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Granny's Got a Gun - Possession of a Firearm by Convicted Felon and Concealed Firearms in Florida

The recent appellate case of Rose v. State from the First District Court of Appeal, in which the person was convicted of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, is a scary reminder of how interactions with law enforcement can go horribly wrong, fast.

The Defendant was convicted of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. The defense theory was that both the firearm and the car belonged to his grandmother, and that the defendant did not know the gun was in the car. The case dealt with an impermissible comment by the government. The Appellate court agreed and reversed the conviction.

The point for purposes of this blog is not that the government made an inappropriate comment that led to reversal. The point is that this person had to spend a long time in prison only after taking his case to trial and losing first. This person had a legitimate theory of defense such as "Hey Granny's Got a gun, I borrowed her car and she left it in there".

The entire defense at trial was that "he did not knowingly possess the firearm; the defense theory, based on the testimony of both Defendant and his grandmother, was that both the firearm and the car belonged to his grandmother, and he did not know the gun was in the car until he was being pursued by police on a traffic charge and he reached into the glove compartment to retrieve the vehicle's registration." How scary is that?  You borrow someone's car and get a minimum mandatory sentence because grandma forgot and the jury in the face of reasonable doubt, convicted.

The manner in which this firearm was carried by grandma was perfectly legal for grandma. How many of us have misplaced our cell phones or left a wallet or purse in the car?  Can your grandmother honestly say that she has never left her purse in the car?

The lesson for lawyers is that you must object and move for a mistrial whenever a prosecutor approaches your client's invocation of any rights as indicative of guilt and to remember that most constitutional rights can be safe harbor provisions.

The lesson for Joe Citizen is that the answer to can I search your car is always "NO". The second lesson is to hire a lawyer if you have been arrested for a firearm offense.

Possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and possession of a concealed weapon without a permit or license are very serious felony offenses which demand serious attention. If you or someone you know is charged or has been arrested for a firearm offense, click , call or fill out the form at the top right corner today. I offer free consultations in all criminal and traffic cases.  Hourly rates are available.

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Attorney Christian A. Straile, LLC
352.371.9141 Gainesville
352.694.4529 ocala