California Negligent Discharge of a Firearm
In California, negligent discharge of a firearm is illegal. If you were arrested and charged for being careless or reckless with your gun, you could face steep criminal penalties.
An experienced firearm defense lawyer at The Rodriguez Law Group can help you fight to avoid jail time, financial penalties, and a lasting criminal record.
How Can The Rodriguez Law Group Help if I Was Arrested for Negligent Discharge of a Firearm in California?
Gun charges are not to be taken lightly in Los Angeles, CA. Hiring an experienced California criminal defense attorney is the best way to protect your future and your freedom.
At The Rodriguez Law Group, we have over 50 years of experience between us. Hiring us means you’ll have an attorney to:
- Identify all potential defenses in your case
- Find any holes in the prosecution’s case
- Negotiate behind the scenes to have your charges reduced or dismissed
- Help you evaluate any plea bargain
Since we opened our doors in 1999, we’ve helped thousands of clients win not guilty verdicts or have their charges reduced. With a former prosecutor in your corner, you can rest assured that you’ll have the most aggressive defense possible.
We’re ready to start fighting for you. Call our California criminal defense lawyers to learn more about an attorney-client relationship today.
Overview of the Laws on Negligent Discharge of a Firearm in California
Negligent discharge of a firearm is a crime under California Penal Code 246.3.
Under California Penal Code Section 246.3, you can be charged if the prosecution can prove:
- You willfully discharged the firearm (meaning that you intended to pull the trigger)
- You acted in a grossly negligent manner
- The discharge could result in injury or death
You can’t be found guilty if you accidentally fired your gun. The prosecution must prove that you willfully and intentionally discharged your weapon to convict.
On the other hand, you can be convicted even if you didn’t hurt another person. It’s enough for the prosecution to prove that someone else could have been injured or killed.
What is Gross Negligence?
Gross negligence is more than simple carelessness; it’s conduct that shows an extreme departure from the ordinary standard of care. In legal terms, gross negligence is willful, wanton, and reckless conduct. To prove gross negligence, the prosecution must show that your actions demonstrated a reckless disregard for human life.
However, the prosecution doesn’t have to prove that you intended to hurt anyone. It’s enough to show that your acts were so reckless that someone reasonably could have been hurt.
Examples of Situations Involving Negligent Discharge of a Firearm
Most cases involving a negligent discharge of a gun or BB gun don’t involve an intent to hurt someone.
For example, you could be charged if you:
- Fired a gun into the air while celebrating a victory
- Fired a gun at a party to show off your new weapon
- Engaged in target practice with young children nearby
- Shot a BB gun at trees or other objects with pedestrians nearby
- Left a loaded gun in an area where a child found and discharged the weapon
All weapons charges are taken seriously in California courts. If you were charged, it’s important to speak with an experienced weapons defense lawyer sooner rather than later. Call The Rodriguez Law Group to schedule your free case review today.
What Are the Penalties for Negligent Discharge of a Firearm in California?
Compared to other gun charges, you might think that brandishing a weapon is a minor offense if you’re guilty of this crime. That’s not always the case.
Negligent discharge of a firearm is a “wobbler” offense in California. That means it can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the circumstances.
If you’re charged with a misdemeanor, your penalty may include:
- Summary probation
- A $1,000 fine
- Up to one year in Los Angeles county jail
Cases involving BB guns are always misdemeanors. However, you could be charged with a felony if your cases involved an actual gun.
Penalties for felony negligent discharge of a firearm can include:
- Formal probation
- Up to $10,000 in financial penalties
- 16 months, two years, or three years in state prison
A felony conviction will also count as a “strike” under California’s three-strikes law. If you have other “strikes” on your record, you could be subject to enhanced penalties.
Like any other criminal offense, conviction comes with collateral consequences, which may include:
- Difficulty finding employment or housing, especially if you’re convicted of a felony
- Problems with child custody or visitation
- Immigration problems
- A lasting criminal record
You could also lose your right to own or possess a firearm if you’re convicted of negligently discharging a firearm.
You could face enhanced penalties if the discharge was in any way connected to gang activities. In these cases, your prison sentence could be increased to four years.
If someone was killed, you could be charged with second-degree felony murder even if you didn’t intend to harm anyone.
What Defenses Can Be Raised if I’m Arrested for Negligent Discharge of a Firearm in California?
Examples of legal defenses that may be effective in your case include:
- You believed the firearm wasn’t loaded so that you didn’t willfully discharge a loaded weapon
- You fired the gun in an isolated area, so there was no risk that someone might be injured or killed
- You were acting in self-defense or defending another from imminent risk of great bodily injury
- The discharge was an accident
A strong defense is the only way to minimize the consequences of a weapons offense in California. Call our gun crimes defense lawyers at The Rodriguez Law Group to schedule a free initial consultation to learn more about building an effective defense in your case.
Contact a California Negligent Discharge of a Firearm Attorney for a Free Consultation
Were you arrested for negligently discharging a gun in California? Call a California negligent discharge of a firearm attorney today. At The Rodriguez Law Group, we offer a free consultation so that you can learn more about your legal options.