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Possessing Firearm on School Property



What is Possessing Firearm on School Property?

Possessing a firearm on school property refers to the act of having a firearm in one’s possession while on the grounds of any educational institution. This includes public and private schools ranging from preschools to postsecondary institutions. The law is designed to ensure the safety of students, staff, and visitors by preventing the presence of firearms in educational environments.

Possessing a firearm on school property is the act of having a firearm in one’s possession while on the grounds of any educational institution, including preschools, elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, and postsecondary institutions.

Florida Statutes on Possessing Firearm on School Property

According to Florida Statute 790.115, it is illegal to possess any firearm, electric weapon, or other destructive device on school property, at school-sponsored events, or within 1,000 feet of school grounds. Exceptions are made for authorized personnel and specific circumstances such as firearms programs approved by school authorities.

The statute specifies that:

  • Possession of a firearm on school property is generally prohibited.
  • Exceptions include carrying a firearm in a case to a firearms program or class approved by the school principal or chief administrative officer.
  • Firearms may also be carried in a vehicle pursuant to Florida Statute 790.25(4), although school districts may adopt policies that waive this exception for student and campus parking privileges.

For the purposes of this section, “school” encompasses any preschool, elementary school, middle school, junior high school, secondary school, career center, or postsecondary school, whether public or nonpublic.

Violating this statute by willfully and knowingly possessing a firearm on school property is a felony of the third degree, punishable by severe penalties as outlined in Florida Statute 775.082, 775.083, or 775.084.

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Penalties for Possessing Firearm on School Property

The penalties for possessing a firearm on school property in Florida are severe and can include both criminal and administrative consequences. Violations of this law are generally classified as a third-degree felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison, 5 years of probation, and a $5,000 fine. In certain circumstances, such as discharging a firearm on school property, the offense can escalate to a second-degree felony, carrying even harsher penalties.

What are the penalties for possessing a firearm on school property? Possessing a firearm on school property is a third-degree felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison, 5 years of probation, and a $5,000 fine.

The 2023 Florida Statutes, including Special Session C, specify the stringent repercussions for such offenses. For instance, Florida Statute 790.115 explicitly outlines the criminal penalties for possessing or discharging firearms at school-sponsored events or on school property. This statute is designed to ensure the safety and security of educational environments.

Additional Consequences

Beyond criminal penalties, individuals found guilty of possessing a firearm on school property may face additional consequences such as loss of firearm rights, mandatory community service, and educational programs. For minors, the penalties can include detention and mandatory psychological evaluations.

  • Loss of Firearm Rights: Convicted individuals may lose their right to own or possess firearms in the future.
  • Community Service: Courts may mandate community service as part of the sentencing.
  • Educational Programs: Offenders might be required to attend educational programs on firearm safety and violence prevention.
  • Detention for Minors: Minors found guilty may face detention and mandatory psychological evaluations.

In addition to these penalties, individuals charged with possessing a firearm on school property may also face civil liabilities. Schools and other educational institutions have the right to pursue civil actions against individuals who violate these laws, potentially leading to further financial and legal repercussions.

According to Florida Statute 790.115, possessing a firearm on school property is a third-degree felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison, 5 years of probation, and a $5,000 fine.

Moreover, if a minor is involved, the consequences can be more severe. Under Florida law, any minor under 18 years of age who is charged with possessing or discharging a firearm on school property shall be detained in secure detention unless the state attorney authorizes their release. The minor is also given a probable cause hearing within 24 hours after being taken into custody, and the court may order that the minor continue to be held in secure detention for a period of 21 days.

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During this period, the minor shall receive medical, psychiatric, psychological, or substance abuse examinations, and a written report shall be completed. This ensures that the minor receives the necessary support and intervention to address any underlying issues that may have contributed to the offense.

It’s essential to understand that these penalties are not just limited to the criminal justice system. Schools and other educational institutions often have their own disciplinary policies that can result in expulsion or suspension, further impacting the individual’s educational and personal life.

Minors charged with possessing a firearm on school property may face secure detention, mandatory evaluations, and disciplinary actions from their educational institutions.

Given the severity of these penalties, it is crucial to seek legal representation if you or someone you know is facing charges for possessing a firearm on school property. At Leppard Law, our Orlando Gun Crime Lawyers have extensive experience in handling such cases and can provide the necessary legal support to navigate these complex legal waters.

Understanding the potential consequences and having a skilled attorney by your side can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case. Our team at Leppard Law is dedicated to providing personalized legal representation to ensure the best possible outcome for our clients.

If you or a loved one is facing charges for possessing a firearm on school property, don’t hesitate to contact us for a free consultation. Our experienced firearms defense attorneys are here to help you navigate the legal process and protect your rights.

For more information on related offenses and legal defenses, you can explore our detailed guides on concealed carry laws and strategic defense for weapon-involved offenses.

At Leppard Law, we understand the complexities of firearm-related charges and are committed to providing the highest level of legal representation. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation and let us help you build a strong defense.

