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Possessing, Displaying, or Threatening to Use a Hoax Weapon of Mass Destruction While Committing or Attempting to Commit a Felony



Understanding the Crime: Possessing, Displaying, or Threatening to Use a Hoax Weapon of Mass Destruction

Possessing, displaying, or threatening to use a hoax weapon of mass destruction while committing or attempting to commit a felony is a serious offense under Florida law. This crime involves the use of a fake weapon designed to appear as a weapon of mass destruction to intimidate or coerce others during the commission of a felony.

According to Florida Statute 790.166, a hoax weapon of mass destruction is any device or object that appears to be, or is represented as, a weapon of mass destruction but is actually an inoperative facsimile. The elements required to prove this crime include:

  • The defendant possessed, displayed, or threatened to use a hoax weapon of mass destruction: This means that the defendant had control over the object or acted in a manner that suggested they could use it.
  • The defendant was committing or attempting to commit a felony at the time: The crime must occur during the commission or attempted commission of another felony, adding to the severity of the offense.
  • The device or object appeared to be a weapon of mass destruction: The object must look like a genuine weapon of mass destruction, thereby creating fear and panic among individuals.

What is a hoax weapon of mass destruction? A hoax weapon of mass destruction is any device or object that appears to be, or is represented as, a weapon of mass destruction but is actually an inoperative facsimile.

Understanding these elements is crucial for anyone facing charges related to hoax weapons of mass destruction. The law aims to prevent the use of such devices to create undue fear and chaos, especially during the commission of a more serious crime. This is why the penalties are severe, reflecting the potential harm and disruption caused by such actions.

It’s important to note that the definition of a hoax weapon of mass destruction includes objects that by their design, construction, or characteristics appear to be or contain a weapon of mass destruction. This can include fake bombs, containers labeled as containing toxic chemicals, or any other device intended to mimic a deadly weapon.

For example, if someone uses a fake bomb during a bank robbery, that individual could be charged with possessing, displaying, or threatening to use a hoax weapon of mass destruction. The intent behind using such a device is to enhance the intimidation factor, thereby increasing the chances of successfully committing the primary felony.

Given the significant legal implications of this charge, it is crucial to understand all aspects of the law and the potential defenses available. If you or someone you know is facing such charges, consulting with an experienced Orlando Gun Crime Lawyer can provide the necessary legal guidance and representation.

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Our team at Leppard Law: Weapons Defense Attorneys understands the complexities involved in these cases. We are committed to offering comprehensive legal support to ensure the best possible outcome. Contact us at 407-476-4111 to discuss your case in detail.

Penalties for Possessing, Displaying, or Threatening to Use a Hoax Weapon of Mass Destruction

The penalties for possessing, displaying, or threatening to use a hoax weapon of mass destruction while committing or attempting to commit a felony are severe. Under Florida law, this crime is classified as a second-degree felony. Understanding the gravity of these penalties is crucial for anyone facing such charges.

Potential Sentences

If convicted, a person could face:

  • Up to 15 years in prison
  • Up to 15 years of probation
  • Fines up to $10,000

Additionally, the court may impose restitution for any costs and damages resulting from the criminal conduct, including the mobilization of law enforcement or emergency services.

Penalties for Hoax Weapons of Mass Destruction

Under Florida’s Criminal Punishment Code, a Level 7 offense is associated with a minimum sentence of 56 points on the sentencing guidelines score sheet. Here’s how the sentencing points typically affect the sentence:

  • Point Threshold: For non-state prison sanctions, an offender must score less than 44 points.
  • Sentence Calculation: If the total sentencing points are 44 or more, the formula to calculate the minimum prison sentence in months is (total points – 28) x 0.75.
  • Level 7 Offense: Given that a Level 7 offense starts with 56 points, it already exceeds the 44-point threshold. Therefore, using the formula, the minimum sentence calculation would be (56 – 28) x 0.75 = 21 months. Thus, for a Level 7 offense, the minimum guideline sentence would typically start at 21 months in state prison, assuming no other points are added for additional offenses, legal status violations, or other factors.

