I've defended a lot of people who have been charged with negligent discharge of a firearm over the course of the last twenty-five years. This particular crime is a wobbler under California Penal Code Section 246.3 and can be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor.
Usually in deciding whether it should be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor and how harsh they're going to be on the case, the prosecutors are going to look at the dangerousness level of the person who fired the firearm and they're going to look at why they fired the firearm and whether anybody was in jeopardy of being shot when they fired the firearm.
Negligent discharge of a weapon is treated very seriously in Los Angles, California, and throughout the United States, especially because of all the shootings that have been going on across the country. In fact, it's often considered a violent crime offense.
Factors of Danger, Injury or Death
There's a lot of scrutiny on people who use firearms and commit offenses. The authorities are obviously concerned that when someone uses a firearm, there's a heightened level of danger that's involved, and somebody could get seriously injured or even a death could occur.
So, when it comes to these cases, they're very fact-specific and what I do, I try to show the reason why the firearm was discharged and what the surrounding circumstances were.
A lot of times I see, having done these cases over the course of the last twenty-five years, that people have to do certain things in order to defend themselves.
Other times, people make moves they really didn't have to do to defend themselves, but they felt in their mind that they needed to do certain things. No matter what the reason, you've got to have an attorney who's been down this road before and who has had success.
Defenses to Negligent Discharge of a Firearm – PC 246.3
There are a number of different defenses that can apply. Sometimes there's self-defense because someone has to pull out a gun and fire it because another person has a weapon.
Other times, there's not really a perfect self-defense, but there are certain surrounding circumstances that make a person feel like they need to defend themselves.
Other times, somebody gets angry and they're thinking about using a weapon or they feel like they need to get somebody away from them or they're being ganged up on by a number of different people, and therefore, they need to utilize a weapon in order to defend themselves.
No matter what the case is, you've got to have a criminal defense lawyer advocate on your side who can present your version of events. A lot of times I see authorities only getting a one-side account of what happened in these negligent discharge cases, and not getting the other side. It's crucial that your side of what happened is gotten across to the prosecutors and judge, so you will be treated fairly.
Reviewing Details for Best Possible Outcome
What I do in these cases is, I have you come in, we sit down, you give me all the facts and details surrounding the case. I obviously want you to be honest. Give me a full account so I can best help you.
Don't leave anything out. Don't put a spin on it. Give me the full details and then we can sit down and decide whether or not you actually have a defense to the case, or whether this is going to be a situation where we're doing damage control in the negligent discharge situation and trying to get this thing down to a misdemeanor or work it out so that you can earn a misdemeanor.
Obviously, we are attempting keep you out of prison, because the temptation for the prosecutors and judge is to put somebody away for as long as they can when it comes to these cases, because they're concerned that if they don't, in the future this person is going to get a gun and this time instead of negligently discharging it, they're actually going to point it at somebody and shoot them. Call the Hedding Law Firm to review the case.
So, that's my job – to get the character letters and to get any type of other reports that we need in order to establish that you're not a bad person, that there is another side to the story, whatever you did with this weapon was an aberration that's never going to happen again, and the key is to try to have both of us work together towards the common goal of getting you out of the judicial system as fast as possible.