Are you facing your third driving under the influence (DUI) charge in Florida? If you own one or more firearms or if you plan to purchase a firearm in the future, you may be wondering, “Can multiple DUI convictions bar me from possessing a firearm?” This is a valid question indeed.
If you’re being charged with a third DUI under Section 316.196(2)(b)1 of the Florida Statutes, and you’re found guilty of a third DUI within a 10-year period then yes, you would most likely be barred from possessing any type of a firearm. But why is this? What is it about a third DUI that triggers a firearm restriction?
Under Section 790.23 of the Florida Statutes, certain classes of individuals are strictly prohibited from possessing firearms, ammunition and electric devices. Some states, such as California call such individuals “prohibited possessors.” In Florida, it’s illegal for the following types of people to have in their care or possession, or control, any type of firearm or ammunition:
- Anyone convicted of a felony in Florida, including a felony DUI.
- Anyone who committed a delinquent act while under the age of 24 that would be considered a felony in Florida.
- Anyone who has committed a crime against the United States that is a felony.
- Anyone who committed a delinquent act in another state or country while under the age of 24 that would be a felony in Florida.
In Florida, a third DUI within 10 years is a third-degree felony, punishable by a fine ranging between $2,000 and $5,000, and up to 5 years in prison. Section 790.23 does not apply to individuals whose civil rights to possess a firearm have been restored and to individuals whose criminal record has been expunged under 943.0515(1)(b).
“What if I am convicted of my third DUI, a felony, and I do not give up my firearms or I possess a firearm despite the fact that I’m a prohibited possessor?” If you are convicted of felony DUI and you violate Sec. 790.23, you commit a felony of the second degree, punishable by up to 15 years in prison and by a fine not to exceed $10,000.
As you can see, the penalties for possessing a firearm after a felony DUI are shocking! But unfortunately, everyday people make this common mistake all the time. Let’s take a look at the different felony DUI classifications in Florida, all of which would restrict a defendant from possessing or controlling a firearm:
- Third DUI within 10 years if a third-degree felony.
- A fourth or subsequent DUI is a third-degree felony.
- Causing serious bodily injury to another while under the influence is a third-degree felony.
- Killing another human being or an unborn child is called DUI manslaughter, a second-degree felony.
What does the law say about concealed weapons? According to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, if a person is applying for a concealed weapon, they may be found ineligible for the following reasons:
- Two or more DUI convictions in the last three years.
- Any felony conviction, unless the person’s civil and firearm rights are restored.
- A violent misdemeanor conviction in the past three years.
- A record of substance abuse (drug or alcohol).
- Being committed to a mental institution.
- Having an active domestic violence restraining order in force.
- Being dishonorably discharged from the Armed Forces.
- Being designated a fugitive from justice by law enforcement.
Do determine if you’re eligible for a concealed weapon in Florida, answer these few questions.
Are you facing third DUI charges in the Greater Tampa Area? If you’re worried about a felony conviction barring you from bearing arms, contact our Tampa DUI defense firm to be represented by former Hillsborough County prosecutors.