Improper Exhibition of a Weapon Attorney in Tampa, FL
Improper exhibition of a weapon is a misdemeanor offense, a relatively minor crime in the scheme of Florida’s criminal court system. But penalties can still be substantial: potential jail time, probation and fines. If you have been charged with this crime, do not act on your case until you have secured the assistance of experienced legal counsel.
If you or a loved one are facing improper exhibition of a weapon charges in the Tampa, FL, area, call Armando Edmiston, an experienced Tampa improper exhibition of a weapon criminal defense lawyer, today.
Improper Exhibition of a Weapon: Definition in Tampa, FL
Under Florida law, it is illegal to exhibit a weapon to another person in a rude, careless, angry or threatening manner that is not an act of necessary self-defense. In order to prove this crime, prosecutors must establish three elements beyond a reasonable doubt: that a defendant had a dangerous weapon (the relevant statutes lists these as dirks, swords, sword canes, firearms, electric weapons or “other weapons”); that the defendant exhibited the weapon in a rude, careless, angry or threatening manner; and that the defendant did so in the presence of another person. Improper exhibition of a weapon is a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by as much as one year in jail and a maximum $1,000 fine.
Improper Exhibition of a Weapon: Defenses in Tampa, FL
The primary defense to improper exhibition of a weapon is self-defense. If the exhibition of the weapon was in fact an act of necessary self-defense, this can be argued both in pretrial hearings and at trial. Florida has relatively strong self-defense laws, and a defendant is allowed to use force to protect herself, her property or third persons as long as the force used is proportionate to the threat posed by the person attacking her, her property or third persons. Under Florida Stand Your Ground law, a defendant may use force to respond to an attack even outside the home, where most states would require she attempt to retreat before responding with force.
Improper Exhibition of a Weapon: Other Weapons Offenses in Tampa, FL
Improper Exhibition of a Weapon is closely related to other weapons offenses, such as carrying a concealed weapon. Florida issues concealed carry licenses that allow many people to carry concealed weapons, but not everyone qualifies, and licenses do not permit carrying concealed weapons everywhere. Carrying a concealed weapon to a prohibited location even with a license is a second-degree misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of 60 days in jail. Carrying a concealed weapon anywhere without a license is a third-degree felony with a maximum penalty of five years in prison. This does not apply to carrying stun guns or self-defense chemical sprays such as pepper spray. Possession of a firearm by a convicted felon is another common weapons offense in Florida. Under this law, it is a second-degree felony for a convicted felon to possess a firearm, ammunition, or electronic weapon such as a stun gun, or to carry a concealed weapon unless the person’s civil rights and firearm authority have been restored. The maximum penalty is 15 years in prison. If the person’s underlying felony conviction involved benefitting, promoting or furthering the interests of a criminal gang, the illegal possession of a firearm will be treated as a first-degree felony punishable by as many as 30 years.