What are the penalties for possessing, displaying, or threatening to use a hoax weapon of mass destruction? The penalties include up to 15 years in prison, up to 15 years of probation, and fines up to $10,000.

It’s important to note that the severity of these penalties underscores the seriousness with which Florida law treats the offense of using a hoax weapon of mass destruction. Beyond the immediate legal consequences, a felony conviction can have lasting impacts on your personal and professional life.

For example, a felony conviction can affect your ability to find employment, secure housing, or even obtain certain licenses. The stigma attached to a felony record can follow you for years, making it crucial to mount a robust defense. Our Orlando gun crime lawyers at Leppard Law understand the complexities of these cases and are dedicated to providing the best possible defense for our clients.

Furthermore, the court may require restitution for any financial costs incurred by law enforcement or emergency services as a result of the hoax. This can include the cost of mobilizing bomb squads, evacuating buildings, and other emergency measures taken in response to the perceived threat.

Given the serious nature of these penalties, it is essential to have experienced legal representation. At Leppard Law, we have a team of skilled attorneys who are well-versed in Florida’s weapons laws and committed to defending your rights. Whether you are facing charges for weapon-involved offenses or need assistance with firearm discharge allegations, we are here to help.

Our attorneys at Leppard Law have a proven track record of successfully defending clients against serious charges. We understand the intricacies of the law and are adept at identifying weaknesses in the prosecution’s case. Whether it’s challenging the evidence, questioning the intent, or exploring constitutional violations, we leave no stone unturned in our efforts to defend our clients.

If you or a loved one are facing charges related to a hoax weapon of mass destruction, don’t wait to seek legal help. Contact Leppard Law today at 407-476-4111 to schedule a free consultation. Our compassionate and dedicated attorneys will work tirelessly to protect your rights and achieve the best possible outcome for your case.

For more information on related topics, explore our detailed guides on improper exhibition of a firearm and concealed carry laws. These resources provide valuable insights and can help you understand the complexities of Florida’s firearm laws.

Examples of Possessing, Displaying, or Threatening to Use a Hoax Weapon of Mass Destruction

To better understand this crime, consider the following hypothetical examples:

  • A person robs a bank while brandishing a fake bomb designed to look like a real explosive device.
  • During a home invasion, the perpetrator threatens the occupants with a container labeled as containing a deadly biological agent, which is actually harmless.
  • An individual attempts to hijack a vehicle by displaying a device that appears to be a chemical weapon but is, in fact, a harmless prop.

In each of these scenarios, the use of a hoax weapon of mass destruction is intended to intimidate and coerce victims, thereby enhancing the severity of the underlying felony.

Let’s delve deeper into these examples to see how they fit within the legal framework:

Bank Robbery with a Fake Bomb

Imagine a person walks into a bank, demanding money while displaying a device that looks like a bomb. Even though the device is a hoax, the fear and panic it generates are real and can lead to severe legal consequences. This act would fall under Florida Statute 790.166, which classifies such behavior as a second-degree felony. For more information on similar cases, visit our section on making a fake bomb threat.

Home Invasion with a Hoax Biological Agent

In another scenario, a perpetrator breaks into a home and threatens the residents with a container labeled as a dangerous biological agent. Although the substance inside is harmless, the intent to instill fear and gain compliance makes this a serious offense. Understanding the nuances of such charges can be complex, which is why consulting our Orlando Weapons Crimes Lawyer can be crucial.

What is a hoax weapon of mass destruction? A hoax weapon of mass destruction is any device or object that appears to be, or is represented as, a weapon of mass destruction but is actually an inoperative facsimile.

Hijacking with a Fake Chemical Weapon

Finally, consider an individual who tries to hijack a vehicle using a device that looks like a chemical weapon. The mere appearance of danger is enough to cause significant distress and potentially severe legal ramifications. For a detailed understanding of related offenses, check out our page on hoax bomb offenses.

