DC Unlawful Discharge of a Firearm Lawyer

Due to the inherent dangers of a gun, DC lawmakers have established strict regulations about when and where a gun holder can discharge their weapon. Therefore, if someone acts outside of these laws, they may be severely prosecuted.

If you have been charged with illegally firing your weapon, you should reach out to a DC unlawful discharge of a firearm lawyer. A seasoned gun attorney may be able to help you build a case after examining the circumstances that led up to your charges.

Conditions for a Legal Firearm Discharge

In most circumstances, it is illegal to fire a gun. However, in certain conditions, a person might lawfully discharge a firearm. For example, lawful circumstances include when someone is at a designated shooting range, a training event with proper authorization, or a sport shooting event.

In specific circumstances where a person uses their gun in self-defense, they may also be legally able to discharge their weapon. In these situations, however, a gun owner must show that they met all the elements of self-defense when they fired their weapon. The law also permits police officers to use their weapons in certain designated situations. When this happens, an inspector reviews the case to determine if the police officer used appropriate force when discharging their firearm. Essentially, when an officer fires their weapon legally, they must have done so in the interest of public safety, and to prevent potential additional loss of life.

If someone uses their gun outside of these situations, they could face a misdemeanor charge. The unlawful discharge of a firearm has a maximum penalty of up to one year in jail and a $1,000.00 fine. An experienced DC unlawful discharge of a firearm attorney could review an alleged gun offender’s case to determine if they were operating outside of the law when they fired their weapon.

Gun-Free Zones

A gun-free zone is a specifically designated area that prohibits gun possession unless someone is authorized as a member of law enforcement, arm services, or another designated organization. Gun-free zones may include:

  • Areas within 1,000 feet of schools
  • Daycare centers
  • Public housing
  • Public pools
  • Public playgrounds
  • Public libraries

The penalties for illegally discharging a weapon double if the incident occurs within a gun-free zone. Therefore, what may normally result in one-year in jail and a $1,000 fine, may be elevated to a maximum of two years in prison and a $2,000 fine.

Defenses to Illegally Firing a Gun

Defenses to unlawful discharge of a gun depend on the circumstances of the case. Self-defense may be a full defense to this type of charge, if someone can show that they subjectively feared for their safety or if they had objectively reasonable fear. However, a skilled attorney may only use self-defense as a defense strategy if they can argue that the defendant’s action of firing their weapon was in proportion to the threat against them. This means the defendant must have been facing the potential loss of their life or serious injury.

Another defense may be arguing that the defendant accidentally discharged their weapon. The law only considers acts as criminal if they are intentional. Therefore, if someone accidentally discharges their gun while cleaning it, this could be considered a full defense. Other defenses may include if an alleged gun offender has an alibi or another reason for firing their gun illegally—depending on the specific facts of the case. A skilled attorney in DC could asses the circumstances surrounding a client’s allegedly unlawful discharge of a firearm and work to identify which defense strategy may work best with the specifics of this person’s situation.

Contact a DC Unlawful Discharge of a Firearm Attorney

Gun laws in DC are extremely specific and complex. As a result, gun charges can be difficult to defend without knowledgeable legal representation.

If you have been charged with illegally firing your gun, you should contact a DC unlawful discharge of a firearm lawyer immediately. An attorney could explain the reasoning behind your charge and what defense options you may have depending on the specifics of your case.