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Drunk partygoer's firearms prank leads to weapons charge

Unless they have serious criminal records, Americans can usually own as many guns as they want. Many Washington residents use guns for hunting, recreation and self-defense. However, depending on the circumstances mishandling such weapons can lead to criminal charges. A Spokane Valley man recently had this lesson presented the hard way after a party prank he pulled led to felony charges.

According to local news reports, the 24-year-old man was at a party in Spokane around 8:30 p.m. when attendees decided to leave and go elsewhere. He allegedly decided to play a prank on those leaving the party and borrowed a shotgun from the party's host to scare his friends.

The suspect reportedly approached a vehicle with a woman and her 6-year-old son inside, pointed the weapon at them and told them to get out of the car. He then fled on foot. He told police that he was drunk during the incident. He was arrested and charged with first-degree assault with a firearm. He was later released without bond.

Weapons charges vary. In this case, the suspect apparently had no intention of harming any of the partygoers and just wanted to scare his friends. Unfortunately, pointing a weapon at anyone can bring a charge of attempted assault with a weapon, especially if someone is unconvinced that the act of brandishing a weapon was meant in jest.

Washington residents should note that weapons charges can be prosecuted in state or federal court, depending on the weapons and jurisdiction. But, an aggressive criminal defense approach could get prosecutors to drop or reduce charges, or accept a plea deal.

Source: Spokesman.com, "Spokane Valley man arrested for pointing gun at woman, son," March 31, 2014

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