Recent Attempted Manslaughter Case lends the Question, What is Using a Firearm while under the Influence of a Controlled Substance?

shotgun.jpgThis question stems from the recent Jacksonville Criminal Law case where Tyler Woody Willis, 18, has been arrested and charged with the attempted manslaughter, using a firearm under the influence of drugs, and use or possession with intent to use drug paraphernalia. These charges come from an incident between Willis and his friend, the victim, William Brandon Hodge, 17. However, my question is “what is using a firearm while under the influence of a controlled substance?”

Using a firearm while under the influence of a controlled substance is defined by Florida Statute § 790.151. The Statute states the offense is a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a fine not to exceed $500. Furthermore, this offense is defined as “discharging a firearm or to have a firearm readily accessible for immediate discharge, [the gun being] loaded and in a person’s hand, and for [such] person [to be] under the influence or alcoholic beverages or any controlled substance.”

But what does all this mean for a Jacksonville Criminal Defendant? First, if you are drinking, using drugs, or under the influence of a controlled substance and a firearm is near; you could be charged with this offense. Second, although just a second-degree misdemeanor, the penalties are still severe, but the crime is not absolute, there are possible defenses and mitigating circumstances. Was the act in self-defense or protection of one’s property? Did the Defendant have the gun in his possession? These and more are all aspects that a Jacksonville Criminal Defense Lawyer will take into consideration while reviewing your case and making the best determination in protecting your rights.

When facing Jacksonville Criminal charges, the advise and counsel of a Jacksonville Criminal Defense Lawyer will be advantageous to a Jacksonville Criminal Defendant. The legal process is complicated, complex, and not always favorable to unrepresented Jacksonville Criminal Defendants. If you or a loved one have Jacksonville Criminal Charges pending, contact a Jacksonville Criminal Defense Lawyer to discuss your case and make a determination as to the best approach in moving forward.

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