Articles Posted in Firearms

Last week, in Delray Beach, a man was arrested after what could have been a routine traffic stop went terribly wrong.
During the traffic stop, a gun allegedly dropped out of the glove compartment of the vehicle which had been pulled over; apparently in a panic, the driver of the pulled-over car recklessly sped off down the road, giving officers even more of a reason to place him under arrest.

Eventually, as our Delray Beach and Hollywood criminal defense lawyers know, the man was arrested and booked in Palm Beach County jail, where he remains held on $12,000 bail.
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It would certainly be an understatement to say that the relationship between law enforcement departments and civilians in this country has taken a hit as of late.
With questionable run-ins having taken place across the nation, as our Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defense lawyers know, tensions are running high.

In this atmosphere, a new iPhone case which is shaped like a gun, is causing a stir. Law enforcement departments, and even one prominent U.S. Senator, have called for federal bans on the dangerous smartphone case.
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Our Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defense lawyers know that anti-terrorism security checks often overlap with domestic law enforcement, in no place more than in the airport. Unfortunately, as it relates to that combination, Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport is receiving a lot of unfavorable attention.
For the second year in a row, the airport has ranked in the top 10 of all airports across the country (3 of which are in Florida) in terms of number of guns seized by security personnel, according to the Transportation Safety Administration.

In 2014, security officers confiscated 49 firearms at security checkpoints at the Ft. Lauderdale airport, compared with 45 the year before. But are all of the gun seizures that took place at the airport evidence of willful terrorist, or even criminal, activity?
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Florida’s mandatory minimum gun laws might have initially been proposed and passed as a way to deter gun crimes and punish those who commit them, but as our Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defense lawyers know, they often have unintended, unjust consequences.
As was highlighted in a national broadcast by CBS this past weekend, the case of Floridian Lee Wollard epitomizes why mandatory minimum sentencing laws are not the crime-preventing tools of justice you might think they are.

Because of these strict rules that don’t allow for a judge’s discretion, a man is spending 20 years behind bars simply for firing a warning shot in an effort to lawfully protect his family.
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Many of the laws currently on the books were drawn up years ago, and today have unintended, undesirable effects. Mandatory minimum sentencing laws, for example, often target honest individuals who might have made simple mistakes, while criminal laws should in fact be designed to obstruct deliberately criminal behavior.
In late 2011, a 27-year-old mother of two (in the photograph to the right) was pulled over in New Jersey during a routine traffic stop. Instead of being given a ticket, the young woman was arrested for and charged with unlawful posession of a firearm and bullets. Now, she faces mandatory prison time. Here’s the problem: the gun she was arrested for carrying was legal, licensed, and registered.

Our Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert have been following the case of Shaneen Allen, the single mother caught in the web of an antiquated criminal justice system. Her trial, which begins on August 5th, will allow her to fight for her rights as an honest, hard-working individual who has fallen victim to illogical and ineffective laws.
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A thought-provoking legal argument from a courtroom in Palm Beach County is heading to the Florida Supreme Court. The case begs the question of whether or not a convicted criminal can invoke the state’s Stand Your Ground law as justification for shooting someone.
The controversial law has been receiving a great deal of attention recently, playing crucial roles in the recent Florida criminal cases first of George Zimmerman and then of Michael Dunn, both of whom fatally shot an individual they claimed posed a legitimate threat to their safety. In those cases, as our Palm Beach and Broward criminal defense attorneys understand, the defendants might have done questionable things prior to the incident, but neither was a convicted felon.

The case to be decided by the Florida Supreme Court is that of 25-year-old Palm Beach resident Brian Bragdon, a convicted felon who shot and killed two people in 2012; Bragdon claims it was in self-defense but the prosecutors disagree. Without a doubt, this ruling — and the arguments to be made leading up to the decision — will have a lasting impact on the criminal justice system in the Sunshine State.
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Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, the controversial piece of legislation that received widespread attention following the death of Trayvon Martin last year, was upheld this past Thursday by a group of Florida lawmakers who rejected a proposal to repeal the law. Additionally, the legislative committee expanded the existing law, allowing a person who believes they are in to fire a warning shot.
The “Stand Your Ground” law, as it’s commonly called, is section 776.013.03 of the Florida State Statues. The law declares that a person who is not engaged in an unlawful act has no duty to retreat, and that they may meet force with force (including deadly force) if the person reasonably believes that the force is necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm to themselves or someone else – or to prevent the commission “of a forcible felony.”

