A child could face a serious felony charge if found on or near educational property with any weapon, whether concealed or open. Possessing a firearm, sword, knife or any type of a device capable of causing harm classifies as grounds for a third-degree felony offense.
As noted in the 2019 Florida Statutes, Chapter 790, the Sunshine State prohibits individuals from carrying a weapon on any school property or discharging a firearm near it. This rule encompasses elementary, secondary and college campuses. It also includes busses and school-sponsored offsite events.
Penalties that could result from a conviction
Violence on school campuses has caused nationwide concern, and law enforcement officials may attempt to convict a minor through the adult court system. A minor who is at least 14 years old may face trial as an adult if a weapons offense results in severe bodily injury or death.
When the adult court system convicts a juvenile, the penalties may include a $5,000 fine and up to five years in prison. To obtain a harsh sentence, however, a prosecutor must prove to a jury that a minor intended to cause harm or death by bringing a weapon to school.
As reported by the Northwest Florida Daily News, the Sunshine State’s Supreme Court has held that a juvenile cannot face a lifetime sentence without having engaged in an act of murder.
Juveniles under the age of 14 facing trial
If the offense is not serious enough, minors under the age of 14 could face prosecution and trial through the juvenile court system. A judge and jury may determine penalties based on a child’s intentions, maturity and any prior offenses. A sentence could include rehabilitation and education.