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Posted: 3/10/2006 6:58:44 PM EDT
I was arrested last night for this in Illinois:

Me and a few friends went out to private property that we had permission to shoot on at about 11 PM. We were next to a highway but we were shooting perpendicular to it and we walked at least 300 meters through heavy woods in that direction to make sure there was nothing but trees. Most of the time (70%) we were shooting at a 65 degree angle into the ground and we never shot at an angle of more than 90 degrees, or totally flat. Local cops showed up first and saw us shooting tracers, which they say they saw go straight up. We weren't shooting straight up but some of the tracers were ricocheting maybe 40 feet in the air maximum. They didn't go very far before they would hit trees. We shot about 300 rounds total.

We were walking out to the car and we saw lights which almost immediately went out. We knew it was the cops so we set down the guns and went to talk to them. We were waving at them and shouting so that they could see us. We got closer and then a bunch of them jumped out with guns and told us to get down. There must have been 10 cop cars there and most everyone had ARs.

They are charging me with attempted reckless discharge of a firearm because they say that we shot into the air and were within 1,000 feet of a highway. The second part is true but we would NEVER shoot into the air, especially near a highway, because we are not retarded.

Any thoughts or comments?
Link Posted: 3/10/2006 7:01:47 PM EDT
Oh, I forgot to add. They have my AR and I think like 560 rounds of ammo and said that I need a court order to get it back.
Link Posted: 3/10/2006 7:04:52 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/10/2006 7:13:49 PM EDT by 1IV]
You took the ride but you will beat the charge.

Get a good lawyer. Fight it, and Write down your statement right now so the details do not go away. Get documentation, pictures, and witnesses. I was charged in Texas with UCW unlawfull cary of a weapon. It was bullshit, and I fought it. Not guilty. But it cost me $1500. does your AR have a light on it? Great. Take pics of your back drop and area being shot.

You are screwed. If there was video tape copy it now. Get statements of character now from everyone about how safe with a gun you are.

BTW: I goy my guns back before the trial. Gee howd I do that? Wow a good lawyer....

Get a good lawer. Do not try to save money. Get a good lawer. Do not try to save money. Get a good lawer. Do not try to save money. Get a good lawer. Do not try to save money. Get a good lawer. Do not try to save money. Get a good lawer. Do not try to save money. Get a good lawer. Do not try to save money.

Youll get all your guns back before the trial. They cant keep them unless the charge is a felony.


Go to the local rifle range with a berm and take a few descreet pics. Use them to illustrate how even that berm yields verticle ricochet.

DO NOT PLEAD NOLOCONTENDRE.!!!!!
Link Posted: 3/10/2006 7:07:10 PM EDT
For private property, that doesn't sound very private. Better lawyer up or you'll get screwed.
Sorry to hear about your misfortune.
Link Posted: 3/10/2006 7:08:27 PM EDT
Thanks for the reply. I hope that I can beat it. Everyone knows that I am safe with a gun and my record is totally clean. I had the guns legally obviously. I've got a good lawyer.
Link Posted: 3/10/2006 7:10:34 PM EDT
Well the property isn't public so I assume that it's private. It's a paintball field but I know the owner and I had permission to be there. He is helping me fight this.
Link Posted: 3/10/2006 7:11:16 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/10/2006 7:11:52 PM EDT by AZ-K9]
Your own statement here says you shot into the the air, by way of ricochet.

You probably wont get your guns back prior to any trial, despite what is said here.

Were you shooting towards the highway?
Link Posted: 3/10/2006 7:11:25 PM EDT
You'll beat the rap.
Link Posted: 3/10/2006 7:16:41 PM EDT
We were not shooting in the direction of the highway. We were shooting into thick thick woods the whole time.

Forgive me. We were not discharging the firearm into the air. I don't think that a few 40 foot high ricochets really qualifies as shooting in the air.
Link Posted: 3/10/2006 7:19:19 PM EDT

Originally Posted By AZ-K9:
Your own statement here says you shot into the the air, by way of ricochet.

