David G. Moore Attorney At Law
Former DA Prosecutor Now Fights for Your Rights
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(Kalamazoo and Southwest Michigan)

Can I get in trouble for firing a gun without intent to hurt?

You very well could, depending on the circumstances. If you are out hunting and are following all safety rules and laws, then the discharge of your rifle will not get you into trouble. However, if you point a gun at another individual and the weapon fires, then you could wind up facing a criminal charge, regardless of your intent. This is because Michigan law makes it a crime for an individual to point a firearm in another person's direction and discharge it, even if the individual does so without malice or intent to hurt.

This crime is considered a misdemeanor in our state, which is a lesser crime than a felony. Yet, you should still be concerned about the potential penalties you could face if convicted of such an offense. This misdemeanor offense could lead to up to a year in prison and a fine of up to $500. A year spent in prison could severely damage your personal and professional lives, and leave you with a criminal record that is hard to shake.

Therefore, putting together a defense strategy to confront misdemeanor charges is just as important as if you were facing felony charges. Strong legal arguments may allow you to avoid the penalties that could seriously tarnish your reputation, but the legal system can be complicated, and crafting an appropriate defense can be difficult. Thus, it is often in your best interest to discuss the matter with an experienced Michigan attorney.

A diligent and aggressive defense attorney can assess your individual case and look for holes in the prosecution's case. Then, armed with supporting evidence and law, if available, your legal team can either take the matter to court or try to negotiate a favorable resolution behind closed doors. The option is yours, but speaking with an attorney may help you learn of your options, leaving in a better position to make a decision that is right for you.

Source: Michigan State Legislature, "Act 328 of 1931," accessed on Feb. 28, 2015

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