Recently, a car crash turned into a violent incident involving at least ten gunshots. A man crashed into a vehicle with two women and a 5-year-old child. Both drivers got out of their vehicles and began arguing. A bystander tried to intervene, but the driver who caused the crash retrieved his firearm and shot the bystander multiple times. The female passenger in the vehicle who was hit retrieved her own firearm and shot at the driver who caused the wreck. The driver who caused the wreck was charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault, and related offenses.
When children victims are involved, prosecutors take gun crimes even more seriously. Are you facing gun crime charges in Pennsylvania? Was a minor child injured as a result of the alleged crime? Violating Pennsylvania’s firearm laws can carry stiff penalties, and the prosecution may seek the maximum punishment if a child was injured.
A reliable criminal defense lawyer is essential to protecting your rights if you have been charged with a violent gun crime. Keep reading to find out what happens if a child is a victim of a violent gun crime, and contact The Zeiger Firm for a confidential consultation.
Know Your Rights
Various rights and restrictions apply to gun owners in Pennsylvania. According to the Pennsylvania Firearm Owners’ Association:
- You do not have to observe a waiting period to purchase a gun.
- You do not need a license or permit to buy a gun.
- You do not need to attend firearm safety training courses before or after you buy a gun.
- You must be 18 years old to buy a long gun, such as a rifle, shotgun, or semi-automatic rifle.
- You must be at least 21 years old to buy a handgun.
- There is no limit to the number of guns you may purchase at once.
- Pennsylvania is an open-carry state, meaning you can carry a gun openly without a license. However, you must obtain a License to Carry if you wish to conceal your gun or transport it in a motor vehicle.
What Laws Affect This Type of Case?
Depending on the circumstances, any of the following sections of Pennsylvania Statutes, Title 18, could apply to a violent gun crime case in which a child is a victim:
- § 2701 (Simple assault) – Criminalizes negligently causing bodily injury to another person with a deadly weapon, such as a firearm
- § 2702 (Aggravated assault) – Prohibits intentionally causing or attempting to cause bodily injury to another person with a deadly weapon
- § 2705 (Reckless endangerment) – Prohibits recklessly endangering another person by placing them at risk for death or serious bodily injury
- § 2707.1 (Shooting occupied structures) – Prohibits intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly discharging a firearm from any location into an occupied building
What Are the Possible Punishments?
If prosecutors convict you of a violent gun crime involving a minor in Pennsylvania, you could face several severe penalties, such as:
- Substantial monetary fines
- Incarceration in jail or prison
- Loss of constitutional rights
- Loss of gun ownership privileges
- A permanent criminal record
What Are Possible Defense Strategies?
One of the main reasons to hire a knowledgeable lawyer if you face gun crime charges is to ensure you understand the possible defense strategies you can use against these charges. Your lawyer can determine whether any of the following defense strategies might apply to your case:
- You only discharged the gun because you were acting in self-defense or attempting to defend someone else.
- You had a mental disorder or another impairment at the time.
- You were not present when the crime occurred (i.e., you have an alibi).
- Law enforcement failed to correctly handle your arrest, interrogation, property search, or some other aspect of your case.
How Good Legal Representation Can Make a Difference
If you face gun crime charges in Pennsylvania, it is crucial to have a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer in your corner. Contact The Zeiger Firm now to discuss the details of your case in a confidential consultation session with an experienced Philadelphia criminal defense attorney.