You probably wont get your guns back prior to any trial, despite what is said here.

Were you shooting towards the highway?



May I add why the tracers? Is the only proof they have that you were shooting into the air the tracers?

Were there calls made by people driving on the highway of shots fired across the road. It would be nice too see what the dispatch log says.

For future reference standing trees are not what I consider a proper backstop for a shooting range. Tracers in the woods can cause a fire also a bad idea. You may have brought some of this one yourself.
Link Posted: 3/10/2006 7:19:24 PM EDT
What a bunch of shit.

Sorry that the gestapo picked you to harass.


+1 on getting a good laywer.


Maybe you should think about filing a civil suit against the bastards.
Link Posted: 3/10/2006 7:29:17 PM EDT
Obviously shooting in the woods isn't the safest thing to do. The question is whether it was criminal to do such a thing.

The tracers are the only reason they thought we were shooting in the air. Nobody said that shots were being fired across the road as far as I know. The highway was loud and it was raining so I don't think that they would be able to hear the gunfire. People down the road heard the shots and called 911. When the local cops got there and saw the tracers they called backup.

I wish I wouldn't have done it but I don't think that what I did was criminal.
Link Posted: 3/10/2006 7:32:57 PM EDT
1) How many times have you fired rounds at this site during the day?

Get proof, statements , witnesses, and dates.


2) Have any injuries occured from those outings?

3) Get info about population densitys, and see if there is a hunting reg , or criminal regulation that states you can not shoot on that property.

4) They have dash camera footage, get it.
Link Posted: 3/10/2006 7:39:49 PM EDT
I have been playing paintball at the field for about seven years. I know it well. No injuries have occured from these outings and we were being careful to keep the gun pointed in the direction of fire and using the safety and all of that. I was really cooperative with the police and everything, does that make any difference?

I really have to talk to my lawyer about this.
Link Posted: 3/10/2006 7:44:17 PM EDT
My advice:

Lawyer up

Keep quiet about it to everyone but your lawyer.
Link Posted: 3/10/2006 7:53:04 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/12/2006 4:34:31 AM EDT by txgp17]
Link Posted: 3/10/2006 7:57:41 PM EDT

Originally Posted By abdulrahman:
I have been playing paintball at the field for about seven years. I know it well. No injuries have occured from these outings and we were being careful to keep the gun pointed in the direction of fire and using the safety and all of that. I was really cooperative with the police and everything, does that make any difference?

I really have to talk to my lawyer about this.



No - not after they arrest you or you are charged in some way. At that point it is time to STFU, and stay that way until after you speak with your lawyer.

It does make a difference if you're acting like an @$$clown, as it generally affects the officer's decision to arrest you or not. "Cooperation" when you are the subject of investigation does not help you legally, unless you have absolute and immediate proof that you are innocent - in which case it would be used to AVOID being charged. After that has happened, STFU no matter how innocent you happen to be.

Most often, cooperating with police when you are the suspect hurts you.
Link Posted: 3/10/2006 8:03:22 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/10/2006 8:03:52 PM EDT by abdulrahman]
Well the thing is that I don't have anything to hide. It's messed up that it works that way. I told them the truth the whole time and they should take that into account when trying to decide whether I shot into the air or not.
Link Posted: 3/10/2006 9:54:04 PM EDT
Bottom line... Get a (GOOD) lawyer. Even as a misdemeanor, you get hung with a weapons charge and CCW/NFA items will be an uphill battle at best with your CLEO.
Link Posted: 3/10/2006 10:01:53 PM EDT
How are you so sure these ricochets only went "feet"? Just because the tracing compound burns off does NOT mean the bullet stopped. Foilage wont keep all those rounds down.

I shoot tracers often and actually enjoy skip shooting them (safely). What is located "down range" in the direction your rounds were going, say for a mile or so?
Link Posted: 3/10/2006 11:12:20 PM EDT
It's private property for about 400 meters and about 800 meters away (through a forest preserve) there are train tracks. The woods are thick though and we had trouble even getting to the spot we shot at through them.
Link Posted: 3/12/2006 4:26:53 AM EDT
11pm in the rain?

