NEGLIGENT DISCHARGE OF A FIREARM, PC 246.3(a)
Negligent Discharge of a Firearm, PC 246.3(a), is a common gun crime and can be charged either as a felony or misdemeanor. Having a top criminal defense lawyer represent you in court is important because having a gun charge on your criminal record could result in jail time and could cause you to miss out on employment opportunities.
In order for a defendant to be found guilty of Negligent Discharge of a Firearm, PC 246.3(a), the prosecutor must prove that:
- the defendant willfully and unlawfully discharged a firearm (or even a BB gun)
- with gross negligence (as in criminal negligence)
- and that action could have resulted in another person’s injury or death
NOTE: Even if nobody is hurt or killed by this act, the defendant can still be found guilty because this charge focuses solely on the act of shooting the firearm. The defendant can also be found guilty even if the gun was not aimed at another person.
NOTE: Keep in mind that gross negligence is not normal negligence. It is the type of negligence that goes beyond what a reasonable would do and creates a risk of great bodily injury or death to another person.
For a FELONY conviction of Negligent Discharge of a Firearm, PC 246.3(a), the maximum jail time is 3 years in state prison.
For a MISDEMEANOR conviction of Negligent Discharge of a Firearm, PC 246.3(a), the maximum jail time is 1 year in county jail.
Negligent Discharge of a Firearm, PC 246.3(a), as a felony is a strike because it is a “serious” felony.
Defenses Against Negligent Discharge of a Firearm, PC 246.3(a)
1. You thought the gun was not loaded.
If you thought the gun was NOT loaded, that is a defense against Negligent Discharge of a Firearm, PC 246.3. Case law has spoken to that issue and believing that the gun was NOT loaded IS a defense.
2. You were shooting to defend yourself.
If you were shooting because you reasonably thought you were in imminent danger, and you only used a reasonable amount of force necessary, and you reasonably thought that using the firearm was necessary, then you have a defense against Negligent Discharge of a Firearm, PC 246.3(a). The key here is reasonableness. In other words, if a person said they were going to throw a piece of food at you because they were angry, you cannot claim that you discharged a firearm out of self-defense.
3. The discharge of the firearm was not a danger to anyone.
This is usually in cases when no one else was around. Let’s say you drove out to the desert and did not see anyone. You had been told by authorities that there would be nobody even close to that spot. You discharge the firearm and no one is within 20 miles. You have a defense against Negligent Discharge of a Firearm, PC 246.3(a).
Negligent Discharge of a Firearm cases can turn on little details and that is why it is important to hire a top criminal lawyer to represent you. A criminal defense lawyer will examine the facts closely to see if there are any defenses possible. Whether that may be because you thought the gun was unloaded or because you did not put anyone at danger, it is important to have an aggressive criminal defense lawyer for gun charges. We are located in Orange County but also serve LA County, Riverside County, San Bernardino, and all of southern California. We conduct business with our clients both in person and remotely. Our phone number is 213-235-7969 and we look forward to discussing your case with you.