Every Forth of July and New Year’s Eve, you’re bound to hear someone shoot off their firearm in celebration, but this activity isn’t just noisy, it’s also dangerous. And because it is dangerous, it’s also illegal. The charge of negligently discharging a firearm can even be a felony offense, which is why you should immediately contact a San Diego criminal lawyer if you are accused of this serious crime.
Just because it’s not a holiday doesn’t mean you can’t be charged with negligently discharging a firearm and even if it is a holiday, it doesn’t mean that anyone who shoots their gun or BB gun is acting in a negligent manner. Holidays are just the most common time for people to misuse their firearms. The thing that determines whether or not a firearm was negligently discharged is whether or not the weapon was handled in a grossly negligent manner that could result in death or injury to a person. As you can imagine, this definition often creates a legal gray area, which is left to interpretation by the judge. If you are charged with this crime, your San Diego criminal attorney can help argue that no negligent handling of the firearm took place and that no one was at risk due to your actions.
While this defense won’t work in cases where a person fired a handgun off into the air in a crowd of people, especially if one of the people in the crowd was injured or killed as a result, it is a common defense in these cases where negligence and danger are not so obvious. In more obvious cases, like the example above, your San Diego criminal lawyer might be better off negotiating with the prosecution to ensure you will be facing a misdemeanor charge and minimal sentence since as a felony offense, it carries a possible sentence of up to three years in prison and $10,000 fines. Additionally, while a misdemeanor will require you wait ten years before acquiring another firearm, a felony conviction will result in your permanent loss of your Second Amendment rights.
Of course, depending on the specifics of the situation, your San Diego criminal attorney could also argue that you were acting in self defense or that you had good reason to believe the weapon was empty and that the discharge was an accident.
There are many different defenses to the negligent discharge of a firearm, but you must talk to a San Diego criminal lawyer before speaking to the police or you could say something that may harm your case later on. If you have been charged with this or any related weapons crime, please call (760) 643-4050 OR (858) 486-3024 to schedule a free initial consultation with Peter M. Liss.
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