If someone is lawfully discharging their firearm, it is usually for things like hunting or self-defense. In some instances, individuals will discharge their weapons while on private property, which is also a lawful condition under which someone could discharge a firearm.
If someone discharges their weapon outside of those specific conditions, that constitutes an unlawful discharge of a firearm in Fairfax. It is always going to be unlawful to discharge a firearm in Fairfax on public property. There are certain exceptions carved out for things like self-defense, but within city limits or around people is going to get an individual in trouble which is why it is so important to retain the services of a capable gun attorney. A local gun lawyer can work hard to defend you against charges of unlawful behavior.
What makes the discharging of a firearm around a gun-free zone more serious is the potential for risk, which is why certain locations are designated gun-free zones. Places like churches or other places of worship, courthouses, and places that have usually a lot of people are gun-free zones. Gun zones are protected because of the density of people there and the kinds of people there. For example, schools are a gun-free zone because of the risks associated with children being around guns.
To discharge a firearm in those locations, the risk is much higher for injury or death. If there is a risk of somebody getting hurt, the seriousness of the situation is going to be higher and because of that, the law in Fairfax is much harsher for those areas.
Unlawful discharge of a firearm depends on where they discharge it and who they discharge it around. If they are discharging it, for example, within city limits, it is going to be chargeable as a misdemeanor offense, depending on what type of weapon and who the individual is around.
If it is a school area, it is going to be a Class 4 felony. If it is in a field in the middle of nowhere and improperly discharged through the course of a hunting accident, for instance, it is probably just going to be chargeable as a misdemeanor. Typically, within the city or city limits, it is going to be a Class 6 felony. Unlawful discharge of a firearm in Fairfax is a Class 4 felony if the person discharges their weapon in a gun-free zone like a church.
A defense to unlawful discharge of a firearm in Fairfax County would be if an individual was hunting, and the prosecution tried to argue that the individual discharged their weapon in a prohibited zone, the defendant could argue that it was never specified whether it was a prohibited zone or not. If the prosecution were to argue that the person was within a certain distance of a school or church, a defense would be that being in the vicinity of a prohibited zone is not the same as discharging a weapon in the prohibited zone.
A defense can always pick at the specifications that either make the charge more serious or less serious. They can claim that the person was charged with discharge of a firearm in an area where there are people around and there was no injury. It can show that there was no bodily injury and it should be chargeable as a misdemeanor. If the individual is in a place where the firearm was discharged and bodily injury is claimed, the defense can show that the bodily injury was not caused by the firearm.
There are different ways to defend, depending on the specifics of the circumstance. The most common ways are that the person was lawfully discharging a firearm either in self-defense or was hunting.
Although individuals may have valid reasons for discharging their weapons, such as hunting or defending themselves from attack, it is important that people make sure they are following existing firearm policies. Firearm policies, especially those concerning unlawful discharge of a firearm in Fairfax County, exist to keep people safe. Discharging a weapon in a gun-free zone puts people at risk which is why unlawfully discharging a firearm can have hefty penalties. A skilled gun attorney can mitigate the penalties of your charge and will work hard to defend you.