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Using A Firearm While Under The Influence



What is Using A Firearm While Under The Influence?

Using a firearm while under the influence refers to the act of discharging or handling a loaded firearm while impaired by alcohol, chemical substances, or controlled substances. According to Florida Statute 790.151, this includes any weapon that fires a projectile by explosive means or could be converted to do so, such as lower receivers, silencers, machine guns, and even starter pistols used at athletic events.

What is using a firearm while under the influence? Using a firearm while under the influence is the act of discharging or handling a loaded firearm while impaired by alcohol, chemical substances, or controlled substances.

At Leppard Law: Firearms Defense Attorneys, we understand how serious these charges can be and how they can impact your life. Our experienced legal team is here to help you navigate the complexities of firearm-related offenses and ensure your rights are protected.

To convict someone of using a firearm while under the influence, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:

  • The individual used a firearm: A firearm is defined as any weapon that fires a projectile by explosive or could be converted to do so. This includes lower receivers, silencers, machine guns, destructive devices, and even starter pistols used at athletic events.
  • The individual was under the influence: The person must be under the influence of alcohol, a chemical substance, or a controlled substance to the extent that their normal faculties were impaired at the time they were firing the gun or holding a loaded gun.

An important aspect of this law is that the firearm must be loaded and in the individual’s possession. An unloaded gun in hand or a loaded gun outside of actual possession does not meet the criteria for conviction under this statute.

Understanding these elements is essential because they form the basis of the prosecution’s case. If any of these elements are not proven beyond a reasonable doubt, the charges may not hold. For more detailed information on related firearm laws, visit our page on possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Additionally, the term “under the influence” covers a wide range of substances. Florida Statute 877.111 lists various chemical substances that can impair an individual’s faculties, including:

  • Toluol
  • Hexane
  • Richloroethylene
  • Acetone
  • Toluene
  • Ethyl acetate
  • Methyl ethyl ketone
  • Trichloroethane
  • Isopropanol
  • Methyl isobutyl ketone
  • Ethylene glycol monomethyl ether acetate
  • Cyclohexanone
  • Nitrous oxide
  • Diethyl ether
  • Alkyl nitrites (butyl nitrite)

It’s crucial to note that even prescription medications can lead to a violation of this law if they impair your faculties. Therefore, it’s best to avoid handling firearms if you are taking any substances that could potentially impair your normal faculties.

For those interested in other firearm-related offenses, we have detailed pages on improper exhibition of a firearm and reckless discharge of a firearm, which provide further insights into the legal landscape of gun crimes in Florida.

If you need help understanding these laws or facing charges, don’t hesitate to contact us. At Leppard Law: Firearms Defense Attorneys, we are committed to providing you with the best possible defense and ensuring your rights are protected.

Firearm and Alcohol

Penalties for Using A Firearm While Under The Influence

The penalties for using a firearm while under the influence in Florida can be severe. This crime is classified as a second-degree misdemeanor, which can result in:

  • Up to 60 days in jail.
  • A fine of up to $500.

These penalties might seem straightforward, but the implications go much deeper. A conviction can have a lasting impact on various aspects of your life, from your career to your personal relationships.

What are the penalties for using a firearm while under the influence? Using a firearm while under the influence is a second-degree misdemeanor in Florida, punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $500.

Additional Consequences

Beyond the immediate legal penalties, individuals convicted of using a firearm while under the influence may face additional consequences that can be just as impactful:

  • Loss of Firearm Privileges: A conviction can lead to the revocation of your right to own or carry firearms. This can be particularly devastating for individuals who rely on firearms for their profession or personal safety.
  • Difficulty in Obtaining Future Employment: Many employers conduct background checks, and a criminal record can significantly reduce your chances of securing a job. This is especially true for positions that require a high level of trust and responsibility.
  • Social Stigma and Damaged Reputation: A criminal conviction can tarnish your reputation within your community, affecting your personal relationships and social standing. The stigma associated with a firearm-related offense can be long-lasting and difficult to overcome.

In addition to these direct consequences, there are other collateral effects that can result from a conviction. For example, you may be required to attend mandatory substance abuse programs or undergo regular drug and alcohol testing. These requirements can be time-consuming and costly, adding further strain to an already challenging situation.

Legal Consequences

At Leppard Law: Firearms Defense Attorneys, we understand the far-reaching consequences of a conviction for using a firearm while under the influence. Our experienced Orlando Gun Crime Lawyers are dedicated to providing you with the best possible defense, ensuring that your rights are protected throughout the legal process.

It’s important to note that the penalties and consequences can vary depending on the specific circumstances of your case. Factors such as prior criminal history, the presence of aggravating circumstances, and the specifics of the incident can all influence the severity of the penalties imposed.

