What Happens if You Bring a Weapon to the Courthouse?

August 6, 2022 Criminal Defense

Carrying a concealed weapon in Florida carries a weight much heavier than the weapon itself. Getting convicted of a charge for carrying a concealed weapon can lead to harsh consequences such as expensive fines and potential jail time.

So, what happens if a person is caught carrying a concealed weapon into a courthouse? A recent case in Florida explains what can happen when a dagger was found in a man’s shoe when trying to enter a courthouse.

According to Volusia Sheriff’s Office, Austin W. Irvine, 26, attempted to enter the Volusia County Courthouse after 11 am on July 29th, 2022. Irvine placed his belongings in the security bin to be scanned through an x-ray machine, and then tried to walk through the magnetometer. The machine went off, indicating there was something on his person.

Irvine was asked to walk through a second time, in which the machine went off once more. He was then asked to remove his shoes and place them in the x-ray machine. After sending the shoes through to be examined, Deputy Trevor Gamble discovered an 8-inch dagger that was hidden in between the sole of the right shoe.

When Deputy Gamble questioned the man about the knife, Irvine claimed he did not own the pair of shoes, and had no idea whoever he borrowed them from had placed the knife in them. The officer then charged him with carrying a concealed weapon, which was a first-degree misdemeanor charge.

Irvine had an incident in September 2021, where he supposedly used a shotgun to fire off shots at “people who did not exist.” Due to the nature of the incident, Irvine was then placed as the subject of a risk protection order (RPO) by the Volusia Sheriff’s Office. Irvine’s RPO was applied to firearms and ammunition and not other weapons, and was set to expire in September.

In this blog, we will cover what the “red flag” police and risk protection order are, along with the charges for carrying a concealed weapon in Florida.

What is Florida’s “Red Flag” Policy?

Florida passed the “red flag” law in response to the 2018 school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Under the law, judges have the ability to order individuals deemed potentially dangerous to surrender their firearms. Since the law was put into action, it has been applied over 3,500 times through 2020.

The law has been codified under Florida Statute Section 790.401, and has several steps that must be followed. The first step involves the police filling out a petition for a Risk Protection Order. They must also inform the family or household members of the individual, or anyone who may be at risk. After that, there has to be a hearing within fourteen days of filing the petition, where the court must find it clear and convincing that the individual is a threat to themselves or to others. The Risk Protection Order is then presented for 12 months, but can be extended for another 12 months if there is another hearing. Once this has happened the individual must turn in any weapons and ammunition to the police, and they will receive a receipt of what they turned in so they can have it returned once the Risk Protection Order has expired or been vacated.

For everything else you need to know about Florida’s “Red Flag” law, find our blog page here.

Carrying a Concealed Weapon in Florida

Florida Statute 790.001(3) defines a concealed weapon as any device or deadly weapon carried on or about a person in such a manner to conceal it from the ordinary sight of another person. The following is a list of potential weapons that can fall under the statute:

  • Knife
  • Slingshot
  • Metallic knuckles
  • Dirk
  • Billie
  • Tear gas gun
  • Chemical weapon or device

For a jury to prosecute a defendant for carrying a concealed weapon, they must prove the following beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • The defendant knowingly carried on or about his or her person a weapon; and
  • The weapon was concealed from the ordinary sight of another person.

Getting charged with a concealed weapon crime can fall under two categories of penalties: a first-degree misdemeanor or a third-degree felony.

To get convicted of a first-degree misdemeanor charge, the defendant has allegedly carried a concealed weapon or electronic weapon on or about their person. The penalty for a first-degree misdemeanor is up to a $1,000 fine and up to one year in jail.

To get convicted of a third-degree felony charge, the defendant has allegedly carried a concealed firearm on or about their person. The penalty for a third-degree felony charge is up to a $5,000 fine and up to five years in prison.

To find out more about carrying a concealed weapon in Florida, read our informative page here.

Finding a Defense Attorney in Tallahassee, Florida

If you or a loved one has been accused of carrying a concealed weapon in Florida, your first move should be to reach out to a skilled defense attorney in your area. Getting convicted of a criminal charge can result in pricey fines and potential jail time. The best way to build a strong defense for your case is to work with an experienced defense attorney. Don Pumphrey and his team at Pumphrey Law Firm have represented clients all across the state of Florida, and will work tirelessly to ensure your freedom. For a free consultation call (850) 681-7777 or leave an online message today.

Written by Karissa Key

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