Illegal Use of a Weapon
April 17th, 2023
What is illegal use of a weapon?
Louisiana law defines illegal use as the intentional or criminally negligent discharge of any firearm where it is foreseeable that it could result in death or great bodily injury to another person. Illegal use of a weapon is not limited to just shooting a gun. The statute includes any other article, liquid, or substance that could lead to great bodily injury or death.
Generally, this charge arises from people shooting a gun in the air or shooting too close to a house. In both scenarios, it is likely the bullet could strike someone. Remember, what goes up must come down, even when you shoot in the air. When you shoot by a house, someone could step out, or the aim could be off and strike someone. The purpose of this statute is to prevent someone from being accidentally shot.
What are the penalties for illegal use of a weapon?
Illegal use of a weapon is a felony and is punishable with a fine of up to $1000 and up to two years in jail.
Some nuisances can increase the penalties for this charge; on a second offense, the jail exposure and the fine increase. For example, if illegal use occurs during a crime of violence or certain drug charges, the penalties increase to a minimum of 10 and up to 20 years. If a machine gun or a silencer is used, the penalty is 20 years and up to 30 years. A second conviction with a machine gun or a firearm equipped with a silencer or muffler is a life sentence, without the benefit of probation, parole, or suspension of sentence. As you can see from the penalty range, this is a serious offense, and we treat it as such.
And remember, laws and interpretations are continually changing. The above references laws in effect as of 2023 and according to LSA R.S.14:94. As rulings come down from different courts and jurisdictions, these rules are apt to change.
If you or someone you know has a question about the illegal carrying of a weapon charge and wants to discuss the process, do not hesitate to contact the law office of Larrion L. Hillman at 318-549-9810. This blog is not intended as legal advice, nor does it form an attorney-client relationship. Larrion Hillman practices criminal defense in Caddo Parish, Webster Parish, Bossier Parish, Shreveport, and Bossier City, Louisiana. And remember, keep calm and let Hillman handle it.