Gun owners in Florida enjoy many important protections of their personal liberties, but they also bear a number of important responsibilities. Among them is the responsibility to handle a firearm with appropriate care to avoid improperly discharging the weapon, especially on a residential property or in a public space. In many cases, this is classified as a first-degree misdemeanor.

If a person does discharge a weapon in a public place or in a residence, then he or she may face criminal charges for accidental or negligent discharge of a firearm, which can carry hefty fines and may affect that person’s ability to continue owning and carrying firearms in the future. Among other possible penalties, a conviction of these charges can lead to a year of jail time.

Of course, the most significant concern when a person unintentionally discharges a firearm is the threat to those in the immediate surrounding area, who may suffer serious injury or may even die as a result. When these kinds of injuries do occur, they present complicated legal dilemmas. In order for prosecutors to press charges due to an accidental injury or killing by an improper firearm discharge, the individual who fired the weapon must generally meet a certain standard of “culpable negligence” or “disregard for human life”. This can prove a very difficult legal issue to navigate in a way that satisfies any party involved.

If you recently fired a weapon unintentionally, you may face associated charges whether the discharge injured someone or not. Do not hesitate to reach out to an experienced criminal defense attorney to understand your rights and begin building a strong legal defense as soon as possible. Your ongoing freedoms and privileges may depend on it.

Source: FindLaw, “Accidental Discharge of a Firearm Criminal Charges,” Christopher Coble, accessed Jan. 12, 2018