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Possessing, Selling, Using, or Attempting to Use a Weapon of Mass Destruction



Understanding the Crime: Possessing, Selling, Using, or Attempting to Use a Weapon of Mass Destruction

In Florida, the crime of Possessing, Selling, Using, or Attempting to Use a Weapon of Mass Destruction is defined under Florida Statute 790.166. This statute covers a range of activities involving weapons designed to cause significant harm or disruption. These weapons include devices intended to release toxic chemicals, biological agents, or radiation. The law also addresses hoax weapons intended to appear as weapons of mass destruction.

The statute outlines several key elements that constitute this offense:

  • Manufacture: Creating a weapon of mass destruction.
  • Possession: Having control over such a weapon.
  • Sale: Selling or distributing the weapon.
  • Use: Employing the weapon to cause harm.
  • Attempt: Trying to use or distribute the weapon.

Each of these elements plays a crucial role in defining the crime and determining the severity of the penalties involved. Florida law takes these offenses seriously due to the potential for widespread harm and disruption. For instance, manufacturing a weapon of mass destruction involves creating devices designed to release toxic chemicals, biological agents, or radiation. Possessing such a weapon means having control over it, which is a serious offense on its own.

When it comes to selling, the law is strict about distributing these dangerous devices. Using a weapon of mass destruction to cause harm is one of the gravest offenses under this statute. Even attempting to use or distribute these weapons is treated with the utmost severity. This comprehensive approach ensures that all aspects of handling weapons of mass destruction are covered under the law.

What is Possessing, Selling, Using, or Attempting to Use a Weapon of Mass Destruction? This offense involves having control over, creating, selling, using, or trying to use a weapon designed to cause significant harm or disruption.

Understanding these elements is crucial for anyone facing charges or seeking to defend against them. For more information on related offenses, you can explore our Orlando Gun Crime Lawyer page. It’s essential to have a clear grasp of the legal definitions and the seriousness of the charges to build an effective defense.

Weapon of Mass Destruction

Moreover, the statute also covers hoax weapons of mass destruction, which are devices designed to appear as real weapons but are not capable of causing actual harm. These hoax devices are still treated as serious offenses because they can cause panic and disruption. The key elements for hoax weapons are similar to those for real weapons, including manufacture, possession, sale, use, and attempt.

Florida Statute 790.166 is comprehensive in its coverage of these offenses to ensure public safety. If you or a loved one is facing charges related to weapons of mass destruction, understanding the specifics of the law is the first step in building a strong defense. For detailed legal assistance, visit our strategic defense for weapon-involved offenses page.

Penalties for Possessing, Selling, Using, or Attempting to Use a Weapon of Mass Destruction

The penalties for Possessing, Selling, Using, or Attempting to Use a Weapon of Mass Destruction in Florida are exceptionally severe, reflecting the grave potential for harm these actions pose. Florida law classifies these offenses as felonies, with the degree of punishment varying based on the specifics of the crime committed.

What are the penalties for possessing, selling, using, or attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction? These offenses are classified as felonies in Florida, carrying penalties that range from several years in prison to life imprisonment or even the death penalty.

Felony Classifications and Sentences

Depending on the circumstances surrounding the offense, the crime can be classified into different levels of felonies, each with its own set of severe penalties:

  • First-Degree Felony: This classification is reserved for the most severe cases and is punishable by up to life imprisonment.
  • Capital Felony: If the use of the weapon results in death, the offender may face the death penalty or life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
  • Second-Degree Felony: Offenses involving hoax weapons of mass destruction fall into this category and are punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

These penalties underscore the seriousness with which Florida treats these offenses. For more information on related offenses, you can explore our Orlando Gun Crime Lawyer page.

Police Lights in Florida Suburb

In addition to the lengthy prison sentences, individuals convicted of these offenses may face other significant legal consequences, including:

  • Fines: Substantial financial penalties may be imposed on top of prison sentences.
  • Restitution: Offenders may be required to pay restitution for any costs and damages arising from their criminal conduct.
  • Permanent Criminal Record: A felony conviction will result in a permanent criminal record, which can have long-lasting impacts on various aspects of life, including employment and housing opportunities.

For detailed legal assistance, visit our Strategic Defense for Weapon Involved Offenses page.

Sentencing Guidelines

Florida’s Criminal Punishment Code outlines specific sentencing guidelines for these offenses. The severity of the crime is reflected in the scoring system used to determine the minimum sentence:

  • Level 9 Offense: This level starts at 92 points on the sentencing guidelines score sheet, which is well above the 44-point threshold, making a state prison sentence mandatory.
  • Minimum Sentence Calculation: Using the sentencing formula (total points – 28) x 0.75, the minimum sentence for a Level 9 offense is calculated as (92 – 28) x 0.75 = 48 months.

This means that a Level 9 offense inherently carries a minimum of 48 months in state prison, highlighting the high severity attributed to these crimes. Additional points from other factors can increase this sentence further. For more insights, visit our Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon page.

