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Child's accident self-shooting leads to weapons charges

An accident that caused a young Virginia boy to shoot himself in the hand will likely result in criminal charges against his mother and her boyfriend. Fortunately, it appears that the boy will not suffer permanent injury due to the incident. However, the couple could face felony charges of child neglect.

The couple lives in Fredericksburg. The boy, 4, and his older brother live with their grandparents and were visiting their mother for the weekend of Oct. 5-6. On Oct. 6, the boy somehow got a hold of a handgun. As he was handling it, the gun went off and the boy’s hand was injured.

The mother took the boy to a neighbor and asked her to take him to the hospital. Someone at the hospital called police that afternoon as the boy was being treated. He is expected to recover fully.

Following the call, police arrested the mother and boyfriend on suspicion of felony child neglect and allowing a child to have access to a firearm, a misdemeanor. Officers added a charge of possessing a firearm as a felon for the boyfriend.

When a child is involved, prosecutors may have extra motivation to add as many charges as possible and seek a heavy penalty. In addition, a guilty verdict may affect your ability to see your children in the future.

For parents and non-parents alike, the matter can be especially serious if you are charged in federal court, which can involve mandatory prison sentencing. Having a felony conviction on your record can make the stakes in a weapons case even higher.

Source: Fredericksburg.com, “Child, 4, shot with handgun in Fredericksburg,” Keith Epps, Oct. 7, 2013

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