Ashburn Man Charged with Reckless Handling of a Firearm in Virginia
A 24-year-old man from Ashburn, Virginia, now faces criminal charges for the weapon crime of reckless handling of a firearm, according to an article by the Loudoun Times-Mirror.
The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office responded to this incident on September 9th in Hamilton. The Ashburn man apparently discharged a firearm and injured a woman in the process. It does not appear that the Ashburn intended to cause any harm. But his bullet ended up hitting the woman and inflicting injury anyway.
As a result of this incident, the authorities charged the Ashburn man with the misdemeanor of reckless handling of firearms. He was not detained at the Loudoun County Adult Detention Center. But he will need to appear in court at a date and time that is still pending.
While the Ashburn man awaits the next steps in his legal case, it seems appropriate to review Virginia laws against and penalties for reckless handling of firearms.
Reckless Handling of Firearms
Code of Virginia Section 18.2-56.1 establishes the definition of and penalties for reckless handling of firearms. Under this section, it is unlawful to handle a firearm in such a way that creates a risk of property damage, physical harm, or death.
A violation of Section 18.2-56.1 typically qualifies as a Class 1 misdemeanor in Virginia. If convicted, the offender can face up to 12 months in jail and $2,500 in criminal fines.
That being said, reckless handling of firearms can become a felony crime under extreme circumstances. But the felony version only applies when a person commits reckless handling of firearms and they:
- Act in a way that demonstrates a severe disregard for human life; and
- Cause serious physical harm that results in permanent impairment.
In these cases, reckless handling of firearms is a Class 6 felony in Virginia. If convicted, the offender can face one to five years in prison and $2,500 in criminal fines.
Reckless Handling of Firearms While Hunting
Section 18.2-56.1 also outlines additional considerations for reckless handling of firearms while hunting, trapping, or pursuing game. When a person commits this crime under these circumstances, their hunting/trapping license will be revoked for at least one year and up to five years. This license revocation exists in addition to the standard penalties for reckless handling of firearms, whether misdemeanor or felony.
Furthermore, if a person goes hunting or trapping on a revoked license, they can face further punishment under Section 18.2-56.1. In addition to Class 1 misdemeanor charges, that person can face permanent revocation of their hunting/trapping license.
Do You Need Legal Help?
If you need legal help with charges for reckless handling of firearms or other criminal offenses in Virginia, it can be demonstratively favorable to consult with a seasoned criminal defense attorney. The Leesburg weapons offenses lawyers at Simms Showers LLP have widespread experience defending against various criminal charges in Virginia, including reckless handling of firearms. If you need legal help with criminal defense, contact us today for a free initial consultation.