For instance, if the incident involved reckless behavior or resulted in harm to another person, the penalties could be more severe. Conversely, if this is your first offense and there were no aggravating factors, it may be possible to negotiate a lesser penalty or alternative sentencing options.

Understanding the full scope of potential penalties and consequences is crucial for anyone facing charges of using a firearm while under the influence. It’s not just about the immediate legal ramifications; it’s about the long-term impact on your life and future opportunities.

If you or someone you know is facing such charges, it’s essential to seek legal representation as soon as possible. At Leppard Law, we are committed to helping our clients navigate the complexities of the legal system and achieve the best possible outcome for their case. Our team of dedicated attorneys has the experience and expertise needed to handle even the most challenging cases.

Don’t let a conviction for using a firearm while under the influence derail your life. Contact Leppard Law: Firearms Defense Attorneys today to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can help you defend your rights and protect your future.

Examples of Using A Firearm While Under The Influence

Understanding hypothetical scenarios can help clarify what constitutes using a firearm while under the influence. Here are some examples:

  • Example 1: John attends a party and consumes several alcoholic beverages. Later, he decides to show off his new handgun to friends and accidentally discharges it. This scenario clearly illustrates a violation of Florida Statute 790.151.
  • Example 2: Sarah, under the influence of prescription medication that impairs her faculties, goes to a shooting range and begins firing her weapon. Despite the medication being legally prescribed, her impaired condition while handling the firearm constitutes an offense.

Real-Life Implications

These examples illustrate how easily one can violate the law, leading to serious legal repercussions and potential harm to oneself and others. Even a seemingly harmless action, like showing off a gun at a party, can turn into a dangerous situation when alcohol or drugs are involved. The consequences can be severe, including criminal charges and a tarnished reputation.

What are the real-life implications of using a firearm while under the influence? Violating Florida Statute 790.151 can lead to criminal charges, loss of firearm privileges, and damage to one’s reputation.

In addition to legal consequences, the social and personal impacts can be devastating. Imagine facing job loss, strained relationships, and the stigma of a criminal record—all because of a momentary lapse in judgment. It’s crucial to understand the gravity of these situations.

For example, consider the case of a professional such as a firearms instructor. If they were found guilty of using a firearm while under the influence, not only would they face criminal penalties, but their career could be in jeopardy. The same applies to law enforcement officers, security personnel, and others whose jobs require them to handle firearms responsibly.

Even more concerning are the potential physical dangers. A firearm in the hands of an impaired individual is a recipe for disaster. Accidental discharges can lead to serious injuries or even fatalities, affecting not just the individual but also innocent bystanders.

At Leppard Law: Firearms Defense Attorneys, we understand the complexities and nuances of these cases. Our team of Orlando weapons crimes lawyers is dedicated to providing comprehensive legal defense for those accused of firearm-related offenses. We take into account the unique circumstances of each case and work tirelessly to achieve the best possible outcome for our clients.

If you find yourself facing charges for using a firearm while under the influence, it’s essential to seek legal advice immediately. Our experienced Orlando firearm lawyers are here to help you navigate the legal system and protect your rights.

Remember, the consequences of a conviction can be far-reaching, affecting various aspects of your life. Don’t take chances with your future. Contact Leppard Law: Firearms Defense Attorneys today at 407-476-4111 to schedule a consultation and discuss your case in detail. We are committed to providing you with the support and legal expertise you need to move forward.


Defenses Against Charges of Using A Firearm While Under The Influence

Facing charges for using a firearm while under the influence can be daunting, but there are several defenses that can be employed to contest these charges effectively. Understanding these defenses can significantly impact the outcome of your case.

What are the defenses against using a firearm while under the influence? Common defenses include lack of impairment, self-defense, and proving the firearm was unloaded.

Let’s delve into these defenses in more detail:

  • Lack of Impairment: One of the primary defenses is to demonstrate that the individual was not impaired at the time of the incident. This can be achieved through various means, such as witness testimony, medical records, or even expert analysis of the individual’s behavior and condition at the time. For example, if you were accused of using a firearm while under the influence but had only consumed a small amount of alcohol that did not impair your faculties, this defense could be crucial.
  • Self-Defense: Another robust defense is arguing that the firearm was used in self-defense or defense of property. Florida law provides exceptions for individuals who are under the influence but are acting in self-defense. However, this defense can be complex, as prosecutors may still pursue the case, arguing that the actions were not justified. In such situations, having experienced legal representation is essential to present a compelling case.
  • Unloaded Firearm: Proving that the firearm was not loaded at the time of the incident is another effective defense. According to Florida Statute 790.151, an unloaded gun in possession does not constitute a violation. If you can demonstrate that the firearm was not loaded or that you did not have actual possession of a loaded firearm, this could lead to the dismissal of charges.

