On September 1, a University of North Florida student was arrested for possession of a firearm on school property in Jacksonville FL. First Coast News reported:
“University police were called to a dorm about 2 a.m. Tuesday to deal with a student’s ex-boyfriend who had been banging on the door to her dorm, sounding ‘like he was attempting to break the door down,’ according to a UNF Police Department arrest report. Afterward, investigators spoke with the suspect, identified as Shane Christopher Kelly, 18, of Jacksonville. Kelly acknowledged he had knocked on his ex-girlfriend’s door, saying that he just ‘wanted a few minutes of [her] time,’ according to the report. Officers found a .357-caliber Smith and Wesson revolver in Kelly’s dorm nearby, police said.”
This UNF student was arrested pursuant to Section 790.115(2)(c) of the Florida Statutes, which is a 3rd degree felony in Jacksonville FL. This Florida firearms law prohibits college students from having firearms and other listed weapons in their dorm rooms, as the dorms are on school property. Section 790.115(2) states:
(a) A person shall not possess any firearm, electric weapon or device, destructive device, or other weapon as defined in s. 790.001(13), including a razor blade or box cutter, except as authorized in support of school-sanctioned activities, at a school-sponsored event or on the property of any school, school bus, or school bus stop; however, a person may carry a firearm:
1. In a case to a firearms program, class or function which has been approved in advance by the principal or chief administrative officer of the school as a program or class to which firearms could be carried;
2. In a case to a career center having a firearms training range; or
3. In a vehicle pursuant to s. 790.25(5); except that school districts may adopt written and published policies that waive the exception in this subparagraph for purposes of student and campus parking privileges.
For the purposes of this section, “school” means any preschool, elementary school, middle school, junior high school, secondary school, career center, or postsecondary school, whether public or nonpublic.
(b) A person who willfully and knowingly possesses any electric weapon or device, destructive device, or other weapon as defined in s. 790.001(13), including a razor blade or box cutter, except as authorized in support of school-sanctioned activities, in violation of this subsection commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
(c)1. A person who willfully and knowingly possesses any firearm in violation of this subsection commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
This is just a portion of this Florida gun law. The criminal law also covers the discharge of a weapon on school grounds and allowing minors access to firearms. Visit Online Sunshine for the entire Florida Statute.
As for the Jacksonville news story quoted above, I hate seeing an 18-year-old college student facing a felony criminal charge since he has a future ahead of him and an education to pursue. Just because Kelly was arrested for a felony, it does not mean that he will be charged with a felony crime. This is something that his Jacksonville criminal lawyer will try to avoid. Depending on the circumstances, there are ways to stop this from happening. His Jacksonville criminal attorney will look into any defenses that Kelly may have to allegations. Also, Kelly likely has mitigation. According to the information provided in the Jacksonville news article, it appears that Kelly did not have any intention of hurting anyone. An important factor will be his criminal record or lack of criminal history. If he has never been in trouble before, this will be beneficial to his case.
When you have a college student that has been arrested, you need to think about his or her criminal record. If possible, you want to dispose of the case in a manner in which he or she has the option to seal or expunge the Florida criminal record. In order to do this, you must avoid a criminal conviction. A criminal conviction is an adjudication of guilt. This will stop a Florida criminal record seal or expunction. If the charges are dropped or dismissed, a defendant in a criminal case may be able to expunge the Florida criminal record. The same is true if he successfully completes a diversion program in Jacksonville. Even if the defendant is not able to expunge his record, he may be able to seal it. There are a variety of factors involved.
If you have been arrested, you should discuss the different aspects of your case with your Jacksonville criminal lawyer. First, you want to go over the charges, facts, and defenses. Second, you want to discuss your options, the route you want to take, and the possible outcomes and sentences. Next, you want to discuss other ramifications, such as a criminal record or Florida drivers license suspension. Do not be afraid to ask your attorney too many questions.