Discharging A Firearm In Public
Like it or not, guns are an embedded part of American and Floridian culture. And whether you are a supporter of firearm rights or not, there is no denying that the constitution of the United States provides a right to citizens of the country to bear arms for their defense. Firearms however, are undoubtedly dangerous instruments and are deserving of government oversight and regulation. This regulation often results in the passage of laws that criminalize certain actions taken with a firearm. Firearm offenses are taken very seriously by police and prosecutors and often carry significant penalties if you are convicted. Because of the serious repercussions of criminal firearm laws, it is important that you consult with a skilled St. Petersburg gun crime lawyer if you are ever charged with a crime involving a gun.
One firearms offense that might not be obvious to the lay person is Discharging a Firearm in Public or on Residential Property. Florida Statute 790.15 criminalized the act of knowingly discharging a firearm in any public place or any private property that is primarily a home. If you are accused of and convicted of this offense, you are guilty of a first degree misdemeanor that is punishable by up to one year in jail and up to one year of probation.Enhanced Penalties
While the unlawful discharge of a firearm is typically a first degree misdemeanor, there are certain factual scenarios where the offense will be enhanced to a more serious offense. If you are driving a vehicle or are the owner of a vehicle, and you direct someone to fire a gun from within the vehicle, you can be convicted of enhanced unlawful discharge of a firearm which is a third degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison along with lengthy probation and significant fines.
If you are inside of a vehicle and you fire a weapon from inside the vehicle when there is a person within 1000 feet of that vehicle, you could be charged with the most serious enhancement of the law. If you are convicted of unlawfully discharging a firearm from within a vehicle, you can be convicted of a second degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison. The purpose of these two enhancements were placed on the books to more seriously punish people who either negligently or purposefully fire guns from moving vehicles, and to dissuade people from “drive by shooting.” If you have been charged with any of these enhanced offenses, you should contact an experienced St. Petersburg criminal lawyer immediately to begin to build your defense.Defenses
The law prohibiting the unlawful discharge of a firearm also has some built in defenses that your lawyer can use to protect you from the harsh penalties the law carries. For example, if your lawyer can demonstrate that in the process of firing your gun, you were lawfully defending your life or another person’s life, you cannot lawfully be charged with this offense. Additionally, there is an exception to the statute allowing the discharge of firearms on public land if you obtain a license for hunting from the Florida Fish and Wildlife authorities.
Self defense will typically be the most common defense for these types of cases, and it is important that you discuss your options with a dedicated St. Petersburg criminal lawyer who can collect evidence and build your defense in preparation for your day in court. Firearms offenses are treated seriously in the criminal justice system, and you do not want to face the system on your own.Speak to our Dedicated Lawyers Today
If you have been charged with the unlawful discharge of a firearm, don’t hesitate to contact the lawyers at Hanlon Law today at 727.289.0222. We have the dedication and experience that you need to secure the best results for your case.