Examining the Charges against Two Lynchburg Officers
One of Lynchburg’s major news stories took a significant step forward in recent weeks. Two Lynchburg police officers were each charged with three different felonies following a February incident at a local resident’s home. According to the city’s police chief, this is the first time that LPD officers have been charged with felonies following an on-duty incident.
This story is continuing to develop. Right now, the only major details known are that two officers approached a private home, and one or both of them fired and shot at the home’s owner, giving him significant wounds to his leg. The charges mean that a criminal trial will be on the way in the following months. Meanwhile, the charges themselves will be examined in this post. What do they mean? What are the consequences? Read on to learn more.
Reckless Handling of a Firearm Resulting in Serious Bodily Injury:
The first charge is a mouthful but also says quite a bit about how the prosecutor (from the city of Alexandria, since the Commonwealth’s Attorney from the City of Lynchburg had to recuse herself) views the incident. The Code of Virginia says the following: “It shall be unlawful for any person to handle recklessly any firearm so as to endanger the life, limb, or property of any person.” This description, however, only describes the action required to commit a misdemeanor.
The Code of Virginia goes further to say this charge becomes a felony if the action is “so gross, wanton, and culpable as to show reckless disregard for human life.” It also has to result in “permanent and significant physical impairment” in the person harmed. This is the standard for which the officers were charged in this incident.
The second charge – unlawful wounding – is the result of shooting someone and causing him bodily injury. The Code of Virginia escalates the charge if the act is done “maliciously.” If it is done without malice, however, it is a Class 6 felony. This is what the officers have been charged with.
Unlawful Shooting at an Occupied Domicile:
The third and final charge involves the use of a firearm “unlawfully, but not maliciously,” within or into someone’s domicile. Domicile is one of those legal-ese terms for someone’s home. This is where the February incident occurred and generally what happened, so it makes sense that this charge would be included among the others.
Each of these charges carry a maximum sentence of five years each.
As the police chief pointed out after the charges were announced, these officers are charged and not convicted. In our criminal justice system, this means that they are innocent until proven guilty. Just like anyone at this stage of proceedings, they are going to be finding an attorney to represent them.
This is a step that millions of people have had to undertake at some point in their lives. In this case, it is noteworthy because the two defendants will be current police officers. If you find yourself in a similar position, it might not be as noteworthy as this incident, but it is just as important that you find a qualified and experienced defense attorney. If this is you, call or e-mail today for a free consultation!
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