charged with serious felony offenses, including murder, carjacking, and others. One of the offenses for which a minor who is 14 or 15 can face direct filing in adult criminal court is possession of a weapon on school property.
Talk to a Fort Pierce Criminal Lawyer
Whether you are a minor or an adult facing firearms charges, it is critical for you to retain an experienced Fort Pierce gun possession lawyer as soon as possible. If you are convicted, the potential penalties are severe. Attorney Jonathan Jay Kirschner, Esq. has 38 years of experience defending people against serious criminal charges and can help you understand the best defense strategies to use. Call us today to schedule a consultation at (772) 489-8501.