Palm Beach County Sheriff Deputy Arrested for Aggravated Assault Cannot Own Weapons for 12 Months

An intoxicated off-duty Palm Beach County Sheriff’s deputy is now facing multiple charges for allegedly threatening three people in their car on October 12. That next Thursday, law enforcement arrested Jerald Samuel Alderman for three counts of aggravated assault with a firearm and one charge for using a firearm under the influence. The act was recorded on a cellphone by one of the reported victims and posted on Facebook shortly afterwards.

The video has been viewed thousands of times and showed Alderman at the side of the victim’s car. In the video, Alderman states that “If I see you downtown again tonight, guess what’s gonna happen?” When the driver asks what would happen next, Alderman yells at the three victims and bangs his firearm on the car three times. Later, Alderman stated to city officers who witnessed the interaction that the three victims were allegedly breaking into cars. That night there were no reports of car break-ins in that area.

Meltzer & Bell, P.A. have taken on the case and now represent the three victims who Alderman was threatening. This Tuesday afternoon a risk-protection hearing was held at the city’s request to prohibit Alderman from buying or possessing any guns for the next 12 months.

David Goudreau, one of our skilled associate attorneys, is currently representing the three victims. His clients were prepared to testify at the hearing if Alderman didn’t agree to the order. However, an agreement was reached so Goudreau’s clients weren’t asked to take the stand.

“We were expecting a full-blown hearing with testimony from both sides today,” Goudreau stated to news outlets after the hearing. He later went on to claim that, “We are happy with the outcome today and respect the fact that he did agree to the risk-protection order.”

Scott Richardson, who is the defense attorney for Alderman, stressed the agreement to the risk-protective order was in no way an admission to criminal allegations. It’s possible that Richardson will ask for the order’s length to be shortened after the verdict of the criminal case is decided. Until then, Alderman cannot own or buy guns until October 29, 2020.

A risk-protective order is often referred to as a “red flag law,” which is a legislative effort to restrict gun access to people who are considered at high-risk to abuse them. It is a component of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Act. The legislation was passed three weeks after the mass shooting at Parkland high school on February 14, 2018.

The act also includes bans on bump stocks, a raise in the minimum age to buy a gun, and a three-day waiting period on any kind of gun purchase. In addition, a person under a risk-protective order cannot buy any guns legally because all gun sellers are notified of their status immediately afterwards. Since the bill went into effect last year more than 70 petitions for risk-protective orders have been filed by the city or concerned family members.

Gun Buyback Program Allows Citizens to Sell Firearms to Local Government

West Palm Beach officials are making an advanced effort to get weapons off the streets by offering a unique gun buyback program to citizens throughout the city this weekend.

Mayor Jeri Muoio has announced the gun buyback program saying the city is offering gift cards from different retailers for up to $100 for people who turn in guns. City officials say it does not matter where the gun comes from. No matter the situation, residents could be eligible to participate in the program.

The mayor said the goal of the program is to reduce the number of firearms owned by civilians and decrease the chances of children who are not skilled in using the firearms being in control of the weapons, according to Palms West Press.  The West Palm Beach buyback program will be held on February 28th from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. at Union Missionary Baptist Church on Broadway Avenue.

These buyback programs have been used in cities throughout the country. They are similar to drug take-back programs in which local law enforcement officers collect unused medication to decrease prescription drug abuse. The gun buyback program is a way to provide civilians with the chance to sell their privately owned firearms to the government without risk of prosecution.

It is important to remember that various charges can be associated with possessing and using firearms. For instance, a person could be charged with openly carrying a weapon or carrying a concealed weapon. In Florida, these can carry severe penalties with lifelong consequences.

It is illegal for a person to openly carry a firearm or electric weapon unless he or she is licensed to do so, according to Florida Statutes Annotated § 790.053. Violation of this law is considered a second-degree misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to 60 days in jail, a fine of up to $500 or both.

However, for a person to carry a concealed firearm in a public place, he or she must have a concealed firearm permit, according to Florida Statutes Annotated § 790.01. If a person carries a concealed handgun without a proper permit to do so, he or she could be charged with a third-degree felony, punishable by up to a five-year prison sentence, up to $5,000 in fines or both.

If a person openly carries a firearm and displays it in a threatening manner, he or she could be charged with improper exhibition of a firearm. In these cases, the prosecution must prove that a reasonable person would feel threatened or offended by the display.

The penalty for improper exhibition of a dangerous weapon is a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and $1,000 in fines. An improper exhibition of a firearm conviction will appear on a criminal record as a weapons offense. This conviction could hinder your future opportunities.  

In Florida, there are certain situations in which a person could have his or her right to possess a firearm revoked. Some of these instances include:

  • The person was convicted of a felony
  • He or she committed a felony against the United States
  • The person has been adjudicated of an offense that would have been a felony if it were committed by an adult
  • He or she was convicted an offense in another state or country that would be a felony in Florida

If a person, such as a convicted felon, possesses a firearm without having his or her right to bear arms reinstated, he or she can be charged with a second-degree felony. A second-degree felony is punishable by up to 15 years in prison, a fine of to $10,000 or both.

If you have been charged with a firearm offense, it is important to build a strong defense in your case. Contact a West Palm Beach firearm defense attorney at Meltzer & Bell, P.A. We can help you understand the charges against you and work to have them reduced or dropped. Call (561) 283-3259 to schedule a free case evaluation today.