What are the Defenses to Unlawfully Discharging a Firearm?
Florida has almost two million active concealed carry licenses, which is much more than any other state, including Texas. This statistic makes it very easy to see that the Sunshine State is very respectful of the Second Amendment. Still, to ensure the safety of the public, there are many laws on firearms in Florida, including when a person can and cannot discharge them. If you have been charged with unlawfully discharging a firearm, it is important to speak to an Orlando criminal defense lawyer that can help you beat the charges.
What is Unlawfully Discharging a Firearm in Florida?
Under the Florida Statutes, it is illegal to discharge a firearm in any public place, or on or over the right-of-way of any paved public highway, road, or street. It is also illegal to discharge a firearm over any premises that are occupied. Violating this law can result in a charge of misdemeanor of the first degree. The penalties for those convicted include up to 12 months in jail and a maximum $500 fine.
There are times when illegally discharging a firearm is considered a second-degree felony. These include when a firearm is discharged from a vehicle and within 1,000 feet of any other person. Those convicted of this offense will face much harsher penalties, including up to 15 years in prison and a maximum fine of $5,000.
Fortunately, being charged with any crime does not necessarily mean it will result in a conviction. There are defenses to illegally discharging a firearm and a criminal defense lawyer in Orlando can advise on the one most appropriate for your case.
Defenses to Unlawfully Discharging a Firearm
The law is very clear about when it is against the law to discharge a firearm. However, the law also allows for many exceptions that can help you beat the charges.
To be convicted of unlawfully discharging a firearm, you must have had the intention to do so. If the firearm accidentally discharges, you cannot be convicted of a crime. The law also does not apply if you discharge your firearm in self-defense to protect yourself from serious bodily injury, or if you were protecting your property.
Lastly, you can also discharge a weapon in the locations outlined in the law if you did so in an official capacity, or if you are allowed to carry and discharge a firearm by the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission or Florida Forest Service. For example, if you were hunting in an area in which you were allowed to do so, you cannot face criminal charges.
Our Criminal Defense Lawyer in Orlando Can Help You Beat the Charges
If you have been charged with unlawfully discharging a firearm, our Orlando criminal defense lawyer at O’Mara Law Group can prepare the solid defense you need. Call us today at 407-634-6604 or fill out our online form to schedule a consultation and to learn more about how we can help.