From US LawShield . . .
Law-abiding gun owners should never have to fear arrest and prosecution. Unfortunately, in today’s America, even the most upstanding armed citizens can and do find themselves at the mercy of a hostile legal system.
If you own a gun, here are five reasons that you should be worried.
1) GUN CONTROL POLITICS INFEST THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM
All you have to do is read the news, fake or not, to realize Second Amendment rights and the fundamental right of self-defense are under political fire. Your ride through the justice system often depends on the political and personal views of the police officer, prosecutor, and judge who may be assigned your case.
Your fate could lie with people who fundamentally disagree with your pro-2A politics. Sadly, a lot of Americans have been victims of this infested criminal justice system. Our Founding Fathers would never have believed how easy it is for a present-day American patriot to lose his or her gun rights.
These days, an accusation alone can strip you of your right to purchase a firearm AND suspend your license or permit to carry a handgun. In 2015 alone, 289,223 firearms were recovered by the police and traced by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms. Simply being indicted makes it unlawful for a federal firearms licensee to sell you a gun under 18 USC § 922(d). You might even have to kiss your gun collection goodbye. In some situations, police can get a warrant to seize ALL of your firearms.
To make things worse, the legal system can take your guns even if you’ve never had to use them. Most gun owners don’t realize that a divorce, civil commitment, guardianship, or protective order can destroy their gun rights. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a collector or gang member, the system will treat your firearms the same.
2) THE SYSTEM CAN BE RIGGED AGAINST YOU…GUILTY UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT?
The criminal justice system is designed for just that—criminals. We have all heard the phrase “innocent until proven guilty.” It’s a lofty ideal of our legal system, but in practical application this concept is of little help as you are getting chewed up and spit out by the conviction machine.
This happens every day to people who did nothing legally wrong. We have seen this firsthand in defending thousands of law-abiding gun owners. Don’t believe it? The U.S. Attorney’s Office reported that 99.8% of criminal cases where guilt or innocence was decided brought by the federal government result in conviction. Therefore, you’ve only got a .2% chance of escaping the white-hot “guilty” brand; and the states aren’t much better.
This is because the government has unlimited resources. Your attorney, on the other hand, is only one person and will be up against an army seeking to label you a criminal for the rest of your life. That army includes police, prosecutors, and yes, even judges who almost always rule in favor of the government.
Specifically, when it comes to self-defense, it will be you against that army to prove your actions were justified. Even though you are innocent until proven guilty, you may have to go to trial in order to to walk free…and the system can be rigged against you. This is the very reason why you need immediate legal help from experienced attorneys.
The U.S. Department of Justice reports that 99.8% of criminal cases where guilt or innocence was decided result in conviction.
3) BAD GUYS LIE AND GOOD GUYS MAKE MISTAKES. EVEN FLIMSY EVIDENCE CAN GET YOU ARRESTED
“As a criminal prosecutor, thousands of cases came across my desk. Over and over, I saw eyewitnesses lie or make mistakes… with potentially devastating consequences to the criminal defendant.” – Emily Taylor
There are an untold number of men and women in prison who have been wrongfully convicted. Many people are exonerated by DNA evidence in our country, but others may not be so lucky.
The Innocence Project reports:
70% of cases involved mis-identification by witnesses
32% of cases involved mis-identification by multiple witnesses
45% of cases involved mis-application of forensic science
We all know that bad guys always tell the truth, right? Wrong. Imagine you have just defended yourself or a family member from a violent attacker, but the perpetrator told the police it was the other way around. Who do the police believe?
The truth is, you can be arrested and charged based on nothing more than the word of the liar who just attacked you. In a self-defense use of force case, perps often lie and ordinary people go to jail. All a police officer needs to start an investigation is reasonable suspicion; and then, to make an arrest, probable cause.
Basically, we’re talking about police having a little more than a hunch. And the probable cause legal standard is met when a police officer gets enough information to reasonably believe that a crime PROBABLY happened.
It doesn’t stop there, the government can take you all the way to trial with nothing more than the bad guy’s word against yours…then it’s up to a jury to decide which one of you is the liar.
The sad truth is that a “he said/she said” situation can land a gun owner in prison. The perpetrator is only half of the equation. Even good police officers, juries, judges, and prosecutors make mistakes. Just ask Richard Phillips from Detroit who spent 45 years in a Michigan prison, because the real criminal lied, and the court got it wrong.
Or Michael Morton, who spent 25 years in a Texas prison before previously withheld evidence was discovered and he was exonerated. On just the federal level alone, of the tens of thousands of convictions each year, the number of exonerations can be counted in the dozens.
Michael Morton is now a highly regarded advocate for criminal justice reform and warns us all to “get legal representation right away because the vast majority of us have never had — probably will never have — a serious interaction with the police.”
4) AN ACCUSATION ALONE CAN RUIN YEARS OF YOUR LIFE
“In the criminal realm, you may eventually assert your right to a “speedy trial.” No such luck if you’re sued civilly. I’ve seen trials still pending ten years later.” – David Katz
Real-life criminal justice is nothing like an episode of Law & Order — the justice system is painfully slow and procedurally complicated. TV and movies would have you believe that if you are innocent, your case will be over in a matter of days or weeks.
In reality, if you have been falsely accused of a crime, you’ll be lucky to see your case go to trial in under a year. According to United States Courts Statistics, the average criminal case can last as long as two years in many jurisdictions.
Think getting to your trial was slow? How about if injustices are served upon you? An appeal of a criminal court’s decision, even if you are absolutely correct, can take more years. Then you can look forward to possibly being put through the wringer again in a new trial.
Even worse, if you lose your appeal, you’re a convicted criminal forever. And keep in mind, appellate courts, including the Supreme Court, don’t give you a new trial. They’re only looking for mistakes made by the jury, lawyers, or the judge. The fact is that if you are forced to pull the trigger in self-defense — right or wrong — you’ll be fighting for your freedom, and it could turn into a nightmare of years in court.
5) EVEN IF YOU WIN, YOU’VE STILL LOST
Congratulations. A jury has found you “not guilty” in your criminal trial! Unfortunately for you, lawyers are expensive. A competent legal defense can rack up hundreds of thousands of dollars. The government has zero obligation to pay your attorneys fees, lost wages, or medical bills even if you win your criminal case.
Then, just when you feel like your troubles are over…you get served. A jury saying you’re not guilty of a crime won’t stop you from being pulled into the civil justice system by your attacker. You’ve fought for your liberty and won, but now you have to fight for everything else you’ve worked your whole life to get.
Civil lawsuits are expensive, so even if you win the case and don’t have to pay the bad guy, between court costs, depositions, and expert witnesses (not to mention your time off work for repeated court appearances), it will feel like you’ve still lost.
To make matters worse, if not provided for by law, civil courts generally follow the “American Rule” for attorneys fees. That means YOU will be on the hook for paying your own attorney if you are forced to defend yourself in a civil case.
Once the dust has finally settled, you will learn the answer to the question asked by Ronald Reagan’s exonerated Labor Secretary, Raymond J. Donovan, “Which office do I go to to get my reputation back?”
US LawShield provides legal protection for law-abiding gun owners who defend themselves and their families.