Firearms are considered deadly weapons and there are a number of laws that seek to protect the general public from individuals who use them maliciously. One such law is that outlined in Penal Code 246 PC, which prohibits the act of shooting into an occupied dwelling or vehicle.
Crimes involving guns are considered more serious than others for their potential to cause others physical harm. Being convicted of shooting at an occupied dwelling carries serious penalties, so it is important to get a San Diego firearms lawyer from the very beginning.
What Is Shooting At An Occupied Dwelling?
The elements of the crime include proving that with willful or malicious intent, you fired a firearm into any of the following inhabited or occupied places:
- A dwelling place;
- Motor vehicle;
- House car; or
It is important to note that it is not a requirement that there was someone in the particular place at the time of the shooting. It is sufficient to make out a case of shooting at an occupied dwelling as long as the prosecution can show that the structure was being used at the time as a residence.
What Are The Possible Penalties?
The penalties associated with this crime include a variety of options for a judge at sentencing. The actual sentence imposed will depend on a number of factors. Paramount to the sentencing process are the particular facts of the case and your criminal history. Nevertheless, the offense of shooting at an occupied dwelling is a felony, and if you are found guilty you could face the following:
- Felony probation;
- Upwards of one year in a county jail or a maximum of seven years in state prison; and/or
- A maximum fine of $10,000.
Additionally, if there are any aggravating circumstances, sentencing will be enhanced. One such aggravating circumstance is where the shooting caused injury or death. In such instances, the law allows for an additional 25 years to life.
In addition to probation, fines, and time behind bars, a conviction for shooting at an occupied dwelling is a serious felony and would be a strike on your record and also carries immigration consequences as it is considered a deportable crime.
Can I Beat the Charges?
There is no doubt that the crime of shooting at an occupied dwelling is severe. Nevertheless, you are still considered innocent until a court of law finds you guilty or you choose to plead guilty. The key to fighting the charges against you is to hire a competent San Diego gun crimes lawyer to prepare a sound defense.
While it is the prosecution’s responsibility to prove your guilt, your lawyer will advise you of a number of legal defenses available that may help prove your innocence.
- You were acting in self-defense;
- The incident was an accident; or
- You are the victim of a false accusation or mistaken identity.
The legal work necessary to beat your charges begins prior to trial. In addition to putting forward a very strong defense at trial, there might be sufficient cause for your charges to be dismissed. Your San Diego firearms lawyer after proper research and investigation can make certain pre-trial motions to have the charges dropped. If this is successful, you can walk away a free individual.
In addition to a dismissal, another option to beating the charges is negotiating a reduction. This is possible in a number of cases, especially when the prosecution does not have sufficient evidence to prove all of the elements for a shooting at an occupied dwelling case, but they may have enough for a lesser charge.
It is important to talk with your lawyer and share the details of your case. Do not approach the court unrepresented. In fact, it is best that you hire a San Diego firearms attorney immediately after your arrest.
Why Hire A Skilled San Diego Firearms Lawyer
At McElfresh Law, our lawyers have dedicated their legal profession to criminal defense advocacy. You can rely on our years of experience and competence in providing high-quality legal representation to individuals charged with firearm offenses.
We are well aware of the gravity those charged with gun crimes face and we are ready to use our in-depth knowledge of the law and the criminal judicial system to help you fight your case of shooting at an occupied dwelling.
Call us today at (858) 756-7107 for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your case.