Yeah, you can do what you want; free country and all that.

Link Posted: 3/12/2006 7:59:21 PM EDT

Originally Posted By abdulrahman:

They are charging me with attempted reckless discharge of a firearm because they say that we shot into the air and were within 1,000 feet of a highway. The second part is true but we would NEVER shoot into the air, especially near a highway, because we are not retarded.



Well, you admit you were within 1000' of the highway. Is that the way the statute reads for that offense?

BTW, attempted reckless discharge sounds a lil' strange......like you attempted to discharge the firearm. As if you weren't successful. Read the law they say you violated and see if it applies.
Link Posted: 3/14/2006 6:56:39 AM EDT
11pm...that means at night. If I heard that much shooting going on at night, I'd be curious as well as to what was going on. You would be surprised how much a rifle sound will carry in the still of the night...for a good mile, maybe more. Tracers....they look like they only go a few feet or so, but remember, you are looking at them from the REAR. Tracers, from a distance when seen at night, burn for a good time unless the compound has separated from the bullet. Good luck in this ordeal, just my thoughts on the subject.
Link Posted: 3/14/2006 10:18:39 AM EDT
I don't mean to be a dick, but shooting tracer rounds at 11pm, in the rain, in the woods, within 300 meters of a highway, you are lucky that you are only getting charged with attempted reckless discharge of a firearm. That is quite suspicious to a police officer I am sure. Not to mention the safety hazzard of shooting tracers in the woods. Not to mention the fact that you are close to a highway making the woods look like Operation Desert Storm. I hope you get out of the charge, but I hope you also learn your lesson to make your activities look less suspicious.
Link Posted: 3/14/2006 10:37:52 AM EDT
Can I ask how old you are?
Link Posted: 3/14/2006 10:43:34 AM EDT

+1 for 'suspicious ' activities.

Just my opinion... but if I was a cop driving down that freeway and I see tracer fire about 300 meters from my location at 11pm at night while it's raining, I'm calling it in... it doesn't matter if it's private or not, it's them trying to make sure nobody is getting hurt/killed. You don't have a sign posted telling everyone you're shooting at night, in the rain, with tracers... nobody has any idea what or why you're there. Just the cops being safe.

Hope it works out for you... but next time, do your shooting in the day, or at least far, far away from any local roads/freeway.


~nb
Link Posted: 3/14/2006 10:53:36 AM EDT
Im curious , did they ask to see your IFOID card ? , as i live in Chicago , there is no outdoor places to shoot up here
Link Posted: 3/17/2006 1:00:24 PM EDT

Originally Posted By thphilli:
Not to mention the fact that you are close to a highway making the woods look like Operation Desert Storm. .



That cracked me up, LOL. I can just picture it.
Link Posted: 3/18/2006 2:45:59 PM EDT

hmmmmm, rain, wet grounds,heavy woods = dead sound and no fire hazzard.

j­ust my .02 and years of experience

Link Posted: 3/18/2006 3:35:46 PM EDT
I'm not surprised by the way the police responded. What I care about is what kind of punishment they give me for this and whether it stays on my record.

It might have been stupid, irresponsible or whatever but as long as it's not criminal then I'm happy. Either way I have learned a lesson. There were about 750 meters of thick uninhabited woods and because of the rain I don't think there was a fire hazard like the above poster said. Honestly I wish I wouldn't have done it but I don't know if that is just because I'm in all of this trouble now.

Even if the tracers somehow did get to say 200 feet in the air, as long as they continue going in pretty much the same direction that they were after they were fired then I don't see how they could injure anyone, assuming that they don't go further than the safe distance. I'm talking about maybe 6 ricochets here that could have made it above the treeline, and that's being generous. Since each round doesn't have an altimeter attached to it I obviously don't know exactly how high they went. But- since I have no interest in harming anyone else and was observing them to the best of my ability, it is my opinion that there is no way they could have possibly hit a plane or a person.

