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When Can I Face Criminal Charges in Wisconsin for Using a Firearm?

Posted on in Criminal Defense

Milwaukee criminal defense lawyerBy: Attorney Adam Schleis

It is legal to own and possess firearms in the United States and the state of Wisconsin, although there are certain exceptions, such as when a person has been convicted of a felony. However, while the laws regarding gun ownership are clear, firearms may only be used for certain purposes, and certain types of illegal uses of guns may lead to criminal charges. If you are facing charges related to the use of a firearm, you could be facing serious penalties, including jail time and large fines.

Wisconsin Laws Related to the Use of "Dangerous Weapons"

People who own and use firearms are expected to do so in a way that protects the safety of themselves and others. A person may be charged with the offense of "endangering safety by use of dangerous weapon" if they put other people at risk because they operated or handled a firearm negligently. For example, if a person did not take care while carrying or using a gun, such as by failing to use the weapon's safety settings, pointing the gun recklessly at others, or shooting at targets without making sure others were away from the line of fire, they could be charged with this offense. This charge may also apply if a person was under the influence of alcohol or drugs while carrying or using a firearm or if they were on someone else's property and fired a gun within 100 yards of a residential building without receiving permission from the building's owner.

The same charge will also apply if a person intentionally used a gun in a way that threatened others' safety. That is, if a person pointed a gun at someone else on purpose, they may face criminal charges for endangering that person's safety. Depending on the circumstances of a case, this offense may be charged alongside other offenses, such as assault (causing someone else to reasonably believe they will suffer harm) or robbery (taking property from someone through the use or threat of force). Endangering safety by use of a dangerous weapon is a Class A misdemeanor, and a conviction may result in a person being fined as much as $10,000, sentenced to up to 9 months in prison, or both. If a person is accused of intentionally pointing a gun at a police officer or first responder, the offense is a Class H felony, and a conviction could result in a $10,000 fine and a sentence of up to six years in prison.

The charge of endangering safety through the use of a weapon will become more serious if a person discharged a firearm in a way that put others at risk. Firing a gun into a building when a person knew or should have known that someone was inside may result in Class G felony charges, which may carry up to $25,000 in fines and up to 10 years in prison. Firing a gun from inside a vehicle at a person, a building, or another vehicle is a Class F felony, and a person may face up to $25,000 in fines and a prison sentence of up to 12 years and six months. 

Contact a Milwaukee, WI Weapons Charges Lawyer

If you are facing criminal charges for using a firearm, it is important to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. The lawyers of Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown, LLP will review the facts of your case and help you develop a defense strategy that is tailored specifically to your case. With an experienced Milwaukee gun crimes defense attorney by your side, you will have the best chance of achieving a favorable outcome in your case. Call us at 414-271-1440 to set up a consultation and get the legal help you need.

Sources:

https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/document/statutes/941.20

https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/document/statutes/939.50


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