Everyone knows that committing an assault with a firearm, shooting from a vehicle, or shooting into an occupied dwelling is a serious offense in California. But what is less known is that the simple act of firing a gun in California, especially in the city of Los Angeles, can carry very serious consequences.
People are frequently arrested for things like shooting a gun in the air or taking target practice in their backyard. They are often surprised to find themselves charged with a felony under California Penal Code 246.3, known as “negligent discharge of a firearm.”
To obtain a conviction under California Penal Code 246.3, prosecutors must prove:
1. The defendant intentionally shot a firearm
2. The defendant did the shooting in a reckless manner that created a high risk of death or great bodily injury
3. A reasonable person would have known that acting in such a way would create such a risk
4. The shooting could have resulted in the injury or death of a person
The prosecution will likely argue that in the densely populated urban areas of Los Angeles that a reasonable person would know that the act of shooting a gun into the air or even shooting at a target on private property creates a high risk of death or injury to another person and that actual shooting could have resulted injury or death of another person.
Prosecutors are NOT easily convinced to dismiss or reduce these charges. Gun crimes in Los Angeles are treated very seriously, even if the defendant didn’t intend any harm. You need a qualified and experienced criminal defense lawyer to fight the charges.
It is the job of the defense attorney to look at then specific facts and circumstances of the case to argue that there was no danger to any people. Often this requires a private investigator interviewing witnesses, and creating a detailed reconstruction of the scene of the alleged offense (usually in the form of video or photographs).
If the defense attorney can uncover favorable facts to punch holes in the prosecutor’s case, then this may be a good case to take to trial. Or, at the very least, it could be enough to persuade the prosecutor to reduce the charges to a misdemeanor or an even lesser offense. For instance, in the city of Los Angeles, sometimes a Penal Code 246.3 charge can be negotiated to a far less serious municipal code violation for discharging a firearm without a proper permit.
Bottom line: If you or a loved one are facing charges for negligent discharge of a firearm in Los Angeles or anywhere in Southern California, contact a qualified criminal defense attorney immediately. You can call The Law Offices of Jerod Gunsberg at (310) 210-0744 or via this confidential contact form.