Discharge of Firearm

More often than not, discharging a firearm — a handgun, shotgun, rifle, automatic weapon or any other weapon that fires a projectile — is illegal in New York. There are some exceptions for hunting, target practice, self-defense and use in the line of duty. In many cases, it may be legal for you to possess a firearm, but discharging it runs afoul of the law because of the proximity of a dwelling, school, vehicle or another person.

The Blanch Law Firm in New York understands the intricacies of state firearms laws and has attorneys with the courtroom experience to properly defend weapons charges. It is always in your best interest to contact an attorney as soon as you have been arrested. Early intervention can secure evidence and witnesses that form the basis for a sound defensive strategy.

In New York, it is a violation of Penal Law Article 265, Section 265.35 to willfully discharge a loaded firearm or any other gun at a:

  • Plane or other aircraft, either on the ground or in the air
  • Train or locomotive
  • Car, bus or vehicle The charge is the same regardless of whether a person was endangered; however endangering a person demands a more serious penalty. It also is illegal under the law to discharge a firearm in a public place, or any place where a person is endangered. If a gun is fired at a person intentionally, but without malice, even if the person was injured, it is a misdemeanor.

Discharge of a firearm is a charge that adds might and a potential sentence enhancement to the prosecutor’s case. It typically is added to any case involving a firearm discharge, including robbery, murder, assault, car-jacking, drug dealing/trafficking, conspiracy, terrorism, possession of a firearm, felon in possession of a firearm, domestic assault, gang crimes and illegal hunting.

Willfully firing at a plane, train or other vehicle that puts another person in danger is a Class D felony punishable by two to seven years in prison. If no one is endangered, it is a Class E felony, which carries a sentence of 1½ to four years in prison. Firing a weapon intentionally, without malice, is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in prison.

The team of skilled trial lawyers at The Blanch Law Firm ensures you receive the best possible defense. Our chief goal is always to have firearms charges reduced or dismissed. When trial is warranted, we have the experience in federal and New York gun laws to seek not guilty verdicts, guilty-of-lesser-offenses verdicts and reduced sentences. Common defense arguments in a firearms discharge case are: weapon was not fired, a different person fired it, it was fired unintentionally, there was no malice, it was fired in self-defense and it did not put anyone in danger. We use experts and eyewitnesses to craft a defense that fits the facts of your case.

Federal law prohibits discharging a firearm in the commission of a federal crime. Doing so requires a 10-year prison sentence.

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