These examples illustrate the broad scope of actions that can fall under the category of using a hoax weapon of mass destruction. The intent to intimidate and coerce is a common thread in all these scenarios, making the crime particularly egregious in the eyes of the law.

Given the complexities and severe penalties associated with these charges, it is vital to have a robust defense strategy. Our team at Leppard Law is experienced in handling such intricate cases. We specialize in various aspects of weapons offenses, from strategic defense for weapon-involved offenses to more specific charges like possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

If you or someone you know is facing charges related to a hoax weapon of mass destruction, don’t hesitate to reach out. Contact Leppard Law today at 407-476-4111 for a free consultation. Our experienced attorneys are here to provide the legal support and representation you need.

For more insights into related legal matters, explore our resources on firearm discharge in public and defending against weapon display allegations. These articles offer valuable information that can help you understand the complexities of Florida’s weapons laws.


Defenses Against Charges of Possessing, Displaying, or Threatening to Use a Hoax Weapon of Mass Destruction

Facing charges for possessing, displaying, or threatening to use a hoax weapon of mass destruction can be daunting. However, several defenses may be available to individuals charged with this crime. An experienced criminal defense attorney can evaluate the specifics of the case to determine the most effective defense strategy.

Common Defenses

Potential defenses include:

  • Lack of Intent: Arguing that the defendant did not intend to use the device as a hoax weapon of mass destruction.
  • False Accusation: Demonstrating that the defendant was wrongly accused or that the device in question does not meet the legal definition of a hoax weapon of mass destruction.
  • Insufficient Evidence: Challenging the prosecution’s evidence to show that it does not sufficiently prove the elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.

Each case is unique, and the appropriate defense will depend on the specific circumstances and evidence presented.

What is a hoax weapon of mass destruction? A hoax weapon of mass destruction is any device or object that appears to be, or is represented as, a weapon of mass destruction but is actually an inoperative facsimile.

Lack of Intent

One of the primary defenses is demonstrating a lack of intent. To be convicted of possessing, displaying, or threatening to use a hoax weapon of mass destruction, the prosecution must prove that the defendant intended to use the device to intimidate or coerce others. If the defense can show that the defendant had no such intent, it may be possible to secure an acquittal or a reduction in charges. For example, if the accused was unaware that the object could be perceived as a weapon of mass destruction, this could serve as a strong defense. Understanding the nuances of intent in these cases is crucial, and our Orlando Weapons Crimes Lawyer can provide the expertise needed to navigate this complex area of law.

False Accusation

False accusations can arise from misunderstandings, misidentifications, or malicious intent. Demonstrating that the defendant was wrongly accused involves gathering evidence to show that the device in question does not meet the legal definition of a hoax weapon of mass destruction. This may include expert testimony, forensic analysis, and witness statements. Our team at Leppard Law has extensive experience in defending against weapon display allegations and can help build a robust defense to counter false accusations.

Insufficient Evidence

Challenging the sufficiency of the evidence is another effective defense strategy. The prosecution must prove each element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. If the evidence is weak or unreliable, the defense can argue that the prosecution has not met its burden of proof. This may involve scrutinizing the credibility of witnesses, the accuracy of forensic evidence, and the procedures followed by law enforcement. For example, if the device was not clearly identifiable as a hoax weapon of mass destruction, this could cast doubt on the prosecution’s case. Our Orlando Firearm Lawyer is skilled in identifying and exploiting weaknesses in the prosecution’s evidence.

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Role of Expert Witnesses

In many cases, expert witnesses can play a crucial role in the defense. These experts can provide testimony on the technical aspects of the device in question, helping to demonstrate that it does not meet the legal definition of a hoax weapon of mass destruction. For instance, a forensic expert might analyze the construction and materials of the device to show that it could not reasonably be perceived as a weapon of mass destruction. The testimony of an expert can be a powerful tool in challenging the prosecution’s case and supporting the defense’s arguments. At Leppard Law, we work with a network of expert witnesses to provide the strongest possible defense for our clients.

