Jacksonville man Faces Gun Charges After Shots Outside Nightclub

A 23-year-old man now faces an extensive list of charges after allegedly getting into a gun battle with another man outside a Jacksonville nightclub, The Florida Times-Union recently reported.

Gun charges in Jacksonville can be difficult because lawmakers have increased possible penalties for people convicted of firing a weapon in public and using a weapon while committing another crime. An experienced Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney, however, can sift through the evidence provided by the state and work to exclude evidence from trial and provide theories of defense to dispute the charges.In this case, the 23-year-old now faces charges of firing a gun in public, possession of a gun by a convicted felon and possession of marijuana after shots were traded in front of Club Steppin’ Out recently, the newspaper reports. He is in jail in lieu of $48,000 bail.

According to Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office deputies, a man started firing at a group around 2 a.m. and the group fired back. One witness said she hit behind a telephone pole while bullets flew, including one that ricocheted off her nearby car.

After responding to a 911 call, an officer pulled over a Buick Century that was leaving the area after a witness yelled at him that it contained one of the gunmen. Inside the vehicle, police found marijuana and a .40-caliber handgun on the ground next to the car. No one from the other group was found, police said.

The newspaper reports that the club has been the scene of violence before — including a drive-by shooting in late 2009. The club’s owner was shot and killed there in 2007, as well.

These charges are serious and can lead to possible prison time. A convict charged with possessing a weapon, according to Florida Statutes 790.23 can face up to 15 years in prison if convicted of the second-degree felony.

Shooting a weapon in public, according to Florida Statutes 790.15, is punishable as a second-degree felony, as well, and carries the same possible penalty.

But what must be considered in cases like this is how people are credible witnesses. For one, they were at a club and were likely drinking, which can alter their ability to accurately recall what happened. Also, how could they have seen a shooter if they were hiding behind objects to avoid being hit, as the one witness was?

And in cases where gunfire was exchanged, it’s possible the firing was done in self defense. How can police be sure it wasn’t? An aggressive defense attorney will also question how police had probable cause to pull over a vehicle without having a good idea it contained a person involved in the shooting. There are many vehicles, especially in a city as large as Jacksonville, that can match a vague description.

Defending a case this serious requires a lot of work and dedication of an attorney who has been doing it for years. Trust experience to protect your rights if charged with a crime in Jacksonville.

The Forbess Law Firm has been helping clients facing criminal charges in Jacksonville for more than a decade and are here to provide aggressive criminal defense to anyone accused of a crime. If you or a loved one require a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer, contact our firm today through our website. Or call us at 904-634-0900.

More Blog Entries:

Gun Drawn in Jacksonville Traffic Incident Highlights Severity of Gun Charges: July 29, 2011
Additional Resources:

Man arrested after shots exchanged Monday outside Jacksonville nightclub, by Dan Scanlan, The Florida Times-Union

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