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Weapons charges against police officer dismissed

Charges against a police officer for possession of an AR-15 assault weapon that was purchased from a Maryland gun shop have been dismissed. The officer was arrested for having the weapon in his possession back on March of 2011. The arrest came nearly two years after the weapon had been purchased to begin with.

The prosecuting attorneys have been accused in this matter of too aggressively pursuing charges. The judge eventually threw the charges out after it was revealed that prosecutors may not have made an e-mail pertaining to this case available to the officer's criminal defense attorney. However, the judge never did rule on whether the officer was actually innocent concerning the charges brought against him.

Prosecuting attorneys are still considering asking a higher court to intercede in this matter.  They feel that there was still a law violated in this matter by the officer.  While the officer did purchase the assault weapon in 2009 with the consent of his police chief, police stated that the officer was only authorized to carry a 9mm handgun and not an assault weapon.

Criminal charges never come without a price.  Despite charges being dropped, it should not be assumed that the officer was unharmed due to the arrest.  The officer not only lost the gun that he had purchased, he also lost his job.

It's because the consequences of being criminally charged are so severe that anyone arrested may wish to consult with an attorney who thoroughly understands criminal law.  Prosecutors will often attempt to have those charged cut a deal that may ultimately not be in the best interest of the person that is charged.  In certain circumstances it is in the best interest of one charged with a crime to fight what he or she is accused of in court.  Without being provided with all of the possible options, it's difficult to know which route to take.

Source: The Washington Post, "Gun charges against D.C. officer dismissed," Peter Hermann, July 29, 2013

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