Remember, facing a firearm charge can be overwhelming, but you don’t have to go through it alone. Our team is here to support you every step of the way, ensuring that your rights are protected and that you receive the best possible outcome for your case.

Examples of Possessing Firearm on School Property

Understanding the law through examples can help clarify what constitutes possessing a firearm on school property. Here are some hypothetical scenarios:

  • Example 1: A high school student brings a handgun to school in their backpack. Even if the firearm is not used or displayed, simply having it on school grounds violates the law.
  • Example 2: An adult visitor to a school event carries a concealed firearm without authorization. This act is also a violation, regardless of whether the firearm is brandished or used.
  • Example 3: A parent leaves a loaded firearm in their car while parked on school property. If the firearm is discovered, this can lead to charges under the statute.

These examples highlight how easily one can unintentionally violate Florida Statute 790.115, which strictly prohibits the possession of firearms on school property, at school-sponsored events, or within 1,000 feet of school grounds unless authorized.

What does Florida Statute 790.115 prohibit? Florida Statute 790.115 prohibits the possession of firearms on school property, at school-sponsored events, or within 1,000 feet of school grounds unless authorized.

In many cases, individuals may not realize they are in violation of the law. For instance, a person might think that keeping a firearm in their vehicle while attending a school event is permissible. However, according to Florida’s concealed carry laws, this is not the case unless specific conditions are met.

Real-World Implications

Let’s delve into some real-world implications to further illustrate the severity of these charges:

  • Misunderstanding of the Law: A college student legally carrying a concealed weapon forgets to remove it before attending a university event. Despite having a concealed carry permit, they face third-degree felony charges because of the location.
  • Unintentional Possession: A teacher accidentally leaves a firearm in their bag after a weekend trip and brings it to school. Even though there was no intent to use the firearm, the mere possession on school property results in severe legal consequences.
  • Parental Oversight: A parent, unaware of the law, leaves a firearm in their car while picking up their child from school. If discovered, this could lead to charges, impacting their legal standing and firearm rights.

These scenarios underscore the importance of understanding and adhering to the strict regulations set forth by Florida’s firearm laws. Ignorance of the law is not a defense, and the consequences can be life-altering.

If you or a loved one finds themselves facing charges for possessing a firearm on school property, it is imperative to seek legal counsel immediately. At Leppard Law, our experienced firearms defense attorneys are well-versed in Florida’s gun laws and can provide the robust defense needed to navigate these challenging situations.

We understand that mistakes happen, and our goal is to ensure that one misstep does not define your future. Our team will meticulously examine the details of your case, identify potential defenses, and work tirelessly to achieve the best possible outcome.

“Your Voice, Our Mission” – we champion your rights with the tenacity and dedication that has earned us the trust of our community members.

Facing charges related to firearms on school property can be overwhelming, but with the right legal support, you can navigate the complexities of the legal system. Contact Leppard Law today for a free consultation and let us help you protect your rights.

For more information on related topics, you can explore our guides on improper exhibition of a firearm and discharge of firearm in public.

Remember, one call to our top-rated defense attorneys can make all the difference. Schedule your consultation today and let us provide the support and legal expertise you deserve.


Defenses Against Possessing Firearm on School Property Charges

Facing charges for possessing a firearm on school property can be daunting, but several defenses may be available depending on the circumstances:

Common Defenses

  • Lack of Knowledge: The defendant was unaware that the firearm was in their possession or on school property. This defense is particularly relevant if the firearm was placed in the defendant’s belongings without their knowledge or consent. Proving lack of knowledge can be challenging but not impossible, especially with the right legal representation.
  • Authorization: The defendant had explicit authorization from school authorities to possess the firearm for a sanctioned event or program. According to Florida Statute 790.115, exceptions are made for authorized personnel and specific circumstances such as firearms programs approved by school authorities. If you were participating in a school-sanctioned activity, this defense could be pivotal.
  • Unlawful Search: The firearm was discovered through an illegal search and seizure, violating the defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights. If law enforcement officers did not have a valid warrant or reasonable suspicion to conduct the search, any evidence obtained may be inadmissible in court. This defense can significantly weaken the prosecution’s case.
  • Self-Defense: The firearm was possessed for the purpose of lawful self-defense in a situation that warranted it. While this defense is more complex, it can be applicable in scenarios where the defendant genuinely believed they were in imminent danger and had no other means of protection.

What are common defenses against possessing a firearm on school property charges? Common defenses include lack of knowledge, authorization, unlawful search, and self-defense, depending on the specifics of the case.

Each of these defenses requires a thorough understanding of the law and the ability to present compelling evidence. An experienced Orlando Gun Crime Lawyer can evaluate the specifics of your case to determine the most effective defense strategy and help you navigate the complexities of the legal system.

Scales of Justice

When facing charges for possessing a firearm on school property, it is crucial to have a comprehensive evaluation of your case. This involves a detailed review of the circumstances surrounding the incident, the evidence against you, and any potential violations of your rights.

