Firearms are a significant cause of injuries and deaths in Phoenix, Arizona. The firearm mortality rate in Arizona in 2018 was 15.3 deaths per 100,000 population, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Almost 1,150 people in Arizona lost their lives due to firearm incidents in 2018. State lawmakers attempt to reduce the number of firearm-related deaths by passing laws specifically prohibiting these types of crimes. One such law is Arizona Revised Statute 13-1209: the state’s law against drive-by shootings.
A drive-by shooting is a type of crime that involves a perpetrator discharging a firearm at someone while driving or riding by in a motor vehicle. Arizona Revised Statute 13-1209 defines the state’s law against drive-by shootings. It prohibits the intentional discharge of a firearm from a motor vehicle at any person, occupied motor vehicle or occupied structure. It is similar to charges under ARS 13-3102 (misconduct involving weapons) and Shannon’s Law (unlawful discharge of a firearm). The key difference is that a drive-by shooting involves the use of a motor vehicle to commit the crime.
You do not have to have struck a person with a bullet to face charges for a drive-by shooting in Arizona. The courts could convict you of this crime for the act of discharging your firearm at a person or occupied vehicle/structure itself, with or without any related injuries or deaths. Firing a gun from your vehicle can be enough to result in drive-by shooting charges. The circumstances surrounding your case, as well as the severity of any damages or injuries, can determine the charges and potential punishments you face. If the drive-by did injure or kill someone, you will most likely face heftier penalties.
Violating ARS 13-1209 is a Class 2 felony in Arizona. This is only one step down from the highest level of felony in Arizona (Class 1). A drive-by shooting is an extremely serious offense with strict penalties to match. The most common sentence is time in prison. Do not underestimate the seriousness of a drive-by shooting charge in Phoenix. Hire an attorney to help you defend yourself from potentially life-changing punishments.
It may be possible to negotiate your sentence down to something less severe with assistance from a Phoenix gun charges lawyer. Your attorney could, for example, fight for lesser charges under a similar statute, such as the unlawful discharge of a firearm. This is a bargaining tool that could lead to reduced charges and a lesser sentence.
You have the right to legal counsel and the right to a trial by jury as a criminal defendant in the State of Arizona. The prosecution will have to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt for a conviction. During a drive-by shooting case, your lawyer may be able to implement one or more defense strategies. Your options will depend on the circumstances of the case.
An aggressive and strategic defense plan could save you from facing the most severe penalties possible for a drive-by shooting crime in Arizona. Work with a defense attorney from the beginning for the best chance of reducing your consequences or convincing the courts to dismiss the charges against you.