My clients are married and were heading home after going out to lunch. (hereinafter called “husband” and “wife”) It was early evening. As they approached the entrance to their neighborhood, a young boy stepped into the road carrying a stick. The stick got very close to my clients’ car and was dangerous. The couple stopped to report the incident to the boy’s parents. As the husband approached the house, an unknown visitor to the house approached him and they had words. The unknown man smelled of alcohol and became aggressive. A second man then came from behind the property to hold him back. During the confrontation, the unknown man struck the husband, and caused his sunglasses to break.
As this was occurring, a third man, likely the homeowner and father of the boy, came out of the house. Seeing her husband outnumbered three to one, the wife retrieved a pistol from their vehicle. The husband retreated back to the car and she handed him the firearm. While standing at the car, the husband called 911. During the 911 call, the first unknown man continued to charge at the husband, but was held back by the other two men.
The police arrived and interviewed everyone. They arrested both the husband and wife for three counts of felony aggravated assault with a firearm. The police claimed that both husband and wife had pointed the gun at the three men during the confrontation. They were arrested and taken to the Pinellas County jail. These were very serious and life altering felony charges.
Both husband and wife hired me immediately. They had a mutual defense and claimed that they never pointed the firearm at anyone. They claimed that the firearm was always pointed at the ground. My position was that even if they had pointed the gun at the men, the wife did so in protection of the husband. If the husband pointed the gun, it would have been in defense of his own safety. Thus, there were two layers of defense to this case.
I knew that there were strong defenses to this case and that prosecuting the case was going to be tough. But, when there is a victim involved, and in this case, three of them, you always have to be careful. Both of my clients had excellent backgrounds. They both had concealed carry permits and had been through firearms training. Neither had been drinking or using drugs. But, to prove that they were clean and sober, I had them go out and get a clean urine test immediately.
We submitted all of the evidence in the form of multiple letters to the State Attorney’s Office. We asked for all charges to be dropped. It took a while, but the prosecutor agreed and all charges were dropped. I still question why the husband and wife were arrested in the first place, but it is better to get the charges dropped rather than having to defend serious felony charges.