Shannon's Law

In this article, we'll discuss Shannon's Law, its implications, and how our seasoned attorneys can assist you if you find yourself facing charges related to unlawful firearm discharge. Whether you're seeking clarity on the elements of the offense, potential penalties, or defense strategies, this guide will provide you with the knowledge you need to make informed decisions. Let's dig into the details.


Did you know that according to data from the Arizona Department of Public Safety, there were over 1,300 reported incidents of unlawful firearm discharge within city limits in the past year? This statistic underscores the importance of understanding Shannon's Law and the gravity of its consequences.

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Shannon's Law

Understanding Shannon's