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Florida Woman Appealing 20-Year Sentence for Firing a Gun at Her Husband

Florida's "10-20-Life" law caused a woman convicted of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon to receive a stiff penalty, even though she claimed he was abusing her and she fired a gun in self-defense.
 
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    August 26, 2012 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Florida Woman Appealing 20-Year Sentence for Firing a Gun at Her Husband

On August 27, 2012, supporters of a Florida woman convicted of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon held a rally to draw attention to her situation. The woman, currently serving a 20-year prison sentence, is appealing her conviction because she claims that she fired a gun at her husband in self defense. The woman had no previous criminal record. However, Florida's strict "10-20-Life" law caused the woman to receive a stiff penalty.

Claims of Domestic Abuse

The conviction stems from an incident between the woman and her husband in 2010. The woman alleged that her husband was coming after her because he was angry after finding a text message on her phone from her ex-husband. Her husband has a history of violence, including a prior domestic violence conviction for attacking his wife. The woman reported to authorities that she managed to get past her husband, who was blocking her way, and went to her car to get her gun. She returned, told him to leave and when he refused she fired the gun in the air one time. Her children were in the living room during the altercation.

Authorities allege that she endangered her husband and children by firing the weapon and charged her with three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. The prosecutor offered her a plea deal that included a three-year prison sentence, but she refused it.

10-20-Life Law

In 1999, Florida lawmakers passed the "10-20-Life" law, establishing mandatory minimum prison sentences for crimes involving guns. If a person shows a gun during the commission of some felonies, and is convicted of felony charges, he or she automatically receives a 10-year prison sentence. If a person fires a gun during the felony, the minimum sentence increases to 20 years. If a person fires a gun and wounds another, the resulting prison sentence is 25 years to life.

Because the woman fired the gun, the judge gave her a 20-year prison sentence. In August 2011, the woman filed a "stand your ground" petition in an effort to appeal her conviction, arguing that she felt in fear of her life and needed to use deadly force. However, the judge rejected the motion, saying the woman had not sufficiently demonstrated that she reasonably believed she needed to use deadly force to prevent her husband from inflicting great bodily harm or killing her. She is currently working on another appeal.

Talk to a Lawyer

Florida laws deal harshly with gun crimes, as the mandatory minimum sentences demonstrate. Authorities prosecute such cases to the fullest extent possible. If you are facing criminal charges involving a gun, speak with a veteran criminal defense attorney with broad experience in fighting such charges.

Article provided by The Law Office of Samantha Johnson. P.A.
Visit us at http://www.samanthajohnsonlaw.com



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