A Florida man has been sentenced to 14 to 60 months in state prison on an aggravated assault charge related to the shooting of his then-girlfriend. It appears that the shot could have been accidental, but that authorities believe the man was acting recklessly with the gun.
The incident occurred more than four years ago, when the defendant was living with the woman and two children in a camper. According to the woman, the defendant was displaying the gun, waving it around and “smiling” at her, when it went off. The woman was shot in the leg and sustained a serious injury, from which she has since recovered.
Factors in the long sentence
The fact that a gun was involved likely led to the aggravated assault charge. The fact that the woman was the defendant’s intimate partner at the time made it a domestic violence matter. In imposing the lengthy sentence, the judge noted that two young children were also in the camper at the time. It is not clear if either the defendant or the victim, or both, are the children’s parents.
However, the defendant’s struggles with addiction and attendance of an inpatient rehabilitation program did not seem to sway the judge.
You need to know your options
The defendant in this case pleaded guilty, possibly in the hope of getting a reduced sentence. While pleading guilty is an option in any criminal case, it should rarely be the first choice. For one thing, it may be possible to negotiate a plea bargain where in exchange for a guilty or no contest plea, the prosecutor reduces the charges against you or at least recommends a reduced penalty.
In other cases, the best move is to confront the charges in court. To know your best options, you need the advice of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Visit our website for more information.