These defenses require a deep understanding of Florida’s legal system and the ability to present evidence convincingly. At Leppard Law: Firearms Defense Attorneys, we specialize in crafting strategic defenses tailored to the unique circumstances of each case.

Securing experienced legal representation is crucial for navigating the complexities of such cases and mounting a robust defense. At Leppard Law, we understand the nuances of Florida’s firearm laws and have a proven track record of defending clients against firearm-related charges.

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Our team of Orlando weapons crimes lawyers is dedicated to providing personalized legal services. We take the time to understand your situation, gather evidence, and build a strong defense strategy. Whether it’s challenging the evidence of impairment, proving the firearm was unloaded, or arguing self-defense, we are committed to achieving the best possible outcome for our clients.

Being charged with using a firearm while under the influence can have severe consequences, including criminal penalties, loss of firearm privileges, and damage to your reputation. It’s essential to act quickly and seek legal advice to protect your rights. Our Orlando firearm lawyers are here to help you navigate the legal system and provide the support you need during this challenging time.

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. If you or a loved one is facing charges for using a firearm while under the influence, contact us today at 407-476-4111 to schedule a consultation. Let us provide the legal expertise and support you deserve.

Remember, the consequences of a conviction can be far-reaching, affecting various aspects of your life. Don’t take chances with your future. Contact Leppard Law: Firearms Defense Attorneys today and let us help you build a strong defense.


Infographic depicting the words Using A Firearm While Under The Influence


What constitutes using a firearm while under the influence in Florida?

Using a firearm while under the influence in Florida refers to the act of discharging or handling a loaded firearm while impaired by alcohol, chemical substances, or controlled substances. According to Florida Statute 790.151, this includes any weapon that fires a projectile by explosive means or could be converted to do so.

What are the penalties for using a firearm while under the influence in Florida?

The penalties for using a firearm while under the influence in Florida include up to 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $500. Additionally, individuals may face loss of firearm privileges, difficulty in obtaining future employment, and social stigma.

Can self-defense be used as a defense for using a firearm while under the influence?

Yes, self-defense can be used as a defense for using a firearm while under the influence. Florida law provides exceptions for individuals who are under the influence but are acting in self-defense or defense of property. However, this defense can be complex and may require experienced legal representation.

What should I do if I am charged with using a firearm while under the influence?

If you are charged with using a firearm while under the influence, it is crucial to seek experienced legal representation immediately. An attorney can help you navigate the legal complexities, gather evidence, and build a strong defense strategy to achieve the best possible outcome for your case.


Explore other practice areas we serve to understand the breadth of our legal expertise:

Orlando Gun Crime Lawyer Improper Exhibition of a Firearm
Concealed Carry Laws Strategic Defense for Weapon 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
Discharging Any Destructive Device Possession of Short-Barreled Rifle
Making a Fake Bomb Threat Threat to Discharge a Destructive Device
Reckless Discharge of a Firearm Possession of a Firearm in Violation of an Injunction

Top-Rated Firearms Lawyers Serving Florida

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

Hear From Our Satisfied Clients

At the forefront of our Firearms practice is a deep-seated commitment to client satisfaction. Each case is handled with utmost care, as echoed in the appreciative feedback from those we represent. Stellar reviews are what make us one consistently one of Central Florida’s top-rated Firearms law firms. You can read more 5 star reviews here.

Take Action Now: Secure Your Defense

Facing charges for using a firearm while under the influence can be overwhelming, but you don’t have to navigate this alone. At Leppard Law: Firearms Defense Attorneys, we treat our clients like family. We understand the stress and anxiety that come with criminal charges, and we’re here to provide 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 always put our clients’ 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 at 407-476-4111.

We are proud to have been recognized among the best in our field:

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Top 10 Criminal Defense Attorneys near Orlando, FL Thumbtack 2024 Thumbtack
Best Criminal Defense Attorneys in Deltona Expertise 2024 Expertise
Best Criminal Defense Attorneys in Melbourne Expertise 2024 Expertise
Awesome Attorneys Orlando Orlando Family Magazine 2019-2023 Orlando Family Magazine
Top 10 Best DUI Lawyers Near Orlando, Florida Yelp 2018-2024 Yelp

At Leppard Law, we take immense pride in helping our clients navigate through some of life’s most challenging moments. Your trust and support have fueled our commitment to excellence, and we’re honored to be a part of our shared community.

While we hope you never face a criminal charge, we want you to know that if the need arises, we’re here for you. ONE call to our top-rated criminal defense attorneys can make all the difference. Schedule your consultation today, and let us provide the support and legal expertise you deserve.

Contact us now at 407-476-4111 and take the first step towards securing your future.

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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.

Learn More About Joe Easton