What you need to know about the crime of a drive-by shooting

Whether it took place as a result of road rage, or it was connected to gang activityor was simply an attempt to intimidate another person, the crime of a drive-by shooting poses a serious threat to the liberty and the vehicle of the person charged with the crime.

A drive-by shooting is a Class 2 felony and is alleged to have taken place when a person fires a gun from a vehicle at another person, a vehicle or an occupied building.

Felony weapons charges, attempted murder or aggravated assault are all the types of criminal charges that may result when a drive-by shooting takes place.

Penalties for drive-by shootings carry a sentence of between 7 and 21 years.  Several things can impact the length of the sentence, most notably if someone was injured or not.  Another aggravating factor is if anyone under 18 years old was involved in the shooting.

Also, in a drive-by shooting, the car used in the commission of the crime is impounded and sold at auction, and the government keeps the proceeds.  It does not matter whether or not the owner of the vehicle used it in the commission of the drive-by shooting.  As long as the vehicle was used, it will be impounded.

Additionally, if a person is convicted of a drive-by shooting, they will lose their license for a minimum of one year and for up to five years.

Needless to say, the act of a drive-by shooting and the related charges it can bring are serious.  That’s why it’s important to retain an attorney experienced with drive-by shooting cases as soon as you can.

Cates & Garvey Law Group proudly serves the cities of Phoenix, Scottsdale, Glendale, Tempe, Mesa and surrounding Arizona communities.

Understanding the different types of homicide charges

One of the most serious and emotional criminal accusations that can happen to a person is to be charged with murder.Under Arizona law, there are four instances that determine the severity of a homicide charge.  A person can be charged as follows:

  • Negligent homicide – takes place through careless and criminal negligence such as with drunk driving resulting in a death.
  • Manslaughter – is defined as, when a person’s recklessness knowingly endangers the lives of others.
  • Second-degree murder – takes place when someone intentionally kills someone else, but the act was not done with forethought.
  • First-degree murder – happens when someone plans and carries out the premeditated death of another person.

These distinctions are important because each charge has its own level of severity and resulting penalties.  A seasoned homicide lawyer will frame defenses differently for each type of homicide charge, building a defense that gives an accused defendant the best possible chance of a reduced penalty or being found innocent.

In defending a homicide charge, an attorney may not always seek to have the charges dismissed, but rather find ways to have a homicide charge reduced to a less serious charge.  There is a big distinction between a charge of first-degree murder and manslaughter, for example.

In framing a defense, a homicide lawyer may use a couple of approaches:

  • Justifiable homicide –used by the defense to show a defendant acted honestly in the belief that the homicide was necessary for self-defense.
  • Inability to intentionally kill – also known as an insanity defense.
  • Reasonable mistake – a defense that makes the case that the defendant does not have the required mental state to understand killing is illegal

Cates & Garvey Law Group proudly serves the cities of Phoenix, Scottsdale, Glendale, Tempe, Mesa and surrounding Arizona communities.

First-degree murder charge defense strategies

Of all the crimes a person can be charged with, perhaps the most serious is murder.  Taking another life is considered one of the most egregious crimes a person can commit.  While being charged with first-degree murder is serious, it does not mean you are without many possible defense options.

A skilled and experienced murder defense lawyer will explore a wide range of possibilities during the due diligence portion of a case.  Depending on the facts, some of the murder defense options he or she may look at will include:

Justifiable homicide – Not all homicides are crimes.  The legal justification of self-defense or the defense of others is the most common defense used in murder cases.

Exercise of duty – If a police officer kills someone in the discharge of their duty, and it is without unlawful intent, recklessness or negligence, then the act of murder did not take place.

Accidentalhomicide – When someone is killed accidentally in the course of lawful activities, it does not constitute murder.  Lesser charges such as manslaughter may apply, but unless the killing takes place during the commission of a crime, it is not considered first- or second-degree murder.

Insanity – Most states recognize an insanity defense against a charge of first-degree murder.  Insanity is defined as cognitively being unable to understand the quality of the act of murder when it is committed.  There is a complete disconnect in understanding the consequences.

Mistaken identity – Many times a defense attorney will argue that the wrong person has been charged with murder.  If an alibi is available and it can be supported by evidence or witnesses, this can be an effective counter to a murder charge.

Cates & Garvey Law Group proudly serves the cities of Phoenix, Scottsdale, Glendale, Tempe, Mesa and surrounding Arizona communities.

Defending yourself against assault charges

Assault is one of the more common crimes against a person, and while definitions can vary from state to state, it is often defined as an attempt to injure someone else. In some cases, this can also include threats or threatening behavior against another person.

Depending on the circumstances of a case, a defense against an assault charge will vary widely. However, there are a few defenses that are commonly used by assault defense lawyers

Self-defense – This is the most common defense used in an assault case. To use self-defense, someone accused of a crime must show:
• There was a threat of force or violence against them
• A real and perceived fear of harm existed
• They did not provoke or harm another person first
• There was no reasonable chance to escape or retreat from a situation

Defending others – This is very similar to self-defense, except that all of the standards that apply to self-defense apply to the defense of others.

Defending property – A person charged with assault may claim that they acted to defend their property from being invaded or illegally withheld. In some states, this is known as the Castle Doctrine, where a person has the right to defend their home, and it’s contents with a reasonable amount of force.

The severity of an assault will determine what fines and other penalties may be involved. If a person has a criminal history of assault or the crime rises to the level of aggravated assault or sexual assault, which are felonies, penalties can rise dramatically. In addition, assault or battery crimes committed on a police officer or firefighter also raise the nature of the penalty as well.

Cates & Garvey Law Group proudly serves the cities of Phoenix, Scottsdale, Glendale, Tempe, Mesa and surrounding Arizona communities.