Criminal negligence is defined as any type of behavior that is not what an ordinary person would do. It can also be the failure to notice unjustifiable risks that come with the specific behavior. One type of criminal negligence in California is called negligent discharge of a firearm.
Is the Firing a Gun Negligently the Same as California Gun Laws?
No. California gun laws refers to the purchase of a gun in the State. It covers the restrictions on the possession, sale, and transfer of firearms. While negligent discharge of a firearm covers “non-lethal” devices, such as BB guns. So in the State of California, it is illegal to fire a BB gun or firearm in a negligent way that could cause harm or death to another person.
Why Was I Charge with a Crime, When I Only Fired My Gun in the Air While Celebrating a Championship?
California enacted this law to prevent individuals from shooting a firearm or BB gun during any type of event, including festivals and sports events.
What Does the State Have to Prove to Convict Me of Firing a Gun in a Negligent Way?
To be convicted of negligently discharging a gun in California, the state must prove the defendant:
- Fired a BB gun or firearm on purpose;
- The act was done in a grossly negligent way;
- Which could have caused death or injury to another person.
What If I Discharged the Firearm in a Remote Place, Can I Still Be Convicted of Negligently Discharging a Gun?
No. If the gun was fired in a remote area where there’s no people, it wouldn’t be considered a violation of the law. It can’t be a violation since it could not have resulted in another person’s injury or death.
What the Penalty of Negligent Discharge of a Firearm?
In California, negligent discharge of a firearm is considered a wobbler. It means a defendant can be charge with a felony or misdemeanor negligent firing of a gun. The prosecutor will look to the circumstances of the case and the defendant’s criminal history to determine the severity of the charge.
If the negligent discharge was done with a BB gun instead of a firearm, it is almost always charged as a misdemeanor. A misdemeanor conviction is punishable with probation, up to 1 year in jail, and/or a fine of up to $1,000. While a felony conviction is punishable by probation, 16 months to 3 years in jail, and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
Should I Seek Legal Representation to Fight this Charge?
Yes. Talk to a California criminal lawyer to help you fight this charge and avoid the severe penalties associated with a conviction.