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Illegal Discharge of a Firearm

Discharging a Firearm in a Public Space or Residential Area

According to Florida Statute § 790.15 (1), an unlawful discharge of a firearm occurs when a person knowingly discharges a firearm:

  • in any public place or on the right-of-way of a paved road, highway, or street.
  • over the right of way of a paved road, highway, or street.
  • over any occupied premise.
  • outdoors on any property that is used primarily as a site of dwelling or zoned for residential use recklessly or negligently.

A dwelling includes a building or vehicle of any kind whether it is temporary, mobile, permanent, or immobile (i.e. an attached porch, a tent, or another property designed to be occupied by people at night). A violation of this statute is a first-degree misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to a year of imprisonment, a fine of no more than $1,000, and/or mandatory probation.

Discharging a Firearm from a Vehicle

Under Florida Statute § 790.15 (2), it is also illegal to discharge a vehicle from a vehicle within 1,000 feet of any person. Committing this weapons crime is a second-degree felony, which is punishable by up to 15 years of imprisonment, a fine of no more than $10,000, and/or probation. Convicted felons also lose certain civil liberties (i.e. right to vote or possess a firearm).

It is also important to note that you can be charged with a third-degree felony if you tell or ask another person to discharge a firearm from a vehicle. A third-degree felony is punishable by up to 5 years of imprisonment and/or a fine of no more than $5,000.

What Is Considered a Firearm in Florida?

A firearm is legally defined as any weapon:

  • that is designed to, will, or can be easily made to release a projectile via an explosion,
  • the frame or receiver of the weapon,
  • a muffler or silencer,
  • a destructive device, or
  • a machine gun.

Legal Defenses for Discharging a Firearm

To prove that this crime has been committed, the prosecution must establish—beyond a reasonable doubt—that the alleged offender discharged a firearm in a public place, from a vehicle, or in a residential area and acted with intent. Possible defenses against these charges include:

  • The firearm was discharged accidentally. It can be argued that the alleged offender lacked intent and did not knowingly fire the weapon.
  • The alleged offender discharged their weapon in an act of self-defense or performance of their official duties. It can be argued that the charges should be dismissed as Florida Statute § 790.15 does not apply if the defendant discharges their weapon to defend their life or property or to perform official job responsibilities.
  • The prosecution has insufficient evidence. It can be argued that the prosecutors do not have proof that a weapon was illegally discharged, the defendant discharged the weapon, and/or a discharge actually occurred.

Retain Our Experienced Weapon & Firearm Defense Lawyers

At Hubbs Law Firm, we understand that this is more than a case; your rights and freedoms are at stake. When you retain our firm, you are treated as more than a number or case file, because we genuinely care about our clients. If you have been charged with n unlawful discharge of a firearm, we are equipped to help you:

  • Develop an individualized legal defense strategy
  • Understand your legal options
  • Stay informed about how your case is progressing

To learn more about how we can help you and speak with our reliable criminal defense attorneys, complete this online form or call us (305) 570-4802.

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