What Happens When You Shoot at Officers During a Pursuit?

Many suspects exchange fire with police officers during pursuits in Mississippi. To some extent, it makes sense to shoot back at someone who is firing at you. However, things are very different if the person shooting at you is a police officer. The normal principles of self-defense may no longer apply in this situation, and you may face serious consequences for exchanging fire with the law. What can you do if you find yourself in this situation? How can you defend yourself from criminal consequences in the most effective way possible?

Man From Jackson Gets 10 Years for Shooting at Officers During Pursuit

In March of 2024, the Justice Department announced that a Jackson man had been sentenced to 10 years behind bars for his conduct during a high-speed pursuit. In 2021, the defendant refused to pull over when approached by officers with the Clinton Police Department – sparking what the Justice Department described as a “high-speed pursuit.” During this pursuit – which veered straight through the City of Jackson – the defendant fired numerous rounds at officers on his tail. 

It is not exactly clear why police officers attempted to pull over the suspect, although he apparently had several felony convictions. Specifically, he had been convicted of statutory rape. Due to this conviction, he was barred from owning or purchasing firearms – making his subsequent charges more serious. With all that said, however, the Justice Department did not mention any outstanding warrants. Assuming there were no warrants out for his arrest, one of the few possible causes for the attempted traffic stop was an infraction of some kind. However, the Justice Department does not mention a specific reason for the attempted traffic stop in its press release. 

Although 10 years might seem like a long time, it is actually a relatively light sentence for firing at other human beings. This suggests that the defendant may have pursued some kind of plea deal that allowed him to avoid more serious penalties for his offense. Putting aside the fact that this suspect fired at police officers during a high-speed pursuit, the maximum penalty for simply possessing a firearm as a felon is 10 years in Mississippi. 

Is Shooting at Police Officers Ever Justified?

Although police officers have special rights and privileges under Mississippi law, the same basic principles of self-defense apply (at least in theory). In certain cases, you may be justified in defending yourself against a violent officer. Generally speaking, however, resisting arrest is illegal in Mississippi unless the officer in question is committing some kind of misconduct. The obvious example of this misconduct is excessive force. 

With that said, your self-defense must be reasonable and proportional. Shooting at an officer who is simply driving behind you with their lights and sirens activated would likely not be justified. Even if the officer in question rams your vehicle and attempts to force you off the road, firing at them would likely be a disproportionate use of force. 

The only possible excuse to shoot at an officer’s vehicle during a pursuit is if you had no idea you were dealing with police. For example, the officer may have been dressed in plain clothes while driving an unmarked vehicle. In this situation, you would be justified in assuming that you were being attacked by violent criminals rather than police officers – and the normal self-defense laws would likely apply. 

Find an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer in Mississippi

If you have been accused of shooting at a police officer during a pursuit in Mississippi, it is important to contact a qualified criminal defense attorney at your earliest convenience. A defense lawyer can review your unique situation and determine the most appropriate course of action. While the penalties for this offense can be quite serious, a number of defense strategies may be possible. Each police pursuit is different, and no amount of online research will provide you with personalized legal advice based on your specific circumstances. For this, you will need to get in touch with Vic Carmody Jr., P.A. Book a consultation today to get started.

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