First Coast High School has had an dramatic increase in weapon related arrests at their school this month. According to an article on News4Jax, there have been 5 weapon related arrests at the school in just under a month. The most recent case was a student who brought a gun to school last week. The child was arrested on possession of gun charges in Duval County and in addition to the criminal charges, will face school disciplinary actions no matter the disposition of the criminal case. According to the article, there have been eight separate instances of guns being brought to area schools in 2017.
In the state of Florida, it is illegal to bring a gun or any weapon on school property. “School” is defined as a preschool, elementary, middle, junior high school secondary school, career school or post secondary school. This ban also applies to school sanctioned activities. The child who allegedly brought the gun to school at First Coast was most likely arrested as a juvenile in Jacksonville on a charge of possession of a firearm on school property. This is a third degree felony in Florida. If a child is under eighteen, they will be taken to the Juvenile Detention Center on 8th Street. Once there, the Department of Juvenile Justice will determine if the child is allowed to go home with the parents or guardians or will be detained. If the child is detained, he or she will have a mandatory detention hearing within twenty-four hours in front of a judge. The judge will then determine whether or not to keep the child in detention or to release the child on home detention while the juvenile gun case is pending.
If the student was eighteen years of age or older, the student is looking at up to five years in prison and possible becoming a convicted felon. This is the worst case scenario. After being arrested, the student will see a judge to determine pretrial release. Most likely, a bond will be set and there will be a court date about 2 weeks after that first appearance. Soon after the first appearance date, a prosecutor will be assigned and that prosecutor will make a decision about what to do with the case. They could file it as charged, reduce the gun charge to a misdemeanor or drop it outright.
The benefit of having an experienced criminal defense attorney on the case is that attorney can intervene and meet with the prosecutor assigned to the case prior to them making a decision about what to file. A Jacksonville Juvenile Attorney could collect mitigation from the family, such as letters from teachers, pastors, mentors and family about the child. The presentation of mitigation is critical, especially in Duval County juvenile cases.
If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Jacksonville Gun Crime Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.