Given the complexities and severe penalties associated with charges of possessing, displaying, or threatening to use a hoax weapon of mass destruction, having skilled legal representation is essential. An experienced attorney can navigate the intricacies of Florida law, develop a tailored defense strategy, and advocate fiercely on behalf of the defendant. At Leppard Law, we are dedicated to providing compassionate and effective legal representation for our clients. Whether you are facing charges for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon or any other weapons-related offense, our team is here to help.

Contact Leppard Law today at 407-476-4111 for a free consultation. Our experienced attorneys are ready to provide the legal support and representation you need. For more information on related legal matters, visit our resources on concealed carry laws and firearm discharge in public.


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FAQ – Possessing, Displaying, or Threatening to Use a Hoax Weapon of Mass Destruction While Committing or Attempting to Commit a Felony

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the legal definition of a hoax weapon of mass destruction?

According to Florida Statute 790.166, a hoax weapon of mass destruction is any device or object that appears to be, or is represented as, a weapon of mass destruction but is actually an inoperative facsimile.

What penalties can I face for possessing, displaying, or threatening to use a hoax weapon of mass destruction while committing a felony?

The penalties for this crime include up to 15 years in prison, up to 15 years of probation, and fines up to $10,000. Additional restitution may also be required for any costs and damages resulting from the criminal conduct.

Can I be falsely accused of using a hoax weapon of mass destruction?

Yes, false accusations can occur due to misunderstandings, misidentifications, or malicious intent. An experienced attorney can help gather evidence to demonstrate that the device in question does not meet the legal definition of a hoax weapon of mass destruction.

What are common defenses against charges of possessing, displaying, or threatening to use a hoax weapon of mass destruction?

Common defenses include lack of intent, false accusation, and insufficient evidence. Each case is unique, and the appropriate defense will depend on the specific circumstances and evidence presented.








Possessing, Displaying, or Threatening to Use a Hoax Weapon of Mass Destruction While Committing or Attempting to Commit a Felony

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Possessing, Displaying, or Threatening to Use a Hoax Weapon of Mass Destruction While Committing or Attempting to Commit a Felony

Contact Us for Your Defense

Facing charges for possessing, displaying, or threatening to use a hoax weapon of mass destruction while committing or attempting to commit a felony can be overwhelming. At Leppard Law, we understand the gravity of your situation and are here to offer the support and legal expertise you need.

What does it look like to have a personal relationship with your attorney? Someone who has your back when things get tough? A lawyer that knows you as well as they know your case? At Leppard Law, we treat our clients like family. We always put their best interests first and fight for the best possible outcome for their case.

But you don’t have to take our word for it – experience it for yourself. If you or a loved one have been charged with a criminal offense, contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

Call us now at 407-476-4111.

At Leppard Law, we have been named as one of the “Top Criminal Defense Lawyers in Orlando” by Expertise and highlighted among the “Top 10 Criminal Defense Attorneys near Orlando, FL” by Thumbtack for 2024. Our dedication to our clients has also earned us the title of “Awesome Attorneys Orlando” by Orlando Family Magazine from 2019 to 2023.

Our attorneys are renowned for their legal skills and client-focused approach. With over 60 years of combined experience, we have defended thousands of Floridians accused of crimes. Our team is committed to providing extraordinary customer service and achieving the best possible outcomes for our clients.

Don’t let the stress of criminal charges weigh you down. Rest easy and pick up the phone. We’re here to help!

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Legally Reviewed by Joe Easton

Expert Florida Weapons Attorney

Legally reviewed by Joe Easton and the content team, this article reflects the firm’s 60 years of combined criminal defense expertise. Joe Easton, with his extensive experience and strategic prowess in DUI and criminal defense, offers more than just legal representation; he brings a commitment to turning legal challenges into triumphs. His approach, combining tenacity in the courtroom with personalized client care, ensures your Weapons case is not just defended but championed with dedication and expertise.

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