Unlawful Discharge of A Firearm in Arizona

The state of Arizona takes the issue of unlawful discharge of firearms very seriously, primarily governed by the ARS 13-3107. Given the seriousness of this crime, it is classified as a class 6 felony offense in Arizona. Also known as the Shannon’s Law, it was created in response to a tragic incident involving a young Phoenix resident, Shannon Smith.

Posted by Editor on Feb 26, 2024



The Foundation of Shannon’s Law

The name Shannon’s law evolved after a stray bullet mortally struck a 14-year-old Phoenix resident, Shannon Smith. This fatal incident led to public outcry, and thus, the Arizona legislature passed Shannon’s Law in 1999, making unlawful discharge of firearms a felony.

Deep Dive into the Law and it's Implications

Classifying a firearm offense as a felony revolves around determining whether the criminal negligence was involved. It focuses on whether a person, consciously or unconsciously, neglected the substantial risk that existed due to discharging a firearm within the municipality's limits.

Understanding Dangerous Offense

The ARS 13-3107 defines a “dangerous offense” as the employment, discharge, or menacing exhibition of a threatening instrument. This classification escalates the penalties one faces upon conviction and mandates prison time, even for first-time offenders.

What Constitutes Illegal Discharge of a Firearm

For discharge of a firearm to be considered unlawful, it has to occur within the precincts of a city or town—known as a municipality. Thus the unlawful discharge revolves around two key actions: Discharging a firearm within a municipality and doing so with criminal negligence.

When Does it Become a Felony Charge?

Unlawful discharge of firearms gets deemed a felony under certain conditions. As explained by Phoenix Attorney David Maletta with Colburn Hintze Maletta Law, such conditions include firing a gun with criminal negligence and thereby introducing an unjustifiable or substantial risk. This negligence refers to a significant failure in adhering to the standard level of care that a reasonable person would uphold in that situation.

However, the law recognizes exceptions. These exceptions consider scenarios such as firing blanks, defending against an animal attack, regulated firing ranges, and legal self-defense. But what happens when you find yourself on the wrong side of the law, even unintentionally?

Importance of a Defense Attorney in Firearm Cases

Even with your intentions far from being negligent, it becomes crucial to hire a professional defense attorney when charged with unlawful discharge of a firearm. The Law Office of James Novak reminds us that a felony on your record can lead to serious consequences like the loss of firearm ownership rights.

One must remember that a strong aggressive defense can turn the tides in these cases, ensuring reduced charges or even a complete dismissal. The renowned Phoenix Criminal attorney is available round-the-clock to offer expert legal advice in such situations. But what does one do when charged with a slightly different offense, for instance—discharging a firearm at a structure?

Discharging a Firearm at a Structure: A Different Ballgame

The ARS 13-3107 and A.R.S. § 13 recognizes another serious firearm-related offense—discharging a firearm at a structure. This offense falls under a higher category: a class 3 felony, emphasizing the severity of illegal firearm use within the municipality limits.

To protect your rights when faced with such serious allegations, precision in legal defense becomes imperative. The Salwin Law Group ensures that your case gets the strategic and comprehensive defense it requires.

Understanding the gravity of illegal firearm usage and the related laws allows for better civic responsibilities. It ensures that the joy of using a firearm doesn't transform into a life-altering legal complication. Stay informed, stay responsible.