Intentional Discharge of a Firearm

Every Minnesotan has the right to keep and bear arms, but this right comes with tremendous responsibility. Guns are considered a dangerous weapon, so users are required to exercise extreme caution. Failing to do so can result in criminal charges for intentional discharge.

Intentionally firing a weapon and placing you or others in danger is a serious crime in Minnesota. Maybe the shooting was an accident or an act of self-defense. Either way, you will need an attorney on your side to defend the charges against you.

Criminal Defense Attorney in Apple Valley

The sooner you retain legal counsel, the better your chances of a more favorable outcome. James Blumberg is a dedicated criminal defense attorney who will stop at nothing to achieve the most favorable outcome for you. As a former prosecutor, he knows what the other side is willing to do to achieve a conviction. He will use this to your advantage and formulate a defense in your best interest.

Exercise your right to legal counsel. Call (952) 431-7758 to schedule a free case evaluation at James Blumberg Law. James Blumberg defends clients in areas such as Apple Valley, Carver, Coon Rapids and Minneapolis. 

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Elements of Intentional Discharge of a Firearm  

The Minnesota Statutes do not have a specific crime for intentionally firing a weapon. Instead, doing so is considered reckless discharge. In essence, reckless means you knew your actions could potentially harm others and yourself but continued to act anyway without regard to the risk you created. A common example of reckless discharge is firing a in celebration of New Years.

To be found guilty of the offense, prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt you intentionally fired the weapon. Not only this, but they will also have to prove your actions put you and others in harm’s way. The state is not keen on those who exhibit recklessness. They will view you as a social danger and assume you gamble with other’s safety.

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Is Reckless Discharge a Felony?

Maybe you were showing your new gun to some friends and decided to fire the weapon, and as a result, you put them in harm’s way. The Minnesota courts take gun crimes seriously. According to the statutes, you will be charged with a felony if you are caught intentionally discharging a weapon.

As a felon, you will have to endure additional penalties that are far more reaching than fines and time in prison. You could be fired from your job, have a difficult time finding housing and temporality lose your right to bear arms. It’s crucial you retain legal counsel so this doesn’t happen to you. A defense attorney can file motions, suppress evidence and do whatever else necessary to clear your name.

In addition to the consequences mentioned above, you could also be sentenced to the following:

  • Up to two years in prison; or
  • A fine of up to $5,000; or
  • Both a fine and incarceration

These criminal penalties have the potential to be elevated depending on where the weapon was fired. Recklessly discharging a firearm in a school zone, park zone or public housing area is a felony punishable by the following:

  • Up to five years in prison; or
  • A fine of up to $5,000; or
  • Both a fine and Incarceration

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Possible Defenses for Intentional Discharge of a Firearm

The best defense anyone can take against criminal charges is speaking with a criminal defense lawyer. They can evaluate the facts of your case and build a defense plan in your best interest. Various defense strategies can be taken for charges of reckless discharge. Keep in mind; no two cases are alike, so the defenses mentioned on this page might not apply to your case.

You cannot be guilty of the offense if you were acting in self-defense. This may apply to your case if you had reason to believe you or someone else was in danger of suffering bodily injury and you discharged the weapon to defend yourself. For instance, assume you are walking your dog when two feral dogs appear acting like they will attack. You fire a few warning shots to scare them away, but the bullets could have struck other people in the vicinity.

You could claim self-defense in this situation since there was an actual threat and the necessary force was used to defend yourself.

Other possible defenses for reckless discharge include:

  • You didn’t know the gun was loaded
  • No one was in actual danger
  • The weapon, magazine or ammunition malfunctioned
  • The weapon was accidentally fired

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Additional Resources

Dangerous Weapons | Minnesota Statutes – It’s advised you read up on the laws governing the offense you have been charged with. By following the link, you can read the section of the Minnesota Statutes over reckless discharge. You can learn about other situations that can lead to the charge and learn about other weapons crimes.

Definitions | Minnesota Statutes – Follow the link provided to read the legal definition of a school zone, park zone and public housing zone. You can also gain access to other state laws. The statute can be read on the Minnesota Legislature website.

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Criminal Defense Lawyer in Apple Valley

Felony charges are too serious to be dealt with by an inexperienced lawyer. James Blumberg is a steadfast attorney with over a decade of experience in felony defense. He will evaluate every aspect of the alleged reckless discharge and do everything in his power to clear your name.

James Blumberg Law is based in Dakota County but regularly assist clients in areas such as Anoka County, Carver County and Hennepin County. Take advantage of our free consultation and call (952) 431-7758 to schedule a time to speak with us.

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