Carl Williams Hurst, 44, of West Palm Beach, Fl., had the charge against him for possessing a firearm as a convicted felon dismissed. Hurst, like many throughout Florida, are arrested and charged without enough properly obtained evidence to prove guilt. Because of this lack of evidence, the State must rightfully have the case against the accused dismissed, for lack of sufficient evidence.
In Jacksonville, there are many who have been convicted of felonies and have since changed their ways, served their time, and have moved on and reentered society. Some wish to obtain and possess firearms for their own protection and the protection of their family. However, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon is itself a felony. In Florida, the crime is significantly harsh, the ultimate sentence for the crime determined by whether the person actually possessed the firearm or constructively possessed the firearm.
Actual Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon, carrying a three-year minimum-mandatory prison sentence occurs if the firearm is:
– Close as to be within ready reach and is under the control of the person,
– In the hand of or on the person, or
– In a container in the hand of or on the person.
Constructive possession, however, occurs if the firearm is in a place over which the accused person has control, or in which the accused person has concealed it.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit has ruled that possession of a firearm by a convicted felon is not a crime of violence under the Bail Reform Act. Furthermore, there must be evidence that one intended to possess the weapon. The following demonstrates a situation where what might seem like intent to the State, simply is not beyond a reasonable doubt: Two homeless felons are sleeping in an abandoned house in Jacksonville. A police officer receives a call for a noise coming from the abandoned house and investigates. Upon arrival, the officer sees both homeless felons sleeping, one with a gun two feet from his side on the floor, the other with a gun on the table next to him. In this case, the officer would arrest both felons for trespassing, run their record and find that they are felons. Most of the time when law enforcement and the State Attorney sees a situation like this, they charge possession a firearm by a convicted felon in Jacksonville.
However, just because a gun is near a felon, that does not necessitate that the felon intended to possess it. Recently, a felon in possession charge was thrown out by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit because, although the defendant was found sleeping with one gun on his lap and another leaning against his leg, the house they were in was essentially open to the public and someone else could have placed the guns there.
In the hypothetical above, if the two felons obtained an experienced attorney, the truthfulness of the matter would be shown: in this case, the two felons could not have control over the house, as they were asleep, they could not be proven to have placed the guns there themselves, regardless of whether their fingerprints are on the weapon or not, because fingerprints cannot be scientifically dated.
Sometimes, in cases of police misconduct, when the officer has physically abused the arrestee, whether felon or non-felon, the officer will trump up the charges adding that one was in possession of a weapon or that one was in possession of drugs. Officers all over the nation have been found adding fabricated or false evidence to police stops, making a chargeable crime where none existed before. For some, the act is placing drugs in a suspect’s clothing pocket; for others, the act has been intricate plans of fingerprint planting or evidence of another’s wrongdoing being destroyed. Whatever the reason, one must not always assume that the charges are proper, or that the “evidence” supposedly there to convict, is actually valid.
In these sorts of situations, felons will be facing major sentences for relatively minor offenses that fall under the felony category. The light at the end of the tunnel can seem dim or non-existent. If one obtains an experienced Jacksonville gun crimes defense attorney to mount the best defense possible to one’s case, one will have a better chance of making it out of the tunnel with hope for the future, putting the gun charge in the past.
The only logical choice in this situation is to fight the charge. One needs a knowledgeable and experienced attorney to fight the case. Don’t allow your life to be ruined by a gun crime charge. Defend yourself.
The Forbess Law Firm has been aiding clients who face criminal charges in Jacksonville for years and is here to provide aggressive criminal defense to anyone accused of a crime. If you or a loved one requires a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer, contact our firm today. We are available through our website or by calling us at 904-634-0900.