Flagstaff, AZ – Drive-by shooting charges are more common than most people think in Arizona. It’s not just what you see in the movies: an angry drug dealer with four buddies drives by a quiet house in the middle of the night and shoots out the windows and doors. In fact, “road rage” incidents lead to many drive-by shooting charges because a drive-by shooting does not need to be at a house. It can be at a car.
Under Arizona law, a drive-by shooting is where a person intentionally shooting a weapon from a motor vehicle at a person, occupied structure, or occupied vehicle. See A.R.S. section 13-1209(A).
Does the vehicle have to be moving? No, it does not, according to the current status of Arizona criminal law. Let’s break it down. It has to be an intentional shooting from a motor vehicle. Easy enough to understand. Then the target has to be a person (which will justify murder or attempted murder charges), or an occupied structure, or an occupied vehicle.
So a road rage incident that leads to a gunshot while the two cars are driving is a drive-by shooting. An occupied structure can be many things: building, object, vehicle, watercraft, boat, aircraft, or any house even if vacant. See A.R.S. section 13-3101.
The consequences of a drive-by shooting, because it is such a dangerous and terrible thing, are a class 2 felony, and typically “dangerous” in nature. Prison will be mandatory. Additionally, the vehicle used to commit the drive-by is going to be seized and forfeited to the government, typically in a civil forfeiture proceeding.
I discussed forfeiture in some detail in a previous article on Flagstaff-Lawyer.com here. Drive-by shooting charges are very serious. In fact, any criminal offense in Arizona involving a dangerous instrument or deadly weapon (e.g., a gun) is extremely serious and can lead to felony convictions, up to a lifetime in prison, forfeiture of property and civil rights, fines, restitution, and other consequences.
Hire a knowledgeable, aggressive criminal defense lawyer to defend you.