Intentionally pointing a firearm at another is a firearm crime that doesn’t involve discharging the weapon. Instead, legislators recognized the dangerousness of simply aiming the weapon at another human being. To many this makes sense, considering the fact that simply pulling the trigger easily causes the death of another human.
At Van Severen Law Office, our criminal defense attorneys regularly represent individuals facing criminal charges involving guns. One of those charges is intentionally pointing a firearm at another. This charge is a Class A misdemeanor, meaning the maximum penalty upon conviction is 9 months jail, $10,000.00 in fines, or both. Basic pointing charges are not felonies, and therefore (on their own) cannot result in you going to prison. In an escalated version of the offense, it is a Class H felony to point a firearm at various first responders, including firefighters, police, and emergency medical service practitioners.
Facing a criminal charge can be incredibly stressful. You’ve probably received letters from numerous law firms advertising their services. At our firm we provide free consultations to potential clients. This isn’t a high-stress sales situation. Instead, we believe it’s important that you hire the right attorney. What you’re about to go through isn’t fun, and it’s important that you have the correct ally at your side. Call us at (414) 270-0202 to schedule a free consultation or to begin speaking with one of our criminal defense lawyers.
Section 941.20 of the Wisconsin Statutes defines various versions of the endangering safety by use of a dangerous weapon laws in Wisconsin. Intentionally pointing a firearm at another is one version of that offense and is defined in section 941.20(1)(c) of the Wisconsin Statutes:
941.20 Endangering safety by use of dangerous weapon.(1) Whoever does any of the following is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor:…(c) Except as provided in sub. (1m), intentionally points a firearm at or toward another.
Subsection (1m)(b) provides the Class H version of this charge:
(b) Whoever intentionally points a firearm at or towards a law enforcement officer, a fire fighter, an emergency medical services practitioner, an emergency medical responder, an ambulance driver, or a commission warden who is acting in an official capacity and who the person knows or has reason to know is a law enforcement officer, a fire fighter, an emergency medical services practitioner, an emergency medical responder, an ambulance driver, or a commission warden is guilty of a Class H felony.
Jury instructions break down crimes into parts. In trial, the court will read these instructions to jurors. In order for the government to sustain a conviction against you, they must prove each of these elements beyond a reasonable doubt. Wisconsin Criminal Jury Instruction 1322 provides the elements of intentionally pointing a firearm at another:
The jury instructions bring up an important point: the law does not focus on whether the firearm involved was loaded or unloaded. Further, it doesn’t matter whether the firearm was even operational. The law prohibits simply pointing the gun. But in all situations a firearm is required. Pointing an airgun at another does not qualify as a crime under this section, no matter how realistic it appears. The weapon involved must operate by the act or force of gunpowder.
That being said, pointing another kind of weapon at someone does qualify as a different crime, depending on the circumstances of the offense. Disorderly conduct is a crime that occurs when the defendant engages in behaviors that tend to cause or provoke a disturbance. Pointing a knife at someone, pointing a pellet gun at someone, or some sort of similar conduct will likely result in at least a charge for disorderly conduct.
It’s impossible to answer this question on our website. What are your goals in your case? Are you innocent of the charges and a victory is a complete dismissal of charges against you? Or are you pursuing some other goal?
Learning your goals is one of the reasons we offer free consultations to potential clients. While some firms might charge you to come in and talk about your case for an hour, we don’t. We think that this step is an important one and that it’s necessary to really get to know our clients. During your free consultation, we’ll go over your case and give you the chance to ask questions to figure out if we’re a good match.
“Winning” your case could involve pre-trial motions. Does your case involve a police search that recovered a firearm allegedly used in your case? Examining that search warrant to determine whether police, prosecutors, and the judge that granted the warrant followed constitutional principles is important. If not, challenging the search could result in powerful results that change the strength of the government’s case against you. Another common pre-trial motion deals with statements you made to police. Did police properly administer Miranda warnings? Is there any way to suppress for use at trial a statement you made?
Sometimes “winning” includes a full-blown acquittal at trial. Proceeding to jury trial is frequently a necessary step for clients who indicate they’re innocent of the charges against them. Trial includes many potential benefits, but many potential costs that we can discuss at your initial consultation.
Our law firm has represented thousands of individuals facing criminal charges throughout Wisconsin. We pride ourselves on our ability to fight on behalf of clients facing both misdemeanors and felonies. No charge is too serious for us to handle.
Contact us at (414) 270-0202 to speak with our firm about how we can help.