Offenses involving firearms can carry severe penalties, especially if the suspect has a prior criminal record. Defense attorneys help people in this situation by making sure the state’s charges are legitimate and that they can prove every element of the crime beyond all reasonable doubt.

A 25 year old male suspect was arrested for firing shots from his mother’s car in Cocoa, Florida.

Suspect in Cocoa is arrested after arguing with his girlfriend and firing shots from a car

Police believe the incident began when the suspect got into an argument with his girlfriend over her talking to another man on the phone. He was picked up by his mother from an apartment complex on Japonica Lane. She drove him to his girlfriend’s building without realizing that he was going to confront her. At some point after he got out of the car and met with her, the suspect began to yell at his girlfriend, threatened her and pointed the gun at her, then fired shots into the air from the front passenger seat of the car as his mother drove away. As the vehicle traveled westbound, she scolded her son for firing the shots and he left the vehicle. No one in the area was injured. She was stopped by police a shot time later and bullet casings were found in the car, but she was released after they spoke with her. The suspect was taken to Brevard County Jail and not given a bond.

He was charged with discharging a firearm in public, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, and burglary of an occupied dwelling.

Laws regulating firearms

Firearms are heavily regulated by the government for obvious safety reasons. Even a state that has liberal gun laws like Florida still has a strong interest in controlling the use of guns, especially by those who have prior criminal records.

Discharging a firearm in Florida

The state of Florida has written several laws that outline a number of offenses regarding the illegal use of firearms. Discharging a firearm in any public area is a crime. A public area is generally defined as anywhere near, or across a road or street, as well as places where people openly congregate.

This can be a misdemeanor in most cases, but it will become a third degree felony charge carrying up to five years in jail if the shots were fired from a car as in the story above. Keep in mind that a misdemeanor is punishable by up to one year in jail and a felony carries the potential for more than one year of jail time. The specifics of the sentence will usually be decided during a sentencing hearing where the judge looks at the defendant’s prior record and the gravity of the particular offense. Other outstanding cases or probation can also affect a sentence.

The suspect’s other crimes related to burglary and aggravated battery are felonies which carry an even more severe sentence than the gun charge.

Get help from a criminal law lawyer

To learn more about getting assistance when the state files criminal charges related to guns or any other offense, contact Templeton Law, P.A. The attorneys at Templeton provide expert representation to defendants in Cocoa and surrounding parts of Florida