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Possession of Firearm by Convicted Felon


West Palm Beach Possession of a Weapon by a Convicted Felon Attorney David W. Olson

It is illegal for an individual with a felony conviction to possess a firearm, ammunition, electric weapon or chemical weapon, as proscribed in Florida Statute 790.23. A conviction for violating the statute can potentially result in a second degree felony. Additionally, if the accused has a previous conviction for violating the statute it can result in an enhanced penalty – a first degree felony and a potential life sentence.

Possession of weapons charges are challengeable, particularly on the following grounds: whether there was actual possession, construction possession, or no possession at all. It is advisable to consult with a highly experienced and knowledgeable attorney who has successfully represented clients charged with weapons offenses before.

Attorney David W. Olson has more than 30 years of experience representing clients charged with felonies and misdemeanors, including weapons offenses, violent crimes, assault, murder, drug charges, DUI, dealing in stolen property, theft offenses, internet crimes, juvenile matters and more. Attorney Olson offers a free case review.

Florida Statute 790.23 Felons and delinquents; possession of firearms, ammunition, or electric weapons or devices unlawful.

(1) It is unlawful for any person to own or to have in his or her care, custody, possession, or control any firearm, ammunition, or electric weapon or device, or to carry a concealed weapon, including a tear gas gun or chemical weapon or device, if that person has been:

(a) Convicted of a felony in the courts of this state;

(b) Found, in the courts of this state, to have committed a delinquent act that would be a felony if committed by an adult and such person is under 24 years of age;

(c) Convicted of or found to have committed a crime against the United States which is designated as a felony;

(d) Found to have committed a delinquent act in another state, territory, or country that would be a felony if committed by an adult and which was punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding 1 year and such person is under 24 years of age; or

(e) Found guilty of an offense that is a felony in another state, territory, or country and which was punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding 1 year.

(2) This section shall not apply to a person convicted of a felony whose civil rights and firearm authority have been restored.

(3) Except as otherwise provided in subsection (4), any person who violates this section commits a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

(4) Notwithstanding the provisions of s. 874.04, if the offense described in subsection

  1. has been committed by a person who has previously qualified or currently qualifies for the penalty enhancements provided for in s. 874.04, the offense is a felony of the first degree, punishable by a term of years not exceeding life or as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

Understanding Statute 790.23

The statute prohibits felons from:

  • Owning, having in his or her care, having custody of, possessing, or controlling
  • Any firearm, ammunition, electric weapon or device
  • Carrying a concealed weapon, including a tear gas gun or chemical weapon or device

What is a firearm?

A firearm is any weapon, including a starter gun, which can expel a projectile. Antique firearms are excluded, unless used in the commission of an offense.

What is the Difference Between Actual and Constructive Possession?

Florida defines actual and constructive possession in Chapter 10.15, Florida Standard Jury Instructions.

Actual possession:

  1. the object is in the hands of or on the person, or
  2. the object is in a container in the hand of or on the person, or
  3. the object is so close as to be within ready reach and is under the control of the person

Constructive possession:

  1. Constructive possession means the object is in a place over which the defendant has control or in which the defendant has concealed it.

        To prove the offense, as per theFlorida Standard Jury Instructions, the State must prove two elements beyond areasonable doubt:


        1.  The defendant had been convicted of a felony,

        After the conviction, the defendant knowingly:

               a.    Owned or had in his care or had custody or possession or control of the firearm, electric weapon or device, or ammunition, or

               b.    Carried a concealed weapon

Concealed Weapons

It is illegal for a convicted felon to carry a concealed weapon. Concealed weapons include those weapons listed above as well as the following:

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

Florida’s 10-20-Life Laws

Under this law, a felon convicted of physically possessing a firearm on his or her person will potentially serve a minimum mandatory three year sentence.

Defenses Against Felon in Possession of a Firearm

An experienced attorney may challenge whether the accused had actual possession of the weapon. If the weapon was not found on the person of the accused, reasonable doubt may exist as to whether the accused had possession at all. If a weapon was found in an area in which there were several people, an argument may potentially be made that the weapon did not belong to the accused. There are numerous defenses that may be utilized as a case unfolds and develops. Speak to your attorney about your specific case.

West Palm Beach Criminal Defense and Weapons Attorney David W. Olson

For more than three decades, Attorney David W. Olson has provided aggressive, effective legal representation to adult and juvenile clients charged with a wide range of felonies and misdemeanors, including weapons charges, drug offenses, violent crimes, theft offenses, sex offenses and more.

Attorney Olson is the recipient of numerous professional accolades, including:

Client Endorsements:

“David is not only kind and compassionate, but also knowledgeable, hardworking and trustworthy. He is a good listener and definitely spent quality time on me and my case. I felt like an important person to him and that is huge when you retain an attorney. I would recommend David to family, friends and anyone else seeking counsel.”

“David was a tireless advocate and given his experience, was able to focus on the key elements of my case. He is the best person you can have on your side.”

Always Pursuing the Best Resolution Possible

Attorney Olson understands that people make mistakes. He also understands that in many instances, innocent people are charged with offenses they did not commit. Attorney Olson believes that every individual is entitled to the best legal defense possible. It is Attorney Olson’s duty – and privilege – to provide thorough, effective, compassionate legal representation to his clients. He will always pursue a resolution that is the most beneficial to his clients.

Depending on the client’s case and circumstances, there are often numerous alternatives to incarceration. These may include pretrial diversion programs, probation, community service, payment of restitution, counseling and treatment, drug court, plea negotiations and more. In cases that do go to trial, Attorney Olson is a highly experienced, knowledgeable and effective litigator. In many instances Attorney Olson has been able to negotiate with the State Attorney and have charges dismissed, particularly for first time offenders.

Attorney Olson represents clients in West Palm Beach, Palm Beach County, Boca Raton, Delray Beach, Pompano Beach, Broward County, Fort Lauderdale, Miami-Dade County and throughout South Florida. Attorney Olson welcomes Spanish speaking clients. For a free, no-obligation case review, call The Law Offices of David W. Olson at 561-833-8866.


Florida Statute 790.23 (2015)
Chapter 10.15, Florida Standard Jury Instructions

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