When a defendant faces charges in a dangerous crime, prosecutors will utilize the allegation to their advantage.
For example, a domestic dispute involving a vehicle pointed at another party, and even without “really” intending to harm them, can be used by the State to add a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument charge to the case. Under those circumstances an individual may face a sentencing range of a mandatory 5 to15 years by placing the victim in danger or fear for bodily injury or life.
This could be an automobile, a knife or a gun. For years and year, I’ve represented clients facing these very difficult scenarios.
Ignorance of the law is not a defense
For example, I worked with a middle-aged businessman up against aggravated assault charges, which require a 5- to 15-year sentence in Arizona. This man was in line at Burger King in the middle of the night when a disturbance broke out in front of him and behind him. He became nervous and displayed a weapon and asked people to move out of his way.
This resulted in aggravated assault charges, despite Arizona being a state that allows citizens to have guns in public places. Not everyone knows about the serious consequences of utilizing those weapons in all scenarios.
In all likelihood, the worst charge you’re going to face if you show another person a gun with a holster in a threatening manner is disorderly conduct. A disorderly conduct can be charged as a dangerous offense, as well. If a person is alleged to have pointed the weapon, it would likely be charged as an aggravated assault. However, prosecutors in Maricopa County and Phoenix, Arizona often use this as an opportunity to get defendants to plead guilty to a felony, which may have lifelong consequences.
We fight those cases.
Knowledge of the law wins cases
Drug cases involving a search warrant can lead to the discovery of a weapon. This can lead to charges involving misconduct with a weapon, which may arise out of having a weapon during commission of a drug offense.
If the government cannot draw a “nexus” between the gun and the drugs, the charge must fail, and not all defendants have that information. I always make my client and the prosecution aware of that in drug cases, and often move to dismiss the charges. Just this week the government agreed to drop the misconduct involving weapons charge involved in a drug bust in Arizona.