What Happens if a Convicted Felon is Caught with a Stolen Firearm?

July 17, 2023 Criminal Defense

A convicted felon is defined as an individual who has been found guilty of a felony offense in a court of law. In Florida, a felony is a serious offense that is punishable with imprisonment for more than one year. This contrasts with a misdemeanor, which is a less serious offense that is only ever punishable by less than a year in jail.

Once a person has been convicted of, pleads guilty to, or entered a plea of nolo contendere, to a felony offense in Florida, they are considered a “convicted felon.” Once you have been labeled as a convicted felon, there are specific restrictions and limitations in place against you. For instance, you may be prevented from purchasing a firearm, find difficulty in obtaining certain licenses or permits, or have limitations on finding a job or place to live.

If a person is a convicted felon, what happens if they are caught with a firearm? More than that, what happens if the firearm in their possession is considered stolen?

This blog post will explain the potential charges a convicted felon may face for these added charges.

Potential Charges

If a convicted felon is caught with a stolen firearm in Florida, several legal consequences can occur. It is important to note that the specific penalties can vary based on the circumstances of the case, the nature of the offenses, and the individual’s prior criminal history. The potential legal consequences include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Possession of Stolen Firearm – Possessing a stolen firearm is a criminal offense, regardless of the individual’s felon status. However, it may be charged as grand theft of the third degree. Under Florida Statute Section 812.014, stealing a firearm is considered a third-degree felony.
  • Felon in Possession of a Firearm For a convicted felon, being caught in possession of a firearm is a serious offense. Florida Statute Section 790.23 explains that convicted felons are prohibited from possessing or controlling any firearm, ammunition, or electric weapons. If a convicted felon is caught in possession of any weapon, firearm, ammunition, or electronic weapon or device, they can be charged with a second-degree felony. This can also be charged by Federal law.
  • Enhanced Penalties for Prior Convictions – If the convicted felon has previous felony convictions, these prior offenses can lead to enhanced penalties. Florida has a system of enhanced sentencing known as the “Three Strikes” law. Under this law, individuals with several qualifying felony offense convictions can face increased penalties, including mandatory minimum prison sentences up to life in prison. The following conditions must be met for the Three Strikes law:
    • The offender was previously convicted of two or more violent felony offenses such as murder, sexual battery, robbery, carjacking, aggravated battery, kidnapping, and other serious violent crimes; and
    • The current offense the offender has been charged with is a violent felony offense.
  • Other Related Charges – Depending on the circumstances, additional charges could be applied, such as conspiracy charges if there is evidence of involvement in a criminal enterprise.

It’s crucial to consult with a qualified criminal defense attorney if you are facing charges of possession of a firearm as a convicted felon.

Example Case

Leon County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) and Narcotics Unit executed a search warrant on June 20, 2023, for an ongoing narcotics investigation in southern Leon County. According to the report, detectives with North Star Multijurisdictional Task Force and High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas program (HIDTA) discovered the following illegal items at the home of 43-year-old Glenn Dilworth:

  • 4 grams of cocaine
  • Beretta .25 handgun
  • Cobra .380 (was reported stolen from Columbus, GA)
  • Marijuana

Dilworth has been arrested and is currently facing the following charges:  

Contact a Defense Attorney in Tallahassee, Florida

Getting convicted of a felony offense is extremely serious, as it will leave the mark of a convicted felon on your criminal record. That means if you are suspected or arrested for another crime later, you may face harsher penalties and sentencing due to your criminal history. One important detail to note is that it does not matter if the firearm is stolen for a charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. If you find yourself in this predicament, seeking legal representation should be your first step.

A Florida defense attorney can provide personalized legal advice based on the specific details of the case and help navigate the criminal justice system to achieve the best possible outcome. Contact Pumphrey Law Firm today and receive a free consultation regarding your case. Call us at (850) 681-7777 or leave us a message on our website.

Written by Karissa Key

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