As former prosecutors, our gun attorneys know that Florida’s firearm laws are complex, and the applicability of state regulations depend upon where you are and when you happen to be there. There are very few “blanket” laws that are applicable in every hypothetical scenario. The laws against and involving discharging a firearm in public or on residential property are particularly circumstantial. Therefore, if you are facing charges for illegal discharge of a weapon in Ft. Lauderdale, please reach out to our attorneys at Leifert & Leifert.
Illegal Discharge Laws
Florida State Statute section 790.15 deals with the issue of discharging a firearm in public or on residential property. According to the law, it is a first-degree misdemeanor for someone to knowingly discharge a firearm in any public place or on the right-of-way of any paved public road, highway or street. It is also illegal to knowingly discharge a firearm over the right-of-way of any paved public road, highway or street or over any occupied premises; or to recklessly or negligently discharge a firearm outdoors on any property used primarily as the site of a dwelling.
Clearly, being charged with illegal discharging a firearm in Ft. Lauderdale is a serious matter, as a conviction could mean up to 1 year in jail and/or $1,000 in fines. However, it should be noted that someone can only be convicted of this crime if it is proven that the defendant knowingly discharged the weapon and that they did so without proper justification. For example, the law does not apply to someone lawfully defending life or property or someone who in the act of discharging the firearm was performing official duties. Additionally, the law does not apply to someone who discharged the firearm on public roads or properties that had been expressly approved for hunting by the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission or Florida Forest Service.
790.15 also mandates, more seriously, that any occupant of any vehicle who deliberately discharges a firearm from the vehicle within 1,000 feet of any other person is guilty of a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison and/or $10,000 in fines. Similarly, any driver or owner of any vehicle (whether or not such person is actually occupying the vehicle at the time) who directs anyone to discharge a gun from the vehicle in question has committed a third-degree felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison and/or $5,000 in fines.
Building a Defense for Firing a Weapon in a Public Place
There are various defense strategies that one of our Ft. Lauderdale attorneys could implement after someone is charged with illegally discharging a weapon in a public place. Some of the most common defenses in these cases include:
- Accidental discharge
- Self-defense, the defense of others, or the defense of property
- Lack of sufficient proof
- The discharge did not actually occur in a public place
- The gun in question did not belong to the defendant
The most effective defense will depend on the specifics of the case. After reviewing someone’s charges, one of our skilled attorneys could determine how to best defend the accused against these accusations.
Contact a Ft. Lauderdale Attorney When Facing Charges for Illegally Firing a Weapon
Facing charges for illegally discharge of a weapon in Ft. Lauderdale should not be taken lightly. Our lawyers know how to defend these cases because we used to successfully prosecute them. If you have been arrested for or charged with committing this crime, please contact our defense attorneys immediately.