The state of California only allows people to shoot firearms in very specific circumstances. Most people are aware that they are not allowed to discharge a firearm at another person, an inhabited structure, or an occupied vehicle, for example.
Individuals in California can also face charges under California Penal Code Section 247(b): Shooting at an Unoccupied Vehicle or Building. Go over the definition of PC 247(b) and the applications of this charge in California right here with the Simmrin Law Group.
Defining PC 247(b) Charges in California
Individuals can face charges under PC 247(b) if they discharge a firearm at an:
- Uninhabited Dwelling or Building
- Unoccupied Motor Vehicle
- Without the Owner’s Permission
This charge only applies if an individual acts without the permission of the owner of the building or vehicle.
The court system in California considers dwellings to be structures that are generally used as residences. This can include single-family homes, townhouses, apartments, and mobile homes. Houseboats can also be considered dwellings in California.
Firearms are weapons that shoot projectiles using explosions or another type of combustion. Common examples of firearms include rifles, handguns, shotguns, and revolvers.
Examples of PC 247(b) Charges
You can refine your understanding of PC 247(b) charges with these examples:
Man A takes his girlfriend to do some shooting practice in a lot that he believes is abandoned. They find an old, rusted car and take turns shooting at it. The vehicle belongs to Man B, who calls the police to complain. Man A and his girlfriend could be charged under PC 247(b).
Man C regularly goes out to his grandfather’s property to practice shooting. His grandfather gave him permission to shoot an old trailer in the back of the property. Man C should not be convicted under PC 247(b) because he had the permission of the building’s owner to shoot the trailer.
Man D gets drunk with some friends and drives around town, occasionally firing a shot out of the window of the car. He hits a few buildings and cars. Many of these buildings and cars are inhabited or occupied. Instead of facing a PC 247(b) charge, he could face harsher penalties tied to negligent discharge.
Penalties for a PC 247(b) Conviction in California
Shooting at an unoccupied vehicle or building can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or a felony in California. A misdemeanor conviction can lead to 1 year in jail. Individuals convicted of felony may face up to 3 years of prison time.
The court may also require individuals to pay restitution to the property or vehicle owner for damages caused by the shooting.
Note that the penalties can be far more severe if a shooting endangers another person. Generally, cases that involve the discharge of firearms around other people are not prosecuted under PC 247(b). Instead, an individual might be charged under:
- California Penal Code Section 246: Shooting At An Inhabited Dwelling Or Occupied Car
- California Penal Code Section 246.3: Shooting In A Grossly Negligent Manner
Defenses for PC 247(b) Accusations
A criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles may be able to help build your defense if you are accused of shooting at an unoccupied vehicle or building. There are a number of legal defenses that can be used to handle PC 247(b) charges. A lawyer may work to prove that:
You Shot an Unoccupied Building or Vehicle with the Owner’s Permission
PC 247(b) charges do not apply if a vehicle or building’s owner gave you permission to shoot at their property. You should not be convicted if you were acting with the approval of the owner of the vehicle or building.
You Shot an Unoccupied Building or Vehicle by Accident
You should only be charged under PC 247(b) if you intentionally discharged a firearm at an unoccupied vehicle of building. If you discharged a gun by accident you should not face a conviction under PC 247(b).
You Were Falsely Accused of Shooting an Unoccupied Vehicle or Building
Some individuals in California are falsely accused of committing criminal acts. Your lawyer may be able to protect you if you are falsely accused of violating PC 247(b).
Protect Yourself with a Criminal Defense Lawyer
Focus on building a defense for California Penal Code Section 247(b): Shooting at an Unoccupied Vehicle or Building charges today by contacting the Simmrin Law Group. Our professional criminal defense lawyers can start working for you now. Just call (310) 997-4688, or complete our online contact form to get started.
You can focus on your legal defense now with a FREE consultation.