I fired a warning shot into the air
"I fired a 'warning shot' into the air because I thought the other person had a gun. Now I am charged with a felony?"
Firing a 'warning shot' into the air is almost certain to lead to criminal charges, best case would likely be a misdemeanor Reckless Handling of a Firearm charge.
While the laws of the Commonwealth are generally viewed as pro-firearm or pro-Second Amendment, the actual use of a firearm is looked at entirely differently by the Courts and the police. Depending on the circumstances of what led up to someone firing warning shots there could be several potential charges, many of which are serious felony charges.
Firing while inside an occupied building, firing at an occupied building, firing from a motor vehicle, firing at a motor vehicle, firing from within a certain distance of various types of buildings, possession of a firearm while under a Protective Order, possession of a firearm while in possession of a scheduled drug, possession of a firearm as a convicted felon, using a firearm in commission of a felony -- all of these could lead to potentially serious felony charges. Many of these felony charges also have mandatory minimum sentences separate and apart from any other sentences if there is a conviction.
Also, do not overlook the physics of firing into the air. "What goes up must come down." While the chances of actually striking and killing a person are negligible, there could very well be an occupied building wherever the bullet lands.
If you are in this situation and would like to speak with an attorney, please feel free to contact my office to arrange for a free consultation.
"This page is not an advertisement; it is a blog. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are solely those of attorney Robert Lorey. The purpose of these articles is to inform the public regarding various issues involving the criminal justice system and should not be construed to suggest a similar outcome in any other case. The outcome of any case depends on a myriad of factors which are well outside this blog post."
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