Most Virginia residents are familiar with the idea that a gun owner may face criminal charges after they intentionally use a firearm to hurt another person. However, there are also many cases in which a person is accidentally shot and injured. Can the gun owner face criminal charges in such a case?
The answer to this question depends on the exact circumstances, but any gun owner whose weapon hurts another person in an accident will want to have solid legal representation.
In a recent case, a Dinwiddie, Virginia, man was charged with voluntary manslaughter after a shot from his gun killed another man described as his best friend.
According to news reports, the man was awakened one evening by loud knocking outside his home. Fearing an intruder, the man grabbed his handgun and walked to his door. At the door he saw the silhouette of a man outside. In the confusion, the man accidentally discharged his gun. The bullet went through the door and struck a man outside, killing him. According to reports, the gun owner then stepped outside and found that he had killed his best friend.
Late last month, prosecutors withdrew the voluntary manslaughter charge against the man and cleared him of criminal wrongdoing. According to news reports, all involved said the man accidentally discharged his gun, and so the tragic incident was an accident. Prosecutors did not say what caused the accidental discharge.
Sometimes accidents are just accidents
When someone is injured or killed with a firearm, it’s only proper that the authorities should investigate the matter, but all those who are accused of a crime are entitled to a defense. Sometimes the incident was just an accident, and sometimes the story is more complicated than it at first seems. All those accused of gun crimes can benefit from speaking to an experienced criminal defense attorney.