What You Need to Know About Unlawful Discharge of a Weapon Charges
Being accused of any weapons charge could have catastrophic consequences for your future if you are not careful to retain a criminal defense attorney immediately. Unlawful discharge of a weapon can escalate quickly and a police officer may accuse you of this crime without enough evidence or clarity about the situation. States have long restricted how and when people can use their firearms.
An unlawful discharge of a firearm is taken even more seriously in light of the various mass shootings and episodes of violence that have occurred across United States in recent years. Unlawful discharge laws are typically associated with an illegal firing of a firearm such as a shotgun or a pistol but it can also include other weapons like blowguns, pellet guns, BB guns or crossbows.
Certain areas and specific circumstances may be outlined in unlawful discharge laws. This can include firing across a state highway, firing into an unoccupied building or firing from a moving vehicle.
It is important to remember that you cannot commit unlawful discharge of a weapon if the weapon is fired accidentally. A prosecutor has the responsibility for proving in court that you intentionally fired the weapon; however, they do not have to show that you did so with the intention to damage property, to hurt someone or due to a malicious nature.
Prosecutors will typically use witness testimony, your own statements and circumstances surrounding the situation by identifying your intent. Many municipalities and cities may also have their own versions of unlawful discharge laws which prohibit the firing of a weapon within a specified geographic area. There are specific expectations that may be outlined for hunting or other rules and it is important to be aware of these issues before taking a weapon with you or considering firing it. Talk to your criminal defense lawyer in Cape May about your defense strategy.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney/client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.