In November of 2020, a woman was arrested after being accused of a drive-by shooting in Mississippi. Although no one was hurt during the incident, it represents yet another instance of this dangerous crime in the Magnolia State. Because of the connection between drive-by shootings and gang activity, lawmakers in Mississippi have created special laws that govern this crime.
If you have been charged with a drive-by shooting offense, you face considerable legal consequences. In order to give yourself the best possible chance of a favorable outcome, it is important to hire a qualified, experienced criminal defense lawyer who can fight for your freedoms and your rights.
What is the Definition of a Drive-By Shooting in Mississippi?
According to Mississippi Code Title 97. Crimes § 97-3-109, a person is guilty of a drive-by shooting if they “attempt, other than for lawful self-defense, to cause serious bodily injury to another, or causes such injury purposely, knowingly or recklessly under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life by discharging a firearm while in or on a vehicle.”
Note that if you can prove that you discharged your firearm legally in self-defense, you cannot be found guilty of this crime. It is also worth pointing out that even if you fail to hit anyone with your bullets, you will still be found guilty of a drive-by shooting and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
Shooting Into a Dwelling
Another important crime to keep in mind is “shooting into a dwelling house,” which is outlined in MS Code § 97-37-29 (2013). The law states that you are guilty of this crime if you “willfully and unlawfully shoot or discharge any pistol, shotgun, rifle or firearm of any nature or description into any dwelling house or any other building usually occupied by persons, whether actually occupied or not.” Although this law does not mention a vehicle, you could be charged with shooting into a dwelling if your drive-by shooting involves discharging firearms at a home usually occupied by people.
What are the Penalties for a Drive-By Shooting in Mississippi?
The penalties for drive-by shootings and shootings into dwellings in Mississippi are quite severe:
- Drive-By Shooting: If convicted, you face a maximum prison sentence of 30 years, a maximum fine of $10,000, or both. A drive-by shooting is prosecuted as a felony. According to MS Code § 97-3-111 (2018), you will also be forced to forfeit your vehicle.
- Shooting into Dwelling: If convicted, you face a maximum prison sentence of 10 years, a maximum fine of $5,000, or both. Shootings into dwellings are also prosecuted as felonies.
The Importance of Getting Legal Help
It is always important to seek the best possible legal assistance, but this is even more crucial when you are facing a serious felony like a drive-by shooting or a shooting into dwelling. An experienced criminal defense attorney can use a range of strategies to help you reduce unnecessary prison time and fines. Reach out to Vic Carmody Jr., P.A. today for reliable help.