It did look pretty cool just like we intended it to (that doesn't mean that we were disregarding safety issues) but that is definitely going to work against me since cool = bright and loud = scary to everyone else.


Here's what I have going for me:

I have no previous arrests at all
We were being careful with the guns
My gun is legally owned
I'm only 18
The woods are very thick and go for about 750-850 meters like I said
I had permission to be there and it's private property
We were shooting very slightly at a downward angle
I cooperated fully with the police and told them the complete truth


Here is what is against me:

It was 11 o'clock at night
Tracers and rifle fire are scary
Me and my buddy were shooting at the same time at one point, making them think that it was full auto
We theoretically were in range of railroad tracks assuming that the bullets could have zig zagged through 750-850 meters of woods after ricocheting off the ground since we were shooting slightly down
The local police said they saw us shooting in the air which is totally false. There were ricochets that went in a slight upward direction but not "into the air" by any stretch of the imagination
We went through about 300 rounds which is a lot
There is a highway nearby


I wish one of you guys was the judge! Whenever people hear "gun" nowadays (especially where I live) they cringe.
Link Posted: 3/18/2006 4:24:39 PM EDT
Have you seen a Lawyer yet?

Go take a hunters safety class, and any other firearms safety class offered on your weekends. Before the trial.

You need to Stop being passive aggressive about your defence. You need to stop seeing things the polices way. You either did nothing wrong, or you are guilty. Make up your mind, and act uppon that mindset. Get agressive. Get your research, and get a lawyer.
Link Posted: 3/18/2006 4:43:13 PM EDT
I have a lawyer and I met with him in his office yesterday.

I'm not being passive aggressive about my defense. Talking to you guys here about what happened is a little bit different than talking to the police or a judge the same way. I told the lawyer everything and I'm going to let him handle the strategy anyway.

I'm most likely going to just get court supervision and community service from what he told me.
Link Posted: 3/18/2006 5:02:03 PM EDT
I wonder if the patrol car video Cameras captured any of the trancers on video as they arrived on scene?
Link Posted: 3/18/2006 5:07:23 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/18/2006 5:08:39 PM EDT by AR15fan]

Originally Posted By abdulrahman:

I'm most likely going to just get court supervision and community service from what he told me.



Whoa!

He should be talking about beating the rap, not likely sentences as this point!

"Court supervision" means some form of probation, which often comes with terms like "Possess no weapons."

I could see pleading down to disturbing the peace, on the condition of fine only. No jail time, no probation and you get your guns back. You do not want to plead guilty to any sort of weapons violation.
Link Posted: 3/18/2006 9:31:24 PM EDT
An attorney should NEVER be what you are relying upon.

Since you are paying him, did he get a copy of all the reports including the complaint?

If he did, get a copy for yourself. You need to read exactly what is being alleged.

As for the ricochet argument......it stinks. I am not sure I would stick with that alone. They still travel up and must come back down. So, the threat of injury is still there especially with a ricochet round as you never know its exact trajectory.

Court supervision isn't always probation. Every state is different. Court supervision could be a simple stay out of trouble clause.

Remember too that IL is not a gun friendly state..........the attorney should know what the usual plea deal is on these type of charges. All he has to do is call the DA and see what the initial offer is.
Link Posted: 3/19/2006 9:16:50 AM EDT
Why shouldn't I rely on an attorney? He specializes in these types of cases.

I tell him the facts about what happened, he tells me what to do. An argument that might seem logical to me might be totally inappropriate to use in a court, that's why I need to rely on him.

I gave him all the documents and information.
Link Posted: 3/19/2006 11:04:29 AM EDT
Sure, trust attorneys, used car salesman, and guys selling stuff out of the trunk of their car.

Your freedom could be on the line......are you willing to place all your trust in one person and go blindly behind him???

Good attorneys aren't that common...mediocre is the norm. It is rare that the attorney does all the work anyways. Usually a paralegal and a runner.

You went to the police and obtained all the reports??? That is kind of strange, since you are paying him...How about the criminal complaint filed by the state or county/city?

Also, a good attorney isn't cheap. Even for a fair one you'll pay a $3,000 retainer for a felony case.

