Mother from Duval County may face gun charge after being shot by her child

A woman from Jacksonville may be facing a gun charge arrest in Putnam County after she was shot by her four year-old son.  According to a report in the Florida Times Union, the woman was in the driver’s seat of her truck and the child unbuckled himself from his car seat.  The child then apparently touched the gun, which was not in a holster, and managed to pull the trigger.  The mother was shot through the back of her seat.  The Putnam County police have filed a complaint recommending a misdemeanor gun charge for the injured woman.  The article also indicated that the owner of the gun was the mother and she had a concealed weapons permit.

The recommended Florida gun charge is under the safe storage of firearms requirement of the Florida Statutes.  Under 790.174 of Florida law, it is unlawful for a person to leave an unsecured gun in a place where that person should have reason to believe a minor is likely to get access to the gun without supervision. If you have minors who can find and gain access to the gun, the firearm has to be kept in secure box or container.  If the adult does not have the firearm left in a locked place and a child possesses or exhibits it without supervision, the adult can be charged with a second degree misdemeanor.  The child has to exhibit it in a public place or in a “rude, careless, angry, or threatening manner”.  A minor is defined as a person under sixteen years of age.

Obviously, this incident was a tragic accident, but the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office wants the woman prosecuted.  It is now up to the State Attorney’s office to make the decision about whether or not to file formal gun charges.  When you are arrested for a crime or even accused, it is so important to contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer.  Just because you are arrested does not mean that formal charges will follow.  The State Attorney’s Office has the discretion and that office holds immense power.  In order for a police officer to make an arrest, they have to have probable cause to believe a crime was committed.  This means that more likely than not, a crime occurred.  The State Attorney’s Office has a much larger burden of proof.  In order to file a criminal case, they have to believe they have a reasonable probability of conviction at trial.  Furthermore, at trial, the prosecutor must prove all allegations beyond and to the exclusion of all reasonable doubt.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Jacksonville Gun Lawyer, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.