Illegal Discharge of a Firearm is often charged after a person accidentally fires a round from their gun, either during cleaning or while showing a gun to a friend. Let's take a look at exactly how a person is charged with this offense in Denver, Arapahoe, and El Paso County, and across Colorado.
What is Illegal Discharge of a Firearm?
A person will be charged with Illegal Discharge of a Firearm if they knowingly or recklessly shoot a gun or other type of firearm into a home, vehicle, motor vehicle, or any other occupied structure.
Illegal Discharge of a Firearm is commonly charged after accidentally firing a gun.
Consequences for Illegal Discharge of a Firearm
Illegal Discharge of a Firearm is a class 5 felony in Adams, Jefferson and Douglas County and across Colorado. A conviction can result in up to three years in the Colorado Department of Corrections, and the loss of the ability to own a firearm in the future. A felony conviction on your record can also have other consequences, such as the loss of your job or trouble finding employment in the future.
Common Scenarios Where Illegal Discharge of a Firearm is Charged
The reasoning behind the legislation for Illegal Discharge of a Firearm is to protect the public. But, this felony is often charged after people make mistakes, not in dangerous situations. Let's look at a few common examples of when this crime is charged in Boulder, Larimer, or Pitkin County.
Cleaning a Gun
A woman accidentally fires her gun while she is cleaning it. The bullet travels into her neighbor's house, but no one is harmed.
Forgot the Lock
A man forgets to turn on the safety of his rifle. His young son sees the weapon, and fires it outside, where it enters a building.
A man shows off his new handgun to his friends in his home. He pulls the trigger to dry fire, not realizing it is already loaded.
In any of the following cases, the stray bullet does not need to injure anyone in order for someone to be charged with Illegal Discharge of a Firearm. It simply needs to enter a dwelling place, car, or building for a person to meet the requirements for this offense. If the bullet does not enter one of these three places, you may be charged with Prohibited Use of Weapons – C.R.S. 18-12-106, for discharging a firearm recklessly or with criminal negligence. This class 2 misdemeanor is a good alternative to the felony Illegal Discharge of a Weapon.
Protect Your Gun Rights: Contact a Pro-Gun Defense Attorney
We value your freedom and right to bear arms, and will aggressively fight for you in court
Most people who are charged with Illegal Discharge of a Firearm did so after an accident. Yet, they are treated like criminals and face felony charges. The severity of the charge emboldens the criminal defense attorneys at O'Malley and Sawyer to fight hard for the gun rights of the accused. We value your freedom and right to bear arms. We will use every defense possible to protect this right. We will speak with the District Attorney, seek the opinion of expert witnesses, and use your lack of a criminal record as a defense in our case. If the police contact you regarding a firearm crime such as Illegal Discharge of a Weapon or Prohibited Use of Weapons, don't talk to them. Speaking with law enforcement will only hurt your defense. Instead, contact a hard-hitting criminal defense attorney for a free consultation so we can aggressively defend your Constitutional rights.
Colorado Illegal Discharge of a Firearm Statute – C.R.S. 18-12-107.5
“(1) Any person who knowingly or recklessly discharges a firearm into any dwelling or any other building or occupied structure, or into any motor vehicle occupied by any person, commits the offense of illegal discharge of a firearm.
(2) It shall not be an offense under this section if the person who discharges a firearm in violation of subsection (1) of this section is a peace officer as described in section 16-2.5-101, and in the performance of such officer's duties.
(3) Illegal discharge of a firearm is a class 5 felony.”