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Penal Code 246.3 PC is California's "negligent discharge of a firearm" statute.  The statute prohibits wilfully firing a gun or bb device in a grossly negligent manner.  Wilfully almost always means on purpose. 

In a grossly negligent manner means in a way that could result in death or serious bodily injury. 

Enacted in 1988, the laws purpose was to deter people from shooting their guns into the air. 

The offense may be charged as a Felony or a Misdameanor. 

If after reading  some more about this law below you need more information give us a a call at 559-441-1418. 

In order to convict you of this crime the following must be shown.

1. That you willfully fired a gun or a bb device

2. That you did so in a grossly negligent manner

3. That the discharge of the gun could have resulted in a person death or serious bodily injury.

 

lets take a closer look

Willfully almost alawys in the law means on purpose.

you act willfully when you committ an act willingly or on purpose it does not matter if you dont intend to break the law as long as the act is intentional.

Firearm

A "Firearm" is "any device", designed to be used as a weapon, from which is expelled through a barrel a projectile by the force of any explosion or other form of combustion.

BB device a bb device is any instrument that expels a projectile, such as a bb or a pellet, through the force of air pressure, gas pressure or spring action. 

 

GROSSLY NEGLIGENT MANNER

When you act in a grossly negligent manner it means that you act in a reckless wauy that

1. creates a high risk of death or seious bodily injury

2. demonstrates a disregard for human life or indifference to the consequences and

3. is such that a "resonable" person would have recognized the nature of the risk.

COULD RESULT IN DEATH OR SERIOUS BODILY INJURY

It is not enough that you willfully discharge a firearm in a grossly negligent manner.  before the prosecution can convict you of this crime you of this offense they must prove that you did so in a manner which could lead to death or serious bodily injury.

LEGAL DEFENSES

SELF DEFENSE OR DEFENSE OF OTHERS

You are excused from otherwise criminal conduct when reasonably act to protect yourself or others from suffering imminent bodily harm.

This occurs when you.

1. You reasonably fear that you or someone else is about to suffer imminent bodily harm.  and

2. firing your gun is reasonably way to prevent harm. 

IF YOU ACCIDENTALLY FIRED THE WEAPON

You must be acting on purpose to be found guilty of this crime if you accidentally fired then that is not enough for a conviction and is a valid defense. 

THERE IS NO RISK OF DEATH OR SERIOUS BODILY

Referring back to an earlier point, if you discharge your firearm in an isolated area where there is no risk of injury or death, your act doesn't rise to the level of gorss negligence. 

PENALTIE

Penal Code 246.3. is a wobbler a "Wobbler" is an offense that can be charged a either a Felony or a Misdameanor, depending on your criminal history and other factors.

A conviction for this offense can result in your loss of gun rights.  if you are convicted of a Felony all Felons are prohibted from possessing a firearm.

if you are convicted of a Misdameanor than you must wait out a ten year period before owning a firearm. 

A felony conviction for this offense is also a serious felony for the purposes of the three strikes law and will count as a strike.

 

If you have any other questions about this law don't hesitate to call.

 

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Gerald Schwab, Jr.

CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY & DUI ATTORNEY SERVING ALL OF CALIFORNIA

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