Impact on Personal and Professional Life

A conviction for possessing, selling, using, or attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction can have devastating effects on one’s personal and professional life. The stigma of such a serious offense can lead to:

  • Employment Challenges: Finding and maintaining employment can become exceedingly difficult.
  • Social Stigma: The social ramifications can include ostracization from community and social circles.
  • Legal Restrictions: Convicted felons face numerous legal restrictions, including the loss of voting rights and the right to possess firearms.

For more details on how these charges can impact your life, read our Furnishing Weapons to Minors page.

If you or a loved one is facing charges for possessing, selling, using, or attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction, it is crucial to seek legal representation immediately. The experienced attorneys at Leppard Law are here to provide the support and expertise you need to navigate these challenging circumstances. Contact us today at 407-476-4111 to schedule a free consultation and let us help you build a strong defense.

Examples of Possessing, Selling, Using, or Attempting to Use a Weapon of Mass Destruction

To better understand the crime of Possessing, Selling, Using, or Attempting to Use a Weapon of Mass Destruction, consider the following hypothetical examples:

  • Example 1: An individual is caught with a device designed to release toxic chemicals in a crowded area. This constitutes possession and attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction.
  • Example 2: A person tries to sell a biological agent capable of causing widespread disease. This is classified as selling a weapon of mass destruction.
  • Example 3: Someone creates a fake bomb designed to look like a weapon of mass destruction and places it in a public space. This is considered a hoax weapon of mass destruction.

These examples illustrate the broad scope of activities covered under this statute. For more information on related offenses, you can explore our Orlando Gun Crime Lawyer page.

In Example 1, the individual’s actions fall under the category of possessing and attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction. According to Florida Statute 790.166, such an act is a first-degree felony, punishable by life imprisonment. This severe penalty reflects the potential for catastrophic harm that such devices can cause.

What is a hoax weapon of mass destruction? A hoax weapon of mass destruction is any device or object that appears to be a weapon of mass destruction but is, in fact, an imitation or counterfeit.

Example 2 involves the sale of a biological agent. Biological agents, as defined by Florida law, include any microorganism or virus capable of causing death or disease. Selling such an agent is a serious crime and can result in severe legal consequences. For more details on firearm-related offenses, visit our Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon page.

Example 3 highlights the use of a hoax weapon of mass destruction. Even though the device is not capable of causing actual harm, the intent and potential panic it can cause make it a second-degree felony under Florida law. The penalties for this offense include up to 15 years in prison. For more information on related offenses, you can explore our Making a Fake Bomb Threat page.

Understanding the scope and implications of these examples is crucial for anyone facing such charges. The legal system takes these offenses very seriously, and the consequences can be life-altering. If you are facing charges related to weapons of mass destruction, it is imperative to seek legal representation immediately. For strategic defense in weapon-involved offenses, visit our Strategic Defense for Weapon Involved Offenses page.

It is also important to note that even possession of a hoax weapon of mass destruction during the commission of any felony can elevate the charges to a second-degree felony. This means that even if the device is not capable of causing actual harm, the mere appearance and intent can lead to severe legal consequences. For more on this, check out our page on Possessing, Displaying, or Threatening to Use Any Hoax Bomb.

The complexities of these laws and the severe penalties associated with them make it essential to have experienced legal representation. At Leppard Law, we understand the gravity of these charges and are committed to providing the best possible defense for our clients. If you or a loved one is facing charges related to weapons of mass destruction, contact us today at 407-476-4111 to schedule a free consultation.


Defenses Against Charges of Possessing, Selling, Using, or Attempting to Use a Weapon of Mass Destruction

Facing charges for Possessing, Selling, Using, or Attempting to Use a Weapon of Mass Destruction can be daunting, but several defenses may be available. Understanding these defenses is crucial for anyone accused of this serious crime.

Possible Defense Strategies

Some common defense strategies include:

  • Lack of Intent: Demonstrating that the accused did not have the intent to use the weapon to cause harm.
  • Unlawful Search and Seizure: Arguing that the evidence was obtained through an illegal search.
  • Misidentification: Proving that the accused was not the person involved in the crime.

Each case is unique, and a skilled attorney can help identify the most effective defense strategy. For detailed legal assistance, visit our Orlando Gun Crime Lawyer page.

One of the primary defenses in these cases is the lack of intent. For example, if you were found in possession of a device that could be classified as a weapon of mass destruction but did not intend to use it to cause harm, this could be a viable defense. Intent is a crucial element that the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt.

What is the importance of intent in weapon of mass destruction cases? Intent refers to the accused’s purpose or plan to use the weapon to cause harm. Without proving intent, the prosecution’s case may be significantly weakened.

An unlawful search and seizure defense can also be effective. If the evidence against you was obtained through an illegal search, it might be inadmissible in court. This can significantly weaken the prosecution’s case and may even lead to the dismissal of the charges. For more on this, check out our page on improper exhibition of a firearm.

