Possession or Discharge of a Destructive Device
In Florida, weapons violations are aggressively prosecuted, including the unlawful possession or discharge of a destructive device. If you have been charged with this offense, you face a lengthy prison sentence, probation, and significant fines. The penalties are more severe if your intent was to cause bodily harm, death or property damage. Being charged with a weapons violation does not mean that you be will convicted, as long as you have the right criminal defense attorney in your corner.
Valiente, Carollo and McElligott PLLC routinely defends clients against weapons charges in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and throughout the state of Florida. We have in-depth knowledge of the applicable laws as well as the technical details of what constitutes a destructive device. Our legal team has the legal knowledge and courtroom skills to build the best line of defense and preserve your freedom.
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What is considered a destructive device in Florida?
Under Florida law, a person who willfully and unlawfully makes, possesses, throws, projects, places or discharges a destructive device, or attempts to do, so can be charged with a felony offense. The definition of a destructive device is fairly broad and generally includes objects that are designed to explode or cause destruction such as bombs, pipe bombs, rockets, missiles, “Molotov cocktails”, landmines, grenades, or similar devices filled with explosives, projectiles, expanding gas, or explosive gas.
In any event, to be considered destructive, the device must have been designed, redesigned, used, or intended to be used as a weapon. Additionally, a destructive device does not include:
- Any device, although originally designed as a weapon, which is redesigned so that it may be used solely as a signaling, line-throwing, safety, or similar device
- Any shotgun other than a short-barreled shotgun
- Any non-automatic rifle (other than a short-barreled rifle) generally recognized or particularly suitable for use for the hunting of big game.
Penalties for Possession or Discharge of a Destructive Device
Depending on the circumstances, possession of a destructive can result in felony charges, such as:
- Simple Possession or Discharge of Destructive Device — A third-degree felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison, probation and fines up to $10,000.
- Possession or Discharge with Intent to Damage or Injure — The device was intended to cause bodily harm or property damage or an act results in the disruption governmental operations, commerce or the private affairs of another person, a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison, probation and fines up to $10,000.
- Discharge of Destructive Device Causing Property Damage or Injury — If the device causes bodily injury or property damage, a first-degree felony, punishable by up to 30 year in prison, probation, and fines up to $10,000.
- Discharge of Destructive Device causing Death — If the act results in the death of another person, designated as a capital offense, punishable by life without parole or the death penalty.
Finally, possession or discharging a destructive device to commit a violent offense may also subject the defendant to a mandatory minimum prison sentence under Florida’s 10/20/Life law.
Miami Destructive Device Defense Attorney
At Valiente, Carollo and McElligott PLLC, we have a proven track record of successfully defending our clients against weapons violations, including the possession or discharge of a destructive device. Our legal team will develop the best line of defense for your case and aggressively defend your rights.
We start by understanding the circumstances of your arrest to determine whether your rights our rights were violated by law enforcement. Police may have conducted an illegal search and seizure, for example, or committed Miranda violations. We also know how to aggressively attack the prosecution’s case.
As an example, in a case of simple possession or discharge of a destructive device, we may be able to prove that that object was not a destructive device as that term is defined. In this regard, the prosecutor must be able to demonstrate that the device employed an explosion by combustion or application of heat, flame or shock. Therefore, an object that explodes due to building up of air may not be considered a destructive device.
It is also necessary for the prosecutor to prove that the device was used or intended to be used as a weapon. As with many criminal offenses, proving intent is challenging. If the device was not designed to cause bodily harm and a malfunction triggered the explosion, we may be able to show that you did not have the criminal intent necessary for the device to discharge.
Our legal team is highly regarded for being dedicated advocates and providing our clients with aggressive legal representation. When you work with Valiente, Carollo and McElligott PLLC, you will have peace of mind knowing that your case matters to us, and will work diligently to defend you.