PDA

View Full Version : Question about charges


NytWolf
02-15-2012, 1:37 PM
I just finished reading the thread about winnre's wife firing a .40 on their property at a coyote, and my head is now swirling about charges that a D.A. may bring against a person.

In winnre's wife's case, she may be okay because of where they live. However, for those of us who live within city limits, what types of charges can be brought against us? Now, remember that we are in CA. What about charges like negligent willful discharge (if such a thing existed) of a firearm?

In answering this, assume that the firearm discharge did not cause any deaths, accidental or intentional and the stray bullet did not destroy anyone's property.

SouperMan
02-15-2012, 1:51 PM
I believe a unlawful discharge results in fines or jail time or both depending on your municipality.

If the City won't get ya, the County will.

NytWolf
02-15-2012, 2:06 PM
So that's the thing, even though noone got hurt and the shooting was somehow justified, the DA will still come after the shooter. That's what sucks about laws like these. They can't just let good enough alone.

winnre
02-15-2012, 2:15 PM
Like the song "Bubba shot the jukebox." The Sheriff wants to arrest him for wreckless discharge of a gun and Bubba says "But I hit right where I was aiming."

If we had been in the city limits, or even downtown LA the cops would not be so nice I bet. BUT... what do you do if you have a bona fide threat and a jury will no doubt agree with you in the long run?

NytWolf
02-15-2012, 2:41 PM
If I had a legitimate case, I would no doubt, shoot. Even if the jury agrees with me in the long run, I would still be out of money fighting the a case that should never have been charged against me. Even if I win, my reputation would still be tarnished by the very fact that I charged. Justice will prevail, but the damage is still done. Some type of justice.

CSACANNONEER
02-15-2012, 2:51 PM
Even if she was being attacked by a mob of rapists, she could be "charged" with many different things. Now, how many could she rightfully be convicted of is another story. BTW, a pet is only property and she would not have been legally justified defending her (non ag) property with deadly force if she was in town. The fact that she was using her pup as a lure while coyote hunting leads me to believe that she could still face some sort of charges for using live bait while hunting.

RickD427
02-15-2012, 6:45 PM
I just finished reading the thread about winnre's wife firing a .40 on their property at a coyote, and my head is now swirling about charges that a D.A. may bring against a person.

In winnre's wife's case, she may be okay because of where they live. However, for those of us who live within city limits, what types of charges can be brought against us? Now, remember that we are in CA. What about charges like negligent willful discharge (if such a thing existed) of a firearm?

In answering this, assume that the firearm discharge did not cause any deaths, accidental or intentional and the stray bullet did not destroy anyone's property.

Your hypothetical would most likely be charged under California Penal Code section 246.3. Here's the exact text:

"246.3. (a) Except as otherwise authorized by law, any person who
willfully discharges a firearm in a grossly negligent manner which
could result in injury or death to a person is guilty of a public
offense and shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail not
exceeding one year, or by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of
Section 1170.
(b) Except as otherwise authorized by law, any person who
willfully discharges a BB device in a grossly negligent manner which
could result in injury or death to a person is guilty of a public
offense and shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail not
exceeding one year.
(c) As used in this section, "BB device" means any instrument that
expels a projectile, such as a BB or a pellet, through the force of
air pressure, gas pressure, or spring action."

The penalty provision for the (a) subsection (once you finish reading sections 1170 and 17) is a felony. It's the type of felony that a prosecutor or judge can reduce to a misdemeanor, but there's no guarantee that will happen.

NytWolf
02-15-2012, 7:19 PM
Your hypothetical would most likely be charged under California Penal Code section 246.3. Here's the exact text:

"246.3. (a) Except as otherwise authorized by law, any person who
willfully discharges a firearm in a grossly negligent manner which
could result in injury or death to a person is guilty of a public
offense and shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail not
exceeding one year, or by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of
Section 1170.

The penalty provision for the (a) subsection (once you finish reading sections 1170 and 17) is a felony. It's the type of felony that a prosecutor or judge can reduce to a misdemeanor, but there's no guarantee that will happen.

Would my hypothetical fall into the exception? It would be a legitimate discharge, making it "authorized by law", correct?

wjc
02-15-2012, 7:26 PM
Your hypothetical would most likely be charged under California Penal Code section 246.3. Here's the exact text:

"246.3. (a) Except as otherwise authorized by law, any person who
willfully discharges a firearm in a grossly negligent manner which
could result in injury or death to a person is guilty of a public
offense and shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail not
exceeding one year, or by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of
Section 1170.
(b) Except as otherwise authorized by law, any person who
willfully discharges a BB device in a grossly negligent manner which
could result in injury or death to a person is guilty of a public
offense and shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail not
exceeding one year.
(c) As used in this section, "BB device" means any instrument that
expels a projectile, such as a BB or a pellet, through the force of
air pressure, gas pressure, or spring action."

The penalty provision for the (a) subsection (once you finish reading sections 1170 and 17) is a felony. It's the type of felony that a prosecutor or judge can reduce to a misdemeanor, but there's no guarantee that will happen.

Question. Does this statute only apply to discharges against humans, e.g. "persons"?

Coyotes are not human as far as I know (yeah, I know...PETA thinks they are). If my thinking is correct would another statute apply?

RickD427
02-15-2012, 7:33 PM
Would my hypothetical fall into the exception? It would be a legitimate discharge, making it "authorized by law", correct?

The hypothetical could fall under the exception. The real concern is that the filing of a criminal charge is discretionary with the prosecutor. Their evaluation is controlling at the onset, the defendant certainly has the right to contest the charges at trial, but there is no right to contest the prosecutor's discretion.

If the coyote were a definate threat, and absolutely no person(s) were threatened by the gunfire, you're probably safe.

On the other hand, if there is an elementary school, during recess, directly downrange, then I'd standby.

RickD427
02-15-2012, 7:38 PM
Question. Does this statute only apply to discharges against humans, e.g. "persons"?

Coyotes are not human as far as I know (yeah, I know...PETA thinks they are). If my thinking is correct would another statute apply?

The section does not make any distinction about the intended target of the discharge. The way that its worded, its applies to all "grossly negligent" discharges.

This is the section most commonly used by LEO's where weapons are discharged in proximity to innocent persons.