We’ve previously discussed the fact that merely having a firearm in your possession without the proper authorization can lead to criminal charges, so it’s probably no surprise that the unlawful discharge of a firearm can also be a serious offense.
What is the aggravated discharge of a weapon?
Essentially, this is the charge that can be applied whenever a weapon is fired in a way that could be unsafe. That includes:
- Firing a weapon in someone’s direction, even if you never intended to hit them
- Firing a weapon into a vehicle that could be occupied at the time
- Firing at a building or in the direction of a building that could be occupied
It’s important to remember that this charge can apply even if a targeted vehicle or building happens to be empty. It’s enough for the charges to stick if someone might have been inside the car or building or the alleged shooter should have reasonably known that they could have been there.
Plus, while the charge usually applies to handguns, rifles and automatic weapons, you can also be charged just as easily for firing a pellet or BB gun unlawfully.
What are the penalties for the aggravated discharge of a weapon?
This charge is usually a Class 1 felony. If convicted, you face the possibility of a 15-year prison sentence and a $25,000 fine. If you’re accused of discharging a weapon within 1,000 feet of a school, park, school bus or during a school function, the charge is elevated to a Class X felony. That carries a minimum sentence of 10 years — and can net you up to 45.
When you’re facing gun charges of any kind, don’t take chances with your future. Get a defense attorney by your side who will aggressively protect your interests.