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How to Defend Against a Drive-By Shooting Charge?

Facing a charge for a drive-by shooting in Arizona is a serious matter with potentially severe consequences.

According to the Arizona Department of Public Safety, firearm-related offenses, including drive-by shootings, have seen an uptick in recent years, underscoring the importance of robust legal representation in these cases.

The Litwak Law Group is skilled in providing comprehensive and aggressive representation to protect your rights and secure the best possible outcome.

What Is Considered a Drive-By Shooting Under ARS 13-1209?

Definition and Elements: According to ARS 13-1209, a drive-by shooting is defined as intentionally discharging a firearm from a motor vehicle at a person, another occupied motor vehicle, or an occupied structure.

Key Components: The prosecution must prove the discharge of a firearm, the presence of a motor vehicle, and the intended target being occupied to establish a drive-by shooting.

Examples and Clarifications: If an individual fires a gun from a car at a house with people inside, this would be classified as a drive-by shooting under Arizona law. Similarly, shooting at another car with passengers from a moving vehicle would also fall under this statute.

Penalties for Drive-By Shootings in Arizona

Drive-by shootings are classified as Class 2 felonies under Arizona law, carrying severe penalties.

If convicted, an individual can face a prison term ranging from 7 to 21 years, depending on the circumstances of the offense and the individual’s criminal history. In addition to imprisonment, significant fines, probation, and mandatory community service may also be imposed.

The long-term consequences of a felony conviction include a permanent criminal record, which can hinder employment opportunities, housing prospects, and even certain civil rights, such as voting or owning a firearm.

Hypothetical Scenarios Illustrating Drive-By Shooting Charges

Consider the case of John, who, after a heated argument at a party, drives by the host’s house and fires several shots into the air. Although no one is hurt, the fact that the shots were fired from a vehicle and aimed at an occupied house could lead to a charge of a drive-by shooting.

Another scenario could involve Mary, who is a passenger in a car, when the driver, in a moment of road rage, fires a gun at another vehicle. Even if Mary did not pull the trigger, she could still face charges if there is evidence suggesting she encouraged or assisted the driver.

Defense Strategies Against Drive-By Shooting Charges

Several defense strategies can be employed to contest drive-by shooting charges.

  • Challenging Evidence: This can involve scrutinizing witness statements for inconsistencies, questioning the reliability of forensic evidence, or demonstrating that the firearm used does not belong to the accused.
  • Questioning Intent: Demonstrating the lack of intent to harm or arguing that the shooting was accidental can be a powerful defense.
  • Alibi and Witness Testimony: Providing a solid alibi and credible witnesses to support your version of events can strengthen your defense.
  • Legal Technicalities: Identifying procedural errors or rights violations during the investigation can lead to dismissals or reduced charges.

What If I Was a Passenger in a Drive-By Shooting?

Being a passenger in a drive-by shooting incident does not automatically absolve one of liability. Passengers may face charges if there is evidence of collaboration or aiding the shooter.

However, there are viable defenses available for passengers. Demonstrating a lack of knowledge about the driver’s intentions or proving that the passenger did not participate in or encourage the shooting can be crucial. For example, if a passenger can show that they were unaware of the firearm in the vehicle or were coerced into being there, these factors can be significant in building a defense.

Being charged with a drive-by shooting in Arizona is a serious situation that requires immediate and expert legal assistance. The penalties are severe, and the complexities of the legal system can be overwhelming. The Litwak Law Group is committed to providing guidance, support, and aggressive defense to protect your rights and strive for the best possible outcome.

If you or a loved one is facing such charges, contact the Litwak Law Group today.