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Accidently discharging a gun may result in criminal charges

At the Baker Law Firm, we understand that some criminal charges result from genuine accidents. When this occurs, a single mistake or lapse in judgment may lead to a life-altering criminal record. Certain criminal statutes do not allow exceptions in cases of accidents. In Arizona, unlawfully discharging a firearm is one such offense.  

Under Shannon’s Law, codified Chapter 31 of the Criminal Code of the Arizona Revised Statutes, it is a class 6 felony to negligently discharge a firearm within city limits. It is not a defense that the discharge was an accident. Under this law, someone playing with a firearm may face the same penalties as someone who discharges a firearm while committing a violent act.

Depending on the situation, it may be possible to such charges dismissed. One option is to argue that the discharge falls under one of the law’s exceptions. This may be possible if the discharge was:

  • Justified, according to the definition provided in Chapter 4 of the Arizona Criminal Code
  • Performed in the lawful taking of wildlife during open season
  • On a supervised range

It should be noted that certain limitations may apply in each of these circumstances.  

A criminal conviction may come not only with a prison sentence, but also lifelong hardship. Due to these harsh consequences, we work hard to ensure that our clients mount a strong defense against their charges. To learn more about defending against a weapons crime charge, please see our page on the unlawful discharge of a firearm. 

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