Another possible defense is misidentification. If there is a possibility that you were wrongly identified as the person involved in the crime, this can be a strong defense. Eyewitness testimony can often be unreliable, and a skilled attorney can use this to your advantage. For more information on related offenses, you can explore our concealed carry laws page.

In some cases, a defense attorney might argue that the weapon in question does not meet the legal definition of a weapon of mass destruction. According to Florida Statute 790.166, a weapon of mass destruction includes devices designed to release toxic chemicals, biological agents, or radiation. If the weapon does not meet these criteria, the charges may not hold. For more strategic defense options, visit our page on strategic defense for weapon-involved offenses.

Criminal Law Defense

It’s also worth noting the potential for coercion or duress as a defense. If you were forced to possess, sell, or use the weapon under threat of harm to yourself or others, this can be a mitigating factor. For more information on related offenses, you can explore our page on defending against weapon display allegations.

Given the complexities of these cases, having an experienced attorney is crucial. At Leppard Law, we have extensive experience in handling weapon-related offenses and can provide the expertise needed to navigate these challenging situations. For more information, visit our using a firearm while under the influence page.

Another critical aspect is challenging the credibility of the evidence. This can involve questioning the chain of custody, the methods used to collect and analyze the evidence, or the qualifications of the experts who handled it. For more on this, check out our page on discharge of a firearm in public.

Moreover, if the charges involve a hoax weapon, it might be possible to argue that the device in question does not meet the legal definition of a hoax weapon of mass destruction. According to Florida law, a hoax weapon is any device that appears to be a weapon of mass destruction but is, in fact, an imitation or counterfeit. For more on this, visit our page on manufacture, sell, possess, or deliver hoax bomb.

It’s also essential to consider the potential for plea bargains or reduced charges. In some cases, it might be possible to negotiate a plea deal that results in reduced charges or a lighter sentence. For more on this, visit our page on possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

At Leppard Law, we understand that each case is unique and requires a tailored approach. Our team is dedicated to providing the highest level of defense for our clients. If you or a loved one is facing charges related to weapons of mass destruction, don’t hesitate to contact us at 407-476-4111 to schedule a free consultation. For more information on related offenses, you can explore our page on altering a firearm’s serial number.

Remember, the stakes are high in these cases, and the consequences can be life-altering. Having a knowledgeable and experienced attorney on your side can make all the difference. For more on related offenses, visit our page on reckless discharge of a firearm.

At Leppard Law, we treat our clients like family, always putting their best interests first. We are committed to fighting for the best possible outcome in every case. Contact us today at 407-476-4111 to schedule a free consultation and experience the Leppard Law difference. For more information, visit our threat to throw, place, project, or discharge any destructive device page.


Infographic depicting the words Possessing, Selling, Using, or Attempting to Use a Weapon of Mass Destruction


What is considered a weapon of mass destruction in Florida?

In Florida, a weapon of mass destruction is defined under Florida Statute 790.166. It includes any device or object designed to cause death or serious injury through the release of toxic chemicals, biological agents, or radiation. This also covers hoax weapons that appear to be weapons of mass destruction.

What are the penalties for possessing a weapon of mass destruction in Florida?

The penalties for possessing a weapon of mass destruction in Florida are severe. They can include a first-degree felony punishable by life imprisonment, or a capital felony if death results, which may lead to the death penalty or life imprisonment. Hoax weapons are treated as second-degree felonies, punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

How can I defend against a charge of using a weapon of mass destruction?

Defending against a charge of using a weapon of mass destruction can involve several strategies. These may include demonstrating a lack of intent, arguing unlawful search and seizure, or proving misidentification. Each case is unique, so consulting with an experienced attorney is crucial.

What constitutes 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, imitation, or counterfeit. These are also covered under Florida Statute 790.166 and carry significant penalties.

Understanding the complexities of charges related to weapons of mass destruction is essential. If you or a loved one is facing such charges, it’s crucial to seek immediate legal assistance. At Leppard Law, we have extensive experience in handling these serious cases. Visit our Orlando Gun Crime Lawyer page for more details or call us at 407-476-4111 to schedule a free consultation.


Explore additional practice areas we serve to understand how we can assist you in various legal matters:

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

Top-Rated Weapons Lawyers Serving Florida

Looking for the best Weapons lawyers in Florida? Our distinguished team of attorneys is committed to offering you the best possible defense against your Weapons charges.

  • John Vallillo: As a stalwart in the Florida legal scene, John Vallillo has earned his stripes through a consistent record of case dismissals and proactive defense. His background as both a prosecutor and defense attorney enriches his strategic defense planning with invaluable insights.
  • Joe Easton: Renowned for crafting winning defenses, Joe Easton’s approach to legal advocacy in Florida combines thorough preparation with aggressive representation. His notable recognitions and ratings stand testament to his exceptional service and client-focused approach.
  • Joel Leppard: Joel Leppard infuses every Weapons case with a level of personal commitment and innovative thinking that sets him apart. His leadership has not only grown Leppard Law into a top-rated criminal defense law firm but also ensured that clients receive empathetic, effective legal care.