Recklessly Discharging a Firearm
Texas Penal Code Section 790.15 prohibits discharging a firearm in public or on residential property under certain circumstances. A violation of the statute is a first-degree misdemeanor.
The statute also creates either a second or third-degree felony if a firearm is discharged from a vehicle depending on the circumstances. The statute is extremely broad, and by its terms seeks to encompass even reckless or negligent behavior.
Houston Lawyer for Firearm Discharge Crimes
Any firearm charge is extremely serious, whether the offense is charged as a felony or a misdemeanor. Contact an experienced firearm defense attorney, to protect your rights after being accused of an illegal discharge of a firearm in Harris County or Montgomery County, TX.
Horak Law has offices in Harris County and Montgomery County, Texas. Matt Horak is available to answer your questions about any discharge of a firearm charge as soon as you call (713) 225-8000 today to schedule a free, confidential consultation.
Texas Penal Code Section 790.15
Under the statute with certain exceptions, it is illegal for any person to either:
- knowingly discharges any firearm over the right-of-way of any paved public road, highway, or street or over any occupied premises; or
- recklessly or negligently discharges a firearm outdoors on any property used primarily as the site of a dwelling as defined in s. 776.013 or zoned exclusively for residential use.
The criminal offense of recklessly discharging a firearm inside the corporate limits of a municipality having a population of 100,000 or more is a misdemeanor offense. Tex. Penal Code Ann. § 42.12. When a person is charged with acting recklessly in the commission of an offense, article 21.15 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure further requires that:
[T]he … information … allege, with reasonable certainty, the act or acts relied upon to constitute recklessness …, and in no event shall it be sufficient to allege merely that the accused, in committing the offense, acted recklessly….
Tex.Code Crim. Proc. Ann. art. 21.15. Thus, if recklessness is an element of the offense, the charging instrument must “allege the circumstances of the act which indicate that the defendant acted in a reckless manner.” State v. Rodriguez, 04-07-00436-CR, 2008 WL 506273 (Tex. App. Feb. 27, 2008) aff’d, 339 S.W.3d 680 (Tex. Crim. App. 2011)(citing Gengnagel v. State, 748 S.W.2d 227, 229 (Tex.Crim.App.1988), superseded by constitutional amendment on other grounds, Tex. Const. art. V, § 12.)).
Defenses to Discharging a Firearm
The criminal offense of discharging a firearm in public or on residential property under Texas Penal Code Section 790.15, does not apply to a person:
- lawfully defending life or property; or
- performing official duties requiring the discharge of a firearm; or
- to a person discharging a firearm on public roads or properties expressly approved for hunting by the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission or Florida Forest Service.
Felony Discharge of a Firearm From a Vehicle
It is a second-degree felony to knowingly and willfully discharge a firearm from a vehicle within 1,000 feet of any person. The driver of the vehicle, if the driver is not the person who discharged the firearm from within the vehicle, can also be charged with a felony in the third degree if he knowingly directs any person to discharge any firearm from the vehicle.
Finding an Experienced Firearm Defense Attorney
If you are charged with any criminal offense involving the discharge of a firearm, then contact Matt Horak, an experienced criminal defense attorney with offices in Houston and The Woodlands. Call Horak Law at (713) 225-8000 to discuss your case pending throughout Harris County or Montgomery County, Texas.