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What Counts As An Illegal Discharge of a Firearm?

On Behalf of The Foley Law Firm | October 6, 2021

If the police charge you with a gun crime, it is crucial to understand exactly what the charge means. Legal terms can be confusing, and it is easy to get yourself deeper into trouble if you give the wrong answers because you are unsure what the police are asking.

The illegal discharge of a firearm is a charge that only applies to two limited sets of circumstances. They are firing into a vehicle or firing into a building.

How can you fight a gun charge?

Here are three questions to ask that could reveal ways you may be able to contest the charge:

  • Did you fire the weapon? You and a group of friends were shooting cans near a building but firing in the opposite direction. One person turned around and let off their gun toward the building. Can the prosecution prove that was you?
  • Did you do so knowingly or recklessly? If you tripped over when walking past a car causing your gun to go off, that does not constitute a knowing or reckless action. Aiming at the vehicle would be knowing. Waving your rifle in the air while standing next to the car might count as reckless.
  • Did you have a valid reason to fire? Self-defense laws may justify your actions. If, for example, you fired your handgun at someone in a car pointing an assault rifle at you, the court should find you not guilty of an illegal discharge.

To contest a weapons charge, you need to take a close look at the wording of the law. Slight differences in language can make a big difference, of which you may be unaware. Having help as you challenge the prosecutor's interpretation of the laws and events will be essential to avoid the severe penalties gun crimes can bring.

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