How many of these types of cases occur where he practices?? Probably not many......

I know you are young.....so take these words as someone that has some wisdom on the subject. I deal with attorneys all the time in the criminal justice system. Rely solely on them and you are running blind.

Get a copy of the officer's report. Find the laws you violated...get your butt to the library and look the laws up. Make sure you look at the laws that have annotations. The annotations are the case laws for the state. You can't hurt your case by doing some research. Attorneys don't care.....you are some money in his pocket. He won't be the one going to jail.
Link Posted: 3/19/2006 12:13:27 PM EDT
Who knew Spring Break was a busy time of year for gun seizures?

www.ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=3&f=118&t=274125&page=1
Link Posted: 3/19/2006 4:41:04 PM EDT
It's not that I'm blindly following this guy. It's that I don't know the inticacies of the law and he does. It's that simple.

Who am I supposed to rely on? It's foolish to think that you know the law more than your attorney does. Why even have them then? It's obvious that he doesn't have any personal interest in my case but it would shock me deeply if he just didn't care whether he won or lost.

I appreciate your advice and I'll keep it in mind but I can't help but believe that I wouldn't have much of a chance without a lawyer.

Link Posted: 3/19/2006 5:17:34 PM EDT
I am not syaing you don't need a lawyer, but your blind faith is what will get you in trouble.

It is your butt, not mine. I work in the system, so I know how it is. I know that lawyers rarely know the law.

That is why you can take the time and do some research. Unless you paid big $$ for your lawyer, I wouldn't think he is God's gift to the justice system.

Just take some time and read your reports and review the law.
Link Posted: 3/19/2006 6:24:19 PM EDT
What do you need a lawyer for in your opinion?

It's not like I think he is God's gift to the justice system, just that he is much more qualified than I am to come up with a strategy for my defense.

Even if he isn't the best I'm fairly confident that everything will work out fine as long as the judge knows the truth.
Link Posted: 3/19/2006 7:45:10 PM EDT
Because most DAs wont deal with the person being charged. The lawyer is just a broker for a deal. A very small percentage ever go to trial...the rest are all pleas.

If there are motions to be filed, you can do it yourself, but the lawyer may have better luck due to personal relationships.

Don't rely upon the judge knowing the truth......all because they are on a becnh does not make them smart or fair either. They are lawyers that were appointed or elected to a position.......and neither requires a test of knowledge or common sense.

Link Posted: 3/19/2006 8:00:37 PM EDT
Lol.

I can't even rely on the truth? This is pretty tiring.

Are you a cop? You don't seem to have much confidence in our justice system.

You are kind of scaring me. I feel sorry for people who are on trial for something more serious if it is really such a roll of the dice.
Link Posted: 3/20/2006 8:04:13 AM EDT
The justice system is made up of people from society......and not the best people.

Cop? Yes....

You should be scared (a lil'). It is a serious offense and will make you more cautious and interested about the process.

I have seen people get really good deals on cases and others get steamrolled!
Link Posted: 3/20/2006 11:43:08 AM EDT
He's right! You should read the laws and ask your lawyer questions. If you've ever been to court you will have heard the phrase "Ignorance is not an excuse!"

That means that you should have read the laws before you went out and did.............well basically anything. Which is a bit of a catch 22. I mean who can really read all the laws, understand them, and keep from breaking all of them.

The point is that you should educate yourself, just because it helps to be familiar with what is going on.

Case in point: I was once arrested in a college town for having two empty beer bottles in my possession. Yes they were bone dry. I drank my two beers and then held them upside down (2 or 3 hours) while waiting for my friends to show up so we could leave the party and go to another one. I kept the bottles because I needed something for the future keg beer at the next party to go in. Low and behold. As soon I stepped foot off the property where my friends and I were, I was grabbed by the back of my pull into a group of 6 cops who pushed me down on the front of a car and handcuffed me. I'm guessing that they either didn't check the bottles, didn't care, or were embarassed when they checked the bottles and figured out they were wrong to arrest me. Or they just thought I was under 21. Anyways so I get to court and ask the police officer who arrested me if he checked the bottles and if there was anything in them. he said "yes he checked them and there was a swig in each". After hearing this, and realizing what he had just done, I was so shocked that I couldn't do anything else but stare at the police officer, who by the way couldn't even look me in the eye. So basically the police officer had lied in court over something as little as an empty beer bottle to save his ass. Not sure if he would even get a punishment or if he did it just cause he was embarrassed.

