In Florida, if you have been charged with a crime, you have an opportunity to plead an affirmative defense. An affirmative defense is an assertion that, if true, will defeat the prosecution’s complaint, even if the allegations set forth in the complaint are true. In short, even if everything written in the complaint is true and you actually committed the crime, there are certain instances where you can plead an affirmative defense that will dismiss the action.
In criminal cases, these affirmative defenses usually involve self-defense or defense of others, necessity, or even the stand-your-ground laws in Florida. Specifically, if you have been charged with a concealed weapon violation, having a concealed weapon permit is considered an affirmative defense that can defeat the complaint in Florida.
Florida law allows eligible citizens to carry concealed weapons with a state-issued permit. A 21-year-old who can demonstrate competency with a firearm and does not have any felony convictions or other limiting characteristics will likely be eligible to receive a permit.
A concealed carry permit in Florida allows the holder to have the license for seven years and to carry the weapon in most public areas. However, there are many specifically enumerated exceptions to this, mostly regarding governmental lands or properties. Some places concealed weapons cannot be carried in Florida include:
- Police stations and courthouses;
- Meetings of government or public school district;
- Any school, college, or professional athletic event;
- Most colleges or universities; and
- Federal lands.
Those who carry concealed weapons lawfully are required to have their permit on their person when they carry their weapon, in addition to another form of identification.
Those who do not have concealed carry permits cannot carry concealed weapons without violating the law. If a person is suspected, caught, or charged with carrying a concealed weapon and convicted, they will be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor. If this weapon is a firearm, it will be a third-degree felony. However, if a person is charged with carrying a concealed weapon and they have a valid concealed carry permit, that person can plead an affirmative defense to the charges against them.
Pleading an affirmative defense to a concealed weapon charge may require admitting you had the concealed weapon in the first place, but the essence of the affirmative defense is that the result will be a dismissal, regardless of the truth or falsity of the claims. Having a concealed weapon permit as an affirmative defense to carrying a concealed weapon may seem obvious, but it took until 2013 for the courts to make this connection clear. Making it clear that having a permit will negate a concealed weapon charge will help future litigants who have been charged with doing something they have a right to do.
Orlando Gun Charge Defense Attorneys
Our knowledgeable gun charge defense attorneys at Moses & Rooth can help you assert an affirmative defense if you have a concealed weapon permit. Even in the event that you do not, we will tactfully advocate a defense on your behalf and ensure the best outcome possible given your circumstances and criminal history. We have the experience necessary to defeat even the most serious gun charges and will advocate to have your gun rights recognized, permits reinstated, and make sure that you are being treated fairly. Contact our Orlando, Florida office today to ensure your legal rights are being protected.