Our South Florida criminal defense attorneys are well aware of the polarizing nature of the law; those who oppose it criticize the law as one that allows for and even sanctions unjust killings. Those who support the law, on the other hand, argue that the law enables them to exercise methods of self-defense.
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A suspected gang member has been arrested for theft of a firearm in connection with a Hollywood burglary, while Broward County officials continue to search for two others believed to have also been involved.
At this time, the Sun Sentinel reports the 19-year-old suspect has been charged with burglary of a dwelling and larceny of a firearm. The residence he is accused of burglarizing is less than a mile from where he lives. In addition to the theft of two rifles and three shotguns, authorities say the culprits took jewelry, a laptop and an iPad. All firearms were reportedly loaded at the time they were heisted.

While burglary is a serious felony charge, as is the theft of electronics and jewelry, the most severe charges in this case are going to stem from the fact that guns were involved and that this was possibly in connection with gang activity.
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The George Zimmerman trial, the blockbuster legal juggernaut of this past summer, gave rise to many questions relating to the nation’s gun laws and Florida’s gun laws in particular. How could Zimmerman have shot the unarmed Trayvon Martin and not be punished? Why does Florida have a “Stand Your Ground” law – for that matter, what is the “Stand Your Ground” law? How could someone with a gun be in fear of someone without a gun? A multitude of these questions led to the conclusion of many that gun laws need to be firmer; that we need more restrictive laws on who can have a gun, and tougher laws on those who use guns.

In the midst of all of the back-and-forth between opponents and supporters of George Zimmerman, there arose the name of a lesser-known woman: Marissa Alexander.

Ms. Alexander is another individual who was charged after she discharged her weapon during an incident in which she was fearful for her life. There are two key differences between the case of Ms. Alexander (tried in 2012) and that of Mr. Zimmerman (tried in 2013). First, while Ms. Alexander’s weapon discharging didn’t lead to the death – or injury – of anyone, Zimmerman’s did. Second, shockingly, Ms. Alexander was sentenced to twenty years in prison, while Zimmerman was sent home a free man.
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A former police officer pleaded guilty to federal weapons charges, including that he sold firearms to undercover agents at gun shows and, at least once, in a gas station parking lot. gun4.jpg

Our Broward County criminal defense lawyers know that the laws surrounding weapons and weapons sales are somewhat complex, but can be more lax at gun shows, depending on the county.

The state of Florida allows each individual county to set the requirements for gun show background checks. In Broward, an ordinance was enacted in 2007 that requires a five-day waiting period for all gun sales, which are contingent upon passing a national background check.

That last part, according to Florida Statute 790.065, means that the individual can’t have previously been convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor for domestic violence. It also means that he or she can’t have been adjudicated mentally “defective,” or in other words lacking normal intelligence or suffering from some mental illness.

And under federal law, specifically 18 U.S.C. 923, no one can engage in the business of importing, manufacturing or dealing firearms or ammunition unless he or she has received a license from the attorney general to do so.

Weapons charges can be prosecuted at either the state or federal level – it really depends on the primary investigating agency.

Gun owners who sell weapons for a hobby are allowed by state law to sell a limited number without a license, but they can only do so as a hobby. Once it becomes a more significant part of a person’s income, it is then considered a part-time business and, as such, requires more licensing and compliance with federal regulations.

Depending on where you are and the nature of your sales, gun laws are not only controversial, they can be quite complex. This is why you should never assume that you have no choice but to plead guilty. A skilled defense attorney will be able to analyze your case from all angles to determine whether prosecutors indeed have enough evidence to convict you, or whether the charges can be plead down or whether you have a good shot at winning if your case goes to trial.

In this case, according to the Sun-Sentinel, a 55-year-old retired Miami Beach officer reportedly sold 11 firearms to agents who were acting undercover in the three years between 2009 and 2012. Prosecutors say there were records at the officer’s home that indicated he had actually sold hundreds of guns to buyers at gun shows in Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Miami, Orlando and Fort Myers, without ever conducting the background checks that are required by licensed dealers.

According to prosecutors, the officer at one time did have a federal firearms license. However, it had expired and he had not taken the time to renew it. He maintained that he never sold to anyone who didn’t have a permit to carry conceal weapons. Such documents would reflect that a state agency did in fact conduct a background check at some point prior to the sale.

Of course, that’s not full-proof and it’s not the same as a formal background check.

And the state did reportedly have evidence that the former officer knew his actions were illegal. In fact, he allegedly told them so during one of the deals. In all, they say he was paid more than $6,100 for 11 handguns.
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