An effective legal strategy may include:

  • Challenging Evidence: Scrutinizing the evidence presented by the prosecution, including the methods used to obtain it. If the evidence was gathered unlawfully, your attorney could file a motion to suppress it.
  • Witness Testimonies: Gathering testimonies from witnesses who can corroborate your version of events or provide information that casts doubt on the prosecution’s case. Witnesses can include school staff, students, or other individuals present during the incident.
  • Expert Testimonies: Utilizing expert witnesses to challenge the prosecution’s evidence or provide alternative explanations for the presence of the firearm. Experts can offer insights into the legality of the search, the defendant’s state of mind, or the context of the incident.

For example, if you were accused of possessing a short-barreled rifle on school property, an expert could testify about the firearm’s specifications and whether it meets the legal definition under Florida law.

Mitigating Factors

In some cases, mitigating factors can play a crucial role in reducing the severity of the charges or penalties. These factors can include:

  • No Prior Criminal Record: If the defendant has no prior criminal record, this can be a significant mitigating factor. Courts may be more lenient with first-time offenders, especially if the incident appears to be an isolated mistake.
  • Cooperation with Authorities: Demonstrating cooperation with law enforcement and a willingness to comply with legal procedures can positively influence the court’s perception of the defendant. This includes providing truthful information and complying with any court orders or conditions.
  • Remorse and Rehabilitation: Showing genuine remorse for the incident and taking steps towards rehabilitation, such as attending educational programs or community service, can also be beneficial. Courts often consider the defendant’s efforts to make amends and prevent future offenses.

For instance, if you are charged with storing or leaving a loaded firearm within reach of a minor, demonstrating that you have taken steps to secure firearms in the future can be a mitigating factor.

Why Choose Leppard Law?

At Leppard Law, we understand the gravity of firearm charges and the impact they can have on your life. Our experienced attorneys are dedicated to providing personalized and compassionate legal representation. We treat our clients like family, always putting their best interests first and fighting for the best possible outcome for their case.

We have a proven track record of successfully defending clients against firearm-related charges, including improper exhibition of a firearm and weapon-involved offenses. Our team leverages its extensive knowledge and experience to craft strategic defenses tailored to each client’s unique situation.

If you or a loved one are facing charges for possessing a firearm on school property, don’t navigate this challenging situation alone. Contact Leppard Law at 407-476-4111 to schedule a free consultation and discuss your case with our skilled attorneys. We are here to provide the support and legal expertise you need to protect your rights and secure the best possible outcome.


Infographic depicting the words Possessing Firearm on School Property


What is the penalty for possessing a firearm on school property in Florida?

The penalty for possessing a firearm on school property in Florida is generally classified as a third-degree felony. This can result in up to 5 years in prison, 5 years of probation, and a $5,000 fine. In more severe cases, such as discharging the firearm, the charge can escalate to a second-degree felony with harsher penalties.

Are there any exceptions to the law against possessing a firearm on school property?

Yes, there are exceptions to the law. Authorized personnel and specific circumstances, such as firearms programs approved by school authorities, are exempt. Additionally, the law allows for the possession of a firearm in a vehicle if it is not readily accessible for immediate use.

Can a minor be charged for possessing a firearm on school property?

Yes, minors can be charged for possessing a firearm on school property. If a minor is found with a firearm on school grounds, they can be detained in secure detention and face severe legal consequences. The penalties can include detention, mandatory psychological evaluations, and other legal repercussions.

What should I do if I’m charged with possessing a firearm on school property?

If you are charged with possessing a firearm on school property, it is crucial to seek legal representation immediately. An experienced attorney can help evaluate your case, explore possible defenses, and guide you through the legal process to ensure your rights are protected.

Understanding the intricacies of firearm laws can be challenging. If you find yourself facing charges, consulting with an Orlando Gun Crime Lawyer can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case. Our team at Leppard Law is here to provide the support and legal expertise you need. Contact us today at 407-476-4111 to schedule a free consultation.

Explore additional areas of practice that we specialize in to understand how we can assist you with various legal issues:

Improper Exhibition of a Firearm Concealed Carry Laws
Strategic Defense for Weapon Involved Offenses Defend Against Weapon Display Allegations
Discharge of Firearm in Public Motion for Return of Firearm
Furnishing Weapons to Minors Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon
Altering a Firearm’s Serial Number Using a Firearm While Under the Influence
Discharging Any Destructive Device Possession of Short-Barreled Rifle
Making a Fake Bomb Threat Threat to Throw or Discharge Destructive Device
Reckless Discharge of a Firearm Possession of Firearm in Violation of Injunction

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Contact Leppard Law for Your Firearm Defense

At Leppard Law, we understand how overwhelming it can be to face charges for possessing a firearm on school property. Our dedicated team of Firearms Defense Attorneys is here to provide the personalized legal support you need. We treat our clients like family, always prioritizing their best interests and fighting for the most favorable outcomes.

When you choose Leppard Law, you’re not just getting legal representation; you’re gaining a trusted ally who knows your case inside and out. Our commitment to excellence has earned us numerous accolades, and we are proud to be recognized among the best in the field.

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Legally Reviewed by Joe Easton

Expert Florida Firearms 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 Firearms case is not just defended but championed with dedication and expertise.

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