Defense Attorney for Careless Discharge of a Firearm
A person accused of carelessly firing a gun and causing property damage or injury faces criminal prosecution in Michigan. Although jail is not mandatory, a person faces other severe consequences if convicted.
Careless Discharge of a Firearm in Michigan
A person who, without acting willfully or wantonly, carelessly, recklessly, or negligently allows the discharge of a firearm is guilty of a misdemeanor if the bullet damages property or hurts someone. If the person discharged or allowed the gun’s discharge willfully or without regard for others, the government can charge the accused with a felony. Because of the potentially severe criminal and civil consequences, including the potential loss of firearm rights, it is essential to obtain the best legal representation possible.
Penalty for Careless Injury to a Person or Property.
If the careless discharge of a firearm results in property damage under $50.00, the defendant is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail and two (2) years of probation. The potential jail sentence increases to one year if the property damage exceeds $50.00. If a person was injured or killed as a result of the careless discharge of a firearm, the maximum sentence increases to two (2) years in prison. Although the latter offense, when it results in an injury or death, is technically called a “misdemeanor,” it is treated as a felony under Michigan and federal law.
Anyone convicted of Carless Discharge of a Firearm loses their hunting privileges for a minimum of three (3) years and their Concealed Pistol License (CPL) for eight (8) years.
Discharge of a Firearm by Another
The Carless Discharge of a Firearm charge in Michigan can apply if someone other than the accused fired the weapon. Michigan law imposes a duty on firearm owners to prevent their guns from being carelessly used by others. If a third party, like a child, discharges a firearm due to the owner’s carelessness, the owner can face criminal prosecution. For example, a person leaves a gun safe unlocked containing a loaded rifle. Their 9-year-old child finds the rifle and accidentally fires it through the wall of their apartment and into a neighboring residence. In this scenario, the prosecutor would charge the parent with Careless Discharge of a Firearm resulting in property damage.
Careless Discharge of a Firearm Resulting in an Injury or Death
If someone is responsible for the careless discharge of a firearm causing death or injury but did not act willfully or wantonly, they are guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment for up to two (2) years. Willfully and wantonly means an utter indifference to or conscious disregard for the safety of others or their property. Although accidental, judges generally impose jail or prison time if there is a severe injury or death. The only way to avoid incarceration for this offense is with a skilled, tenacious defense lawyer who advocates a solid defense or persuasive equitable and mitigating considerations.
What to do if Facing Pre-Charge Allegations
What do you do if the police want to ask you about the discharge of a firearm you possess or own? First, say nothing. Do not talk to the police! Anything you say “can and will be used against you in a court of law.” Next, respectfully demand a lawyer. An experienced attorney will guide you to prevent or mitigate potential criminal charges. Do not try to use the “it was just an accident” defense! If you admit to an “accident,” you are admitting guilt to the careless discharge of a firearm and ensuring you will face the charges in court. Let your lawyer do the talking for you. The Defense Team with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. has been successfully representing clients on a pre-charge basis for decades. If there is a way to prevent your case from getting to court, we will find it.
Can you avoid a conviction if you’re guilty?
If you carelessly discharged a gun or allowed the discharge of a firearm and you face charges in court, it is still possible to avoid a conviction through assertive plea bargaining. Most prosecutors and judges are firearm owners and might empathize with a defendant if your lawyer convincingly presents mitigation information. Although someone might be technically “guilty,” a persuasive defense lawyer can negotiate for reduced charges, a delayed sentence, a plea under advisement, or dismissal. When facing these allegations, a defendant can do several things to improve their odds of a favorable outcome. A seasoned defense lawyer will guide their client to minimize the chance of a conviction and a harsh sentence.
What to do if someone is injured or killed accidentally with a firearm.
Anyone who causes or is involved in the accidental injury or death of another with a firearm must immediately report the situation to the nearest law enforcement agency. First, call for help (most likely by dialing 9-1-1). If the emergency call is not routed through a police department, you must call local police, Michigan State Police, or a local sheriff’s department immediately. Failure to contact law enforcement promptly is a misdemeanor punishable by jail and probation.
Defense Attorney for Careless Discharge of a Firearm
Although “accidents happen,” it would be a mistake to assume that accidentally permitting or causing a firearm to discharge will be overlooked by law enforcement. If someone or something is damaged or harmed, charges and other consequences will likely occur. Even if a defendant avoids jail and probation, they will lose their civil right to possess concealed firearms and hunt if convicted. If a judge orders a term of probation, it will almost certainly include an order to relinquish any firearms. The gun associated with the criminal charge can be forfeited and destroyed. The Firearms Rights Defense Team with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. has decades of experience successfully defending clients charged with firearms-related offenses in state and federal courts throughout Michigan. We have a proven and reliable system that utilizes a unique team approach to consistently achieve the best possible outcome. Call us for a free consultation, and we will work with you to build a winning defense.
Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete a Request for Assistance Form. We will contact you promptly and find a way to help you.