The unauthorized use of a gun can be extremely dangerous. Discharging a firearm into a dwelling in Virginia is considered a felony and can result in serious consequences if you are convicted. Here is what you should know about the penalties.
What Constitutes a Firearm Under the Law?
According to state law, a firm includes “any weapon that will, is designed to, or can readily be converted to expel a single or multiple projectiles by an explosion of combustible material; or the frame or receiver of such weapon.” Projectiles can include cartridges, pellets, missiles, or balls or another projectile that has been changed to be used as a firearm.
Under the law, it is illegal for anyone to discharge a firearm within a building or dwelling house that is occupied by one or more persons in a manner as to endanger their lives.
Class 4 Felony
If someone shoots into a building or dwelling house with malicious intent to harm someone, they can be charged with a Class 4 felony, which is punishable by between 2 and 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000. If someone willfully shoots into a school building or within a school building, it is also considered a class 4 felony under Virginia law.
Class 6 Felony
If the individual who fires did not do so with the malicious intent to cause harm, the person can be found guilty of a Class 6 felony, which is punishable by one to five years in prison. However, the judge is given the discretion to reduce the penalties to up to 12 months in jail and/or a $2,500 fine.
If someone is killed due to the discharge of the firearm into the building or dwelling house, the penalties become more severe.
If the killing was without malicious intent, it is considered involuntary manslaughter and is punishable by a sentence of 1 – 10 years in prison. However, a judge or jury has the discretion to reduce the sentence to up to 12 months in jail and a fine of $2,500.
If someone shot into the building or dwelling house with malicious intent to cause harm, they can be charged with second-degree murder, punishable by a sentence of 5 – 40 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.
If someone deliberately planned/pre-meditated the homicide, they can be charged with first-degree murder, punishable by a sentence of up to life in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.
Surovell Isaacs & Levy PLC Can Help Those in VA Who Have Been Charged with a Crime
If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime, you should take it very seriously. A conviction can impact just about every part of your life. However, you have the right to defend yourself against such charges. A knowledgeable and experienced Virginia criminal defense attorney can help you do just that.
At Surovell Isaacs & Levy PLC, we will work to defend you and to protect your rights. To learn more or to schedule a consultation, contact us today!
Posted in: Criminal Law