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Negligent Discharge of a Firearm Law

The penalty for unlawfully discharging a firearm in the city of Phoenix, Arizona can be severe. Depending on the circumstances, the crime of unlawful discharge of a firearm is generally classified as a class 6 felony.

In Phoenix, the punishment for unlawful discharge of a firearm can include jail time, fines, and restitution. If convicted, a person who unlawfully discharges a firearm may face up to three years in jail and a hefty fine, depending on the circumstances. In addition, the perpetrator may be required to pay restitution for any damage caused by the discharge of the firearm, such as medical bills for victims or property repair.

Punishment for a violation of negligent discharge of a firearm law in Phoenix is based on varying factors. The severity of the punishment depends on the type of weapon used, whether the weapon was stolen, and the intent of the person firing the weapon. It is also possible for alternative punishment to be requested if certain conditions are met, such as the completion of a gun safety class or community service.

In addition to criminal consequences, those accused of unlawful discharge of a firearm may also face civil charges from the victims or their families. If victims are injured or suffer losses due to the incident, they can pursue compensation through a civil lawsuit. Damages in such cases will vary, but they may include reimbursement for medical expenses, emotional trauma, and legal fees.

If you or a family member have been injured as a result of a negligent gun owner, call the expert attorneys at Torgenson Law to discuss your options and the steps you need to take to claim compensation for your injuries or damages.

What is Unlawful Discharge of Firearms?

Negligent discharge of a firearm law relates to the negligent discharge of a firearm when a person shoots a firearm in a public place or in an area where another person may be present. This type of negligence is illegal in most parts of the United States, as well as Arizona, and can result in substantial jail time if convicted.

Unlawful discharge of firearms involves the release of a round for any purpose other than a sanctioned activity, such as hunting or target practice. It is not limited to the discharge of a single round, as a person may be arrested for firing multiple rounds on public property or in a place where there is a risk of people being injured.

Unlawful discharge of firearms is considered a dangerous offense by police and prosecutors, if it was done with intent to hurt or intimidate someone. In Phoenix, law enforcement takes this type of crime seriously and typically investigates it thoroughly. Penalties for unlawful discharge of firearms can be severe, depending on the specifics of the crime. In certain cases, offenders may face potential jail time and hefty fines, in addition to probation and suspension of their gun license.

A.R.S. § 13-3107 Explained

Arizona A.R.S. § 13-3107, codifies the crime of “Unlawful Discharge of Firearms,” defined in Arizona state law, to be considered a class 6 felony which is often charged as a dangerous offense, and can result in mandatory prison time for up to three years, even for a first-time offender. This law is also known as “Shannon’s Law” due to a terrible incident where a stray bullet killed a 14-year-old girl named Shannon Smith.

The language of A.R.S. 13-3107 states: “A person who with criminal negligence discharges a firearm within or into the limits of any municipality is guilty of a class 6 felony.”

Examples of an unlawful discharge of a firearm include:

  • Shooting a firearm on public property in the borders of a town
  • Firing a gun into the air in a public park
  • Discharging a gun in a school parking lot

It’s important to note that Shannon’s law also applies to rifles, pellet guns, and slots shots. A negligent discharge involving a rifle, pellet gun, or slots shots is a Class 1 Misdemeanor. A class 1 misdemeanor is the most serious of misdemeanor offenses in Arizona.

There are exceptions to the law, as a gun owner may not be charged or found innocent if:

  • They were authorized by the law to fire a weapon
  • They were at a shooting range when firing a gun
  • They were in a Arizona designated hunting zone when firing the gun
  • They fired the weapon in defense of persons or property from a nuisance animal
  • They discharged the gun outside of city limits
  • They used a firearm filled with only blank cartridges with no projectiles
  • They discharged a firearm in self-defense of person or property
  • If the shooting took place as part of target practice in a supervised target practice area.

If you or a family member have been injured or suffered damages because of the negligent discharge of a firearm, you should contact our firearm attorneys as soon as possible. At Torgenson Law, our attorney will evaluate your case to understand the circumstances surrounding the incident, and our team will help build a solid case for compensation under Arizona law.

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John Torgenson

John Torgenson is a highly experienced personal injury lawyer with over 20 years of practice in Arizona. He earned his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Utah and his Juris Doctor from Notre Dame. John has a proven track record of securing substantial verdicts and settlements, including an $8.25 million recovery for a gunshot injury victim. His expertise has earned him AVVO ratings and recognition as a Super Lawyer.

John is also a sought-after lecturer on personal injury law, sharing his extensive knowledge with peers and aspiring attorneys. Beyond his legal practice, John is an avid golfer and actively supports organizations like the Military Assistance Mission, Arizona School for the Arts, Page Balloon Regatta, University of Arizona Foundation, Junior Achievement of Arizona, and the Tim Huff Pro Bono Golf Classic.

Passionate about advocating for injury victims, John dedicates his career to battling insurance companies and corporate interests, ensuring that the rights of those who are hurt are vigorously defended.