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Carrying a Weapon While Committing a Crime Is a Felony

By Hager & Schwartz, P.A.

September 30, 2020

Weapons are dangerous objects, as they have the potential to cause great bodily harm or even death. As such, Florida law provides that a person faces a second felony charge for having a weapon on them during the commission of a felony. Thus, if you are engaged in or attempting to engage in conduct that may constitute a felony and you use or display a gun, you’ll be charged with the underlying offense as well as having a weapon. If you’re found guilty of both crimes, you may face penalties for each.

What the State Must Prove

As with any offense, if you’re charged with having a weapon during the commission of a crime, the State has the burden to prove that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

The State must show that you:

  • Either
    • Displayed, used, or attempted to use a
      • Weapon, which includes objects such as knives, brass knuckles, or tear gas guns;
      • Firearm, which the law defines as any object that uses an explosive charge to eject a projectile; or
      • Electric weapon or device, which is an instrument that uses an electrical current to cause injury or death; or
    • Had a concealed weapon or firearm on you; and
  • Possessed or used the weapon or firearm during the commission of a felony

The law does not apply to specific felony offenses, including, but not limited to:

  • Antitrust violations,
  • Unfair trade practices,
  • Restraints of trade, or
  • Non-support of dependents

The Penalties for Carrying or Using a Weapon During a Crime

The State takes seriously any felony offense that involves the use of a firearm or other weapon. Therefore, engaging in such conduct is itself a felony.

The degree offense is charged at depends on the type of weapon used during the commission of the crime:

  • Third-degree felony: If you had a weapon or electric weapon on you at the time of the offense, you’ll be facing a third-degree felony. If you’re convicted, a court can sentence you to no more than 5 years in prison and/or fine you up to $5,000.
  • Second-degree felony: If you had a firearm during the commission of the offense, you’ll be charged with a second-degree felony. Upon conviction, you may be subjected to a prison sentence not to exceed 15 years and/or a fine of no more than $10,000.

The potential penalties increase for subsequent convictions. In this case, the crime is a first-degree felony, which carries a term of imprisonment of up to 30 years and/or a maximum fine of $10,000.

If you have been charged with a weapons offense or a felony in Fort Lauderdale, reach out to Hager & Schwartz, P.A. Our lawyers have experience as former prosecutors and can provide a unique insight into your case.

Call us at (954) 840-8713 or contact us online today.