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Bucher Law Group, LLC

When Can the Use of a Firearm Lead to Criminal Charges in Wisconsin?

 Posted on November 29, 2021 in Criminal Defense

Walworth County Weapons Charges AttorneyThe state of Wisconsin allows residents to carry firearms in many situations. Concealed carry licenses allow people to carry handguns on their person or in their vehicle, and the state also allows for open carry of handguns and other types of firearms in locations where concealed carry is allowed. However, while some weapons charges may be avoided by ensuring that a person has obtained the proper licenses and is following the laws for carrying and transporting firearms, criminal charges may apply in situations where a person uses a firearm and causes harm to others.

Crimes Involving the Use of a Weapon

Wisconsin law specifies certain criminal charges that fall under the category of “endangering safety by use of dangerous weapon,” which includes multiple types of cases where a person may accidentally or intentionally fire a gun and injure someone else or put another person at risk of being injured. These charges may include:

  • Negligent operation or handling of a firearm - If a gun is accidentally discharged while cleaning or due to reckless handling, and this results in an injury or endangers someone’s safety, a person may face Class A misdemeanor charges. 

  • Carrying or using a firearm while intoxicated - If a person has used drugs or alcohol,, they are considered to be endangering the safety of others if they carry a dangerous weapon, even if they do not discharge or attempt to use a firearm. Criminal charges may apply if there is any detectable amount of a restricted controlled substance in a person’s bloodstream. This offense is a Class A misdemeanor.

  • Aiming a firearm at someone else - Intentionally pointing a weapon at someone is an action that puts them at risk of injury, and a person may be charged with a Class A misdemeanor for doing so. Intentionally pointing a weapon at a police officer, emergency medical technician, ambulance driver, or firefighter may result in Class H felony charges. 

  • Firing a gun near a building - Discharging a firearm within 100 yards of a home or other residence without the owner’s permission is a Class A misdemeanor.

  • Firing a weapon into a building or vehicle - Intentionally discharging a firearm when a person knows that people may be present in a building or vehicle is a Class G felony.

  • Firing a weapon from a motor vehicle - A driver or passenger of a car or truck that is on a public highway or in a parking lot open to the public can face Class F felony charges if they discharge a firearm toward a person, a building, or another vehicle.

A potential defense against these types of charges may involve the claim that a person was acting in self-defense, to defend others, or to defend a place of business as an owner or employee. Wisconsin follows the “castle doctrine,” which states that a person can threaten or use force that is likely to cause a person’s death or great bodily harm, as long as they believe that these actions were necessary to prevent harm to themselves after a person had illegally entered their home, vehicle, or place of business.

Contact Our Dodge County Weapons Charges Lawyers

If you are facing criminal charges related to the use of a firearm, Bucher Law Group, LLC can advise you on how Wisconsin’s laws apply in your situation, and we can provide you with representation in criminal proceedings. To learn how we can help you build a successful defense strategy, contact our Racine County criminal defense attorneys at 262-303-4916 and schedule a free consultation.





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