Wisconsin laws dictate how, when, and where it’s legal to use and possess a firearm. One law makes it illegal for individuals to discharge a firearm within 100 yards of certain buildings. This law applies when the defendant is on the land of another, is operating without consent, and the buildings involved are devoted to human occupancy. In other words, they’re homes, apartments, or other places where people live.
Endangering safety by use of a dangerous weapon: discharging a weapon within 100 yards of a building is a Class A misdemeanor. While this version of the offense can’t result in a prison sentence (the maximum penalty is 9 months jail), slightly modified circumstances result in a felony charge. For example, if you discharge the weapon into a building, and should recognize that the building involved could be occupied, the charge is a Class G felony, potentially resulting in 10 years in prison and $25,000.00 in fines. This slightly different situation results in a significantly larger penalty.
Hiring a top criminal defense attorney is important, especially when facing serious criminal charges involving firearms. At Van Severen Law Office, S.C., our criminal defense attorneys are continually recognized as some of the best in Wisconsin. Our entire practice focuses solely on defending individuals accused of committing crimes throughout the state. Fighting for clients facing charges just like yours is all we do. Contact us at (414) 270-0202 to speak with one of our criminal defense attorneys about your case.
Wisconsin law includes a few variations of endangering safety by use of a dangerous weapon. Some people confuse these charges with recklessly endangering safety, but they’re completely separate offenses. The specific crime we’re focused on here is discharging a weapon within 100 yards of a building devoted to human occupancy. Section 941.20(1)(d) of the Wisconsin Statutes indicates that the defendant:
(d) While on the lands of another discharges a firearm within 100 yards of any building devoted to human occupancy situated on and attached to the lands of another without the express permission of the owner or occupant of the building. “Building” as used in this paragraph does not include any tent, bus, truck, vehicle or similar portable unit.
Importantly, the term “building” has a very specific meaning in this circumstance. Buildings do not include tents. So if the discharge of a weapon occurs within 100 yards of a campsite, even if that campsite includes tents, recreational vehicles, and trucks, a violation of this law does not occur. Similarly, if the discharge of the firearm occurs within 100 yards of a farm building, such as barn, this statute isn’t relevant. The focus is on houses and other similar buildings.
Jury instructions provide written guides to various legal concepts, procedures, and substantive laws. Jury instructions break down criminal offenses into parts, called elements. This is important because the government must prove each of the elements of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt before you can be convicted. Courts typically read these instructions to jurors at trial. They’re also important when considering a plea to a criminal charge, as they help the defendant to understand exactly what he is admitting to.
The elements of discharging a firearm within 100 yards of a building are as follows:
If the government cannot prove each of these elements beyond a reasonable doubt, you cannot be convicted. Typically we’ll take a look at these jury instructions during our initial consultation and throughout the case. Sometimes, we’ll even build an entire trial strategy focused on the government’s inability to prove one or more.
Criminal convictions will remain with you for the rest of your life. And while an appeal might apply in certain circumstances, you only have one shot at defending your criminal case the right way.
Many defendants aren’t aware of the various pre-trial motions that apply in criminal cases. Did you make statements incriminating yourself when police arrested you? Reviewing your recorded interview is an important step in a criminal case. Did police properly advise you of your Miranda rights? If not, sometimes the facts allow us to argue that your statement cannot be used against you in trial. Depending on the circumstance of your case, eliminating that piece of evidence against you could be powerful.
While you may have watched a jury trial on television, having a professional on your side is incredibly important. Recent criminal cases, such as the one involving Darrell Brooks in Waukesha, show us exactly how important it is to have an experienced attorney on your side. Sometimes defendants simply don’t know what evidence will hurt him or her. We do. And we’ll do our best to minimize how much that evidence hurts you. Our attorneys have defended hundreds of individuals at jury trial, so we’re familiar with this complex process.
Hiring the right criminal defense attorney is important. That’s especially the case if you’re facing charges involving firearms. Even though discharging a firearm within 100 yards of a building is only a Class A misdemeanor, prosecutors consider this charge incredibly serious and frequently request a sentence that includes incarceration. We recognize how important avoiding that consequence is.
The criminal defense attorneys at Van Severen Law Office, S.C. are regularly recognized as some of Wisconsin’s best. We fight for clients facing criminal charges throughout Wisconsin, although our main offices are based in Milwaukee, Waukesha, and Ozaukee counties.
Contact us immediately at (414) 270-0202 to schedule a free initial consultation.