Unlawful Discharge of a Firearm in Dumfries

Prohibited conduct in Virginia is the reckless handling of firearm and it means a number of different things. There have been people that were charged with recklessly discharging a firearm while they were simply attempting to clean the gun or transport the gun in the manner that they believe would be safe.

Anything that resolves a firearm being unintentionally fired will usually mean reckless handling of a firearm and it becomes incumbent upon the government to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the conduct that occurred at the time was indeed reckless. Contact a distinguished gun possession attorney about how to fight potential charges for the unlawful discharge of a firearm in Dumfries. 

What are Considered Unlawful Discharge Conditions?

Any discharge of a firearm in public can be considered Unlawful discharge of a firearm in Dumfries. There are added penalties associated under Virginia law that takes place under certain other circumstances like near a school, near a church, things of that nature. The exception is if a person is engaged in lawful hunting. Hunting requires, in many cases, that a person fires a weapon in public. There is a hunting exception, but if a person is walking down in a street or any place, such as a business or public gathering and shoots a gun intentionally, and that can be charged as a crime in Virginia. 

Associated Penalties for Illegal Shooting of a Gun

If such conduct results in any bodily injury to another person, it is a Class Six felony which is punishable by up to five years in prison. If it does not result in bodily harm, it is a Class One misdemeanor which results in up to one year in jail and a $2,500 fine. However, if the discharge is near any school, they are guilty of a Class Four felony which is punishable by 2 to 10 years in prison. 

What is the Impact of Unlawful Discharge in a Gun-Free Zone?

Gun free zones are school areas which means they are within a thousand feet of a school. Unlawful discharge of a firearm in Dumfries is a Class Four felony which is punishable by two to ten years in prison. There is a hunting exception for that; if a person is 950 feet from a school and they are engaged in otherwise lawful hunting, they cannot prosecute them for that. They would always be well-served to not be hunting within a thousand feet of any school because things could go wrong, things might not go in the direction, they are aiming and someone can get injured. 

How to Defend Charges for Reckless Discharge

The statute always requires the discharge to be willful and intentional. When talking about firing a gun in public, if there is a lack of intent associated with it, that could  lead to possible defenses. The statute is clear; there must be a willful discharge or causing it to be discharged intentionally. If it is an accident then a person is not guilty of the willful discharge. 

If it is an accident, they might charge a person with a reckless handling of a firearm. Under those circumstances, they would need to prove or the government would need to prove that a person’s actions were reckless and their goal is defending this case saying it was a simple accident, and accidents do happen and just because an accident happens it does not mean that the conduct was reckless.