Discharge of Firearm in Public or Residential Property
The U.S. Constitution grants us the right to own firearms, but there are several restrictions on where and how a person may legally use these weapons. Though it is a common practice for people to shoot guns following Fourth of July and New Year’s Eve celebrations, depending on where and how they fire these guns, those who participate could be committing an offense if they shoot them in public or in a negligent or reckless manner. If you face criminal charges in West Palm Beach because you fired a gun in a questionable location, attorney Brian Gabriel can evaluate your case and provide options for defense strategy.
Unlawful discharge of a firearm makes it a crime to shoot a gun in a public place and/ or recklessly or negligently. Charges range from a misdemeanor to felony charges depending on the nature of the crime. Firing a gun from a vehicle results in felony charges. If you are unsure of how to protect your right to own a firearm following an arrest for a weapons crime, speak with a knowledgeable firearms and weapons defense lawyer in West Palm Beach.
Understanding Charges for Discharge of a Firearm in Public
The state prosecutor responsible for your case must prove several elements took place to win a conviction. They must show that you knowingly and intentionally fired the gun in a public setting, on the right of way of a road, street, or highway, or any other occupied premises.
The law excludes residential property; however, those who fire guns on their private property may still be guilty of unlawful discharge if they fire the gun in a reckless or negligent manner. Unlawful discharge of a firearm in public is a first-degree misdemeanor offense.
A criminal defense attorney with close attention to detail will investigate all the facts of your case to challenge the prosecutor’s arguments. Having an attorney on your side to protect your interests and preserve your rights is your best chance to obtain a favorable outcome to what is understandably a rough situation.
Discharging a Firearm from a Vehicle
The consequences for knowingly shooting a gun within one thousand feet of a person from the inside of a car are more severe than shooting the firearm out in the open. Discharging a firearm from a car is a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Additionally, if the driver or the owner of the vehicle instructs a passenger to shoot the gun from the car, whether or not he is physically in the car himself, he commits a third-degree felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
Defenses to Discharging a Firearm in Public
There are several defenses a weapons defense attorney may be able to employ to fight the charges against you. A sampling of such defenses includes:
- The discharge was not intentional (accidental discharge)
- The defendant was lawfully protecting life and property
- The defendant did not shoot in a public place
- There is no proof that the weapon in question belonged to the accused
Brian Gabriel of The Law Office of Gabriel & Gabriel has over 30 years of experience fighting criminal charges throughout Palm Beach County. Call 561-622-5575 or contact us online to see how he can support your case.