I think this is the kind of stuff that most people don't consider. Not so say that every police officer, judge, or whoever would lie given the same situation. Most police and LEO are good and honest people.

Anyways I'm tired of writting and I'm sure your tired of reading, so good luck! Hope everything works out for you!
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 4:58:47 PM EDT
I'm sorry but I can't agree at all that police are mostly honest. Cops in the suburbs have nothing to do around here. Example when I was in highschool, A party would get "busted" in the city, the cops would be like "you dumb kids get outta here", a party would get "busted" in the suburbs, they would round everyone up and threaten to arrest them, make them take breathalizers (which they can't make you do unless you were in a car) and then cite you if you refused.

I've had a cop follow me home simply cause I drove past him in 1st gear and was only going about 30 but it was really loud. Then pull up to my house, knock on the door, then tackles me and a fellow officer did as well while pulling a gun on me. Then claim I was drinking (luckily for them I was so suprised at what was going on I didn't grab a loaded 870 that was 10 ft. away) and cite me for PUBLIC DRUNKENESS in my own house.


Police are normally good people, but only when they are in a balanced city. If your in the suburbs or a small town where there is no crime, they become over zealous(IE hickstown USA). Likewise, if you are in a bigger city they are always afraid and believe that everyone will pull a gun on them, and become over zealous (IE L.A.)
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 5:14:47 PM EDT
tag
Link Posted: 3/24/2006 6:51:59 AM EDT
Update-

I went to the first court date and the lawyer said that he looked over my case for a while the night before. He was totally "no big deal" about it and said that I'd most likely get a deal where I'd be charged with disorderly conduct instead of attempted reckless discharge of a firearm. Nothing really happened because it was just an arraignment I guess. The judge had a beard and looked like he would be lenient if you can possibly tell that from someone's appearance. I have another court date in a month.

RDP may have been right about lawyers not knowing the law but it may just be that my lawyer was pretty inexpensive to hire. He didn't know that reckless discharge of a firearm was a class four felony until I told him!

*runs frantically to the library*
Link Posted: 3/24/2006 11:19:19 AM EDT

RDP may have been right about lawyers not knowing the law but it may just be that my lawyer was pretty inexpensive to hire. He didn't know that reckless discharge of a firearm was a class four felony until I told him!

*runs frantically to the library*



Abdul: Now that's what I'm talkin about! lit a fire under him! I don't think I've ever heard of anyone sending they're lawyer to the library!

Delta: I was giving the other LEO out there the benefit of the doubt. Its hard for me to Hasty Generalize now that I've been screwed. You know, like they Hasty Generalized and I'm sure said to themselves that the police officer wouldn't have arrested me unless I had an attitude or had done something else, etc, etc.... Oh and I'd have to agree with the suburban police balance theory thingy. That actually makes sense to me.
Link Posted: 3/24/2006 12:40:59 PM EDT
Sounds like your attorney is looking for quick easy cash to have you settle for the DC charge if its even offered. If he only looked over your FELONY case the night before court you got what you paid for. Light a fire under his a$$ before trial or before plea bargin talks.

What is the statute number on your citation? Have you read the statute you are being charged with? Knowing the law you are being charged with will help you assist your attorney in your defense. DO NOT put blind faith in your attorney. Many attorneys are actors that make you feel they are working hard for you. In truth it is just a big show to make you feel good about paying them. That being said some attorneys are outstanding and will make many LEOs humble.

Get a copy of the police report and compare what it says to the law violation. Do the facts support the charge?

Good luck. Hope not to see your case pointed to with all the IL weapons ban talk going on here.
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