fbpx

Discharge of Firearm in Public



Understanding the Discharge of Firearm in Public

The discharge of a firearm in public is a serious offense under Florida law. According to Florida Statute § 790.15(1), any person who knowingly discharges a firearm in any public place, on or over the right-of-way of any paved public road, highway, or street, or over any occupied premises is guilty of a first-degree misdemeanor. This statute aims to ensure public safety by regulating the use of firearms in public spaces.

Understanding the nuances of this law is crucial for anyone facing such charges. The penalties for discharging a firearm in public can be severe, impacting your freedom and future. At Leppard Law, we are committed to providing you with the knowledge and defense you need to navigate these charges effectively.

What is the discharge of a firearm in public? Discharge of a firearm in public is knowingly firing a firearm in any public place, on or over public roads, highways, streets, or over occupied premises, classified as a first-degree misdemeanor in Florida.

Elements of the Crime

To secure a conviction for discharging a firearm in public, the prosecution must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • Defendant’s Knowledge: The defendant knowingly discharged a firearm.
  • Location of Discharge: The discharge occurred in a public place, on or over a public road, highway, street, or over any occupied premises.

Each of these elements must be clearly established for a conviction to occur. If any element is not proven beyond a reasonable doubt, the defense can challenge the validity of the charges. Understanding these elements is essential for formulating a strong defense strategy.

For example, if the firearm was discharged accidentally, this could negate the “knowing” aspect of the crime. Similarly, if the discharge occurred in a location not covered by the statute, this could be a viable defense. For more information on defenses, visit our page on strategic defenses for weapon-involved offenses.

Florida law is quite specific about what constitutes a public place and the circumstances under which the discharge of a firearm is considered illegal. For instance, discharging a firearm from a vehicle within 1,000 feet of any person is classified as a second-degree felony, which carries even more severe penalties. This highlights the importance of understanding the exact nature of the charges you are facing and the legal definitions involved.

Firearm Discharge in Public

At Leppard Law, we specialize in defending clients against firearm-related charges. Our experienced team understands the complexities of Florida’s firearm laws and is dedicated to providing you with the best defense possible. Whether you are facing charges for discharging a firearm in public or any other firearm-related crime, we are here to help.

If you or a loved one is facing charges for discharging a firearm in public, it is crucial to seek legal representation immediately. The consequences of a conviction can be severe, affecting not just your freedom but also your future opportunities. Contact us at Leppard Law to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can assist you in building a strong defense.

Penalties for Discharging a Firearm in Public

Discharging a firearm in public carries severe penalties. As a first-degree misdemeanor, the offense is punishable by:

  • Up to 12 months in jail
  • A fine of up to $500

However, the penalties can be more severe under certain circumstances. For instance, if the discharge occurs from a vehicle within 1,000 feet of any person, the crime escalates to a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a fine of $5,000.

What are the penalties for discharging a firearm in public? Discharging a firearm in public is a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 12 months in jail and a $500 fine. If discharged from a vehicle within 1,000 feet of a person, it becomes a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Understanding these penalties is crucial for anyone facing such charges. The implications of a conviction extend beyond jail time and fines, affecting various aspects of your life, including employment opportunities and social relationships. At Leppard Law, we are committed to providing comprehensive legal defense to help you navigate these challenges.

Enhanced Penalties

Additional penalties apply if the firearm is discharged from a vehicle. Under Florida Statute § 790.15(2), the occupant of any vehicle who knowingly and willfully discharges a firearm within 1,000 feet of any person can face a second-degree felony charge. The driver or owner of the vehicle can also be charged if they knowingly direct someone to discharge the firearm from the vehicle.

Enhanced Penalties for Firearm Discharge

These enhanced penalties underscore the seriousness with which Florida law treats the discharge of firearms in public spaces. The legal system aims to deter such actions by imposing stringent penalties, especially when the discharge endangers the lives of others. For more information on related offenses and penalties, visit our page on reckless discharge of a firearm.

Impact on Your Life

Beyond the immediate legal consequences, a conviction for discharging a firearm in public can have long-lasting impacts on your life. A criminal record can make it challenging to find employment, secure housing, or even obtain certain professional licenses. Additionally, the financial burden of fines, legal fees, and court-mandated programs can be overwhelming.

If you are a professional, such as a convicted felon, a firearm-related conviction can jeopardize your career and professional standing. The stigma associated with a criminal record can also strain personal relationships and social interactions.

The impact of a firearm discharge conviction extends beyond legal penalties, affecting employment, housing, and personal relationships. It’s crucial to understand the full scope of these consequences when facing such charges.

Given these potential consequences, it is essential to seek experienced legal representation. At Leppard Law, we understand the complexities of firearm-related charges and are dedicated to providing the best defense possible. Our team is well-versed in Florida’s firearm laws and is committed to protecting your rights and future.

Why Choose Leppard Law?

At Leppard Law, we treat our clients like family. We always put their best interests first and fight for the best possible outcome for their case. Our attorneys are renowned for their legal skills and client-focused approach. We are ranked among the “Best Criminal Defense Lawyers in Orlando” by Expertise from 2016-2024 and “Best DUI Lawyers in Orlando” by Expertise from 2016-2024.

But you don’t have to take our word for it – experience it for yourself. If you or a loved one have been charged with a criminal offense, contact us today to schedule a free consultation. Call us at 407-476-4111 or visit our contact page to get in touch with our team.

We understand that dealing with a criminal charge can be stressful. We make getting the help you need as painless as possible. Our experienced criminal defense attorneys provide our clients with the same resources available from larger firms but with a unique dedication to personal attention. We are not happy unless you are completely happy with our services.

Our attorneys have over 60 years of combined experience defending thousands of Floridians accused of crimes. We are known for both our trial advocacy and skillful negotiations, seeking to achieve the best results for our clients. If you are facing charges for discharging a firearm in public, don’t wait. Contact Leppard Law today to schedule your consultation and let us provide the support and legal expertise you deserve.

Examples of Discharge of Firearm in Public

Understanding real-world scenarios can help clarify what constitutes the discharge of a firearm in public. Here are some hypothetical examples:

  • A person fires a gun into the air during a public event, such as a parade or concert.
  • Someone discharges a firearm on a public road or highway, endangering motorists and pedestrians.
  • An individual fires a gun from a vehicle while driving through a residential neighborhood.

These examples illustrate the types of behavior that can lead to charges of discharging a firearm in public, highlighting the importance of adhering to firearm regulations to ensure public safety.

Consider the scenario where someone fires a gun into the air during a public event. This act not only poses a risk to those attending the event but also violates Florida Statute § 790.15(1), which prohibits the discharge of firearms in public places. Such actions can result in severe penalties, including up to 12 months in jail and a $500 fine. For more information on related offenses, visit our page on improper exhibition of a firearm.

Another example involves discharging a firearm on a public road or highway. This reckless behavior endangers the lives of motorists and pedestrians. Under Florida law, this act is considered a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by significant fines and possible jail time. If the discharge occurs from a vehicle within 1,000 feet of any person, the offense escalates to a second-degree felony, carrying even harsher penalties. Learn more about these enhanced penalties on our page about discharging a firearm in public.

Firing a gun from a vehicle while driving through a residential neighborhood is another serious offense. This action not only violates public safety laws but also subjects the individual to severe legal consequences. According to Florida Statute § 790.15(2), discharging a firearm from a vehicle within 1,000 feet of any person is a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a $5,000 fine. The driver or owner of the vehicle can also be charged if they knowingly directed someone to discharge the firearm. For more details on related offenses, visit our page on discharging a firearm from a vehicle.

These examples underscore the importance of understanding and adhering to firearm regulations to avoid severe legal consequences. At Leppard Law, our experienced firearms defense attorneys are dedicated to providing the best legal defense for individuals facing charges related to the discharge of a firearm in public. If you or a loved one is facing such charges, it is crucial to seek legal counsel immediately to explore all possible defenses and protect your rights.

In addition to understanding the legal implications of discharging a firearm in public, it is also essential to be aware of the potential defenses available. For instance, if the firearm was discharged accidentally, the lack of intent to commit the crime can serve as a defense. Similarly, discharging a firearm in self-defense or while performing official duties can also be valid defenses. To learn more about these defenses, visit our page on reckless discharge of a firearm.

At Leppard Law, we understand the complexities of firearm-related charges and are committed to providing comprehensive legal defense to help you navigate these challenges. Our team is well-versed in Florida’s firearm laws and is dedicated to protecting your rights and future. Contact us today at 407-476-4111 to schedule a free consultation and let us provide the support and legal expertise you deserve.


Facing charges for discharging a firearm in public can be daunting, but there are several legal defenses available that can potentially mitigate or even dismiss the charges. Understanding these defenses is crucial, as they can demonstrate that the defendant did not commit the offense or that there were extenuating circumstances justifying the actions. Let’s dive into some common defenses:

  • Accidental Discharge: One of the most straightforward defenses is proving that the discharge was accidental. If the firearm was discharged without intent, this lack of intent can serve as a robust defense.
  • Self-Defense: Florida law permits the discharge of a firearm in self-defense or in defense of property. If the defendant can prove that their actions were in response to a legitimate threat, this can be a valid defense.
  • Official Duties: Law enforcement officers and other officials who discharge a firearm while performing their official duties may have a valid defense. Their professional responsibilities can justify the discharge.
  • Approved Hunting Areas: Discharging a firearm in areas expressly approved for hunting by the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission or the Division of Forestry is permitted. This defense can be used if the incident occurred in such a designated area.

It’s essential to consult with an experienced firearms defense attorney to explore these and other potential defenses based on the specifics of your case. At Leppard Law, we specialize in providing comprehensive legal defense strategies tailored to your unique situation.

Police Lights

Accidental discharge can occur for various reasons, such as a mechanical malfunction or an unexpected trigger pull. In such cases, demonstrating the absence of intent is critical. Our Reckless Discharge of a Firearm page provides more insights into scenarios where intent plays a significant role in the defense strategy.

What is the defense for an accidental discharge of a firearm? An accidental discharge defense hinges on proving that the firearm was discharged without intent, demonstrating the absence of a willful action.

Self-defense is another powerful defense. Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law allows individuals to use force, including deadly force, if they reasonably believe it is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm. This can be particularly relevant in cases where the discharge occurred during a confrontation or home invasion. Visit our Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon page to learn more about how self-defense laws intersect with firearm regulations.

For law enforcement officers and other officials, discharging a firearm in the line of duty can be justified if it aligns with their professional responsibilities. This defense requires demonstrating that the discharge was necessary and within the scope of their duties. Explore more about the implications of firearm use in official duties on our Using a Firearm While Under the Influence page.

Additionally, discharging a firearm in approved hunting areas is permitted under specific regulations. The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Division of Forestry designate these areas, and understanding these regulations can be crucial for your defense. Our Strategic Defense for Weapon-Involved Offenses page offers further details on navigating these legal waters.

Legal defenses can be complex and require a nuanced understanding of Florida’s firearm laws. At Leppard Law, we pride ourselves on our deep knowledge of these laws and our ability to craft compelling defense strategies. If you or a loved one is facing charges for discharging a firearm in public, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Our team is here to help you navigate this challenging situation and work towards the best possible outcome.

For more information on related offenses and legal defenses, visit our pages on Improper Exhibition of a Firearm and Discharging Any Destructive Device. Our comprehensive resources and dedicated legal team are here to support you every step of the way.

Contact Leppard Law: Firearms Defense Attorneys at 407-476-4111 today to schedule a free consultation and discuss your case. Our experienced attorneys are ready to provide the legal expertise and compassionate support you need.


Infographic depicting the words Discharge of Firearm in Public


What constitutes the discharge of a firearm in public in Florida?

The discharge of a firearm in public in Florida is defined under Florida Statute § 790.15(1). It occurs when a person knowingly discharges a firearm in any public place, on or over the right-of-way of any paved public road, highway, or street, or over any occupied premises. This is classified as a first-degree misdemeanor.

What are the penalties for discharging a firearm in public in Florida?

The penalties for discharging a firearm in public in Florida include up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $500. However, if the discharge occurs from a vehicle within 1,000 feet of any person, the crime escalates to a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a fine of $5,000.

Can self-defense be used as a defense for discharging a firearm in public?

Yes, self-defense can be used as a defense for discharging a firearm in public. Florida law allows for the discharge of a firearm in self-defense or defense of property. If the person was lawfully defending life or property, this can serve as a valid defense against the charges.

What should I do if I am charged with discharging a firearm in public?

If you are charged with discharging a firearm in public, it is crucial to seek legal representation immediately. Contact an experienced firearm lawyer, such as those at Leppard Law, to discuss your case and explore your legal options. They can help you understand the charges, potential defenses, and work towards the best possible outcome.


Explore additional areas of practice related to firearm charges:

Improper Exhibition of a Firearm Strategic Defense for Weapon-Involved Offenses
Concealed Carry Laws Defend Against Weapon Display Allegations
Motion for Return of Firearm Furnishing Weapons to Minors
Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon Altering a Firearm’s Serial Number
Using a Firearm While Under the Influence Discharging Any Destructive Device
Possession of Short-Barreled Rifle Making a Fake Bomb Threat
Threat to Discharge Destructive Device Reckless Discharge of a Firearm
Possession of Firearm in Violation of Injunction Manufacture or Possession of Hoax Bomb

Top-Rated Firearms Lawyers Serving Florida

Looking for the best Firearms lawyers in Florida? Our distinguished team of attorneys is committed to offering you the best possible defense against your Firearms charges.

  • John Vallillo: As a stalwart in the Florida legal scene, John Vallillo has earned his stripes through a consistent record of case dismissals and proactive defense. His background as both a prosecutor and defense attorney enriches his strategic defense planning with invaluable insights.
  • Joe Easton: Renowned for crafting winning defenses, Joe Easton’s approach to legal advocacy in Florida combines thorough preparation with aggressive representation. His notable recognitions and ratings stand testament to his exceptional service and client-focused approach.
  • Joel Leppard: Joel Leppard infuses every Firearms case with a level of personal commitment and innovative thinking that sets him apart. His leadership has not only grown Leppard Law into a top-rated criminal defense law firm but also ensured that clients receive empathetic, effective legal care.