There continues to be much debate in Arizona and throughout the country regarding the legal use of firearms to protect oneself and his or her property. Some people still seem to be unclear exactly when and how they can use a gun for protection legally. It’s important for gun owners to be aware of the law to avoid being charged with crimes.
Just because you are a licensed gun owner with the proper permits doesn’t necessarily mean you can use the gun any way you want. For example, consider a recent story in Phoenix where a man was approached on his own property by four men that he knew. During the encounter, an argument broke out and one of the four men pulled out a pistol and threatened to shoot the man. Eventually the police were called and the man with the pistol was arrested and charged with pointing a firearm with malicious intent.
Escalating Assault Charges
The introduction of a firearm into any part of a crime automatically makes the crime more serious. Let’s say a person is involved in an assault crime, for example. An assault crime is one in which a person physically injuring another person or intentionally placing another person in reasonable apprehension of imminent physical injury.
Assault charges are misdemeanors and can result in penalties that include fines and up to 6 months in jail.
The minute a deadly weapon, such as a gun, is involved in an assault crime, things change quickly. The charges now escalate to aggravated assault, which is a felony and carries a much harsher penalty. Those convicted of a felony aggravated assault charge could face up to 15 years in prison.
Robbery, Theft and Burglary with a Firearm
Another way that a gun can significantly impact the charges in a crime is when one is used during a robbery or burglary. If a person were to walk into a convenience shop and grab a handful of candy bars and then walk out, they might charged with shoplifting or theft. If that same person were to commit that same crime while brandishing a gun or any other deadly weapon, the crime now becomes much more serious. Additional charges will most likely be added on and the prosecution will be much stronger.
Pointing a Gun – Defense
Many of the aggravated assault and armed robbery cases boil down to evidence such as eyewitness accounts. If you have been charged with a crime and the charges were escalated because you either used a gun during the crime or had a firearm in your possession, it’s important that you get an attorney in your corner right away. An experienced attorney, such as Charlie Naegle, will be able to find holes in the evidence against you and work to have charges reduced or thrown out.
The smallest detail can make a difference in how much time you end up in jail. Don’t leave those details up to chance. Make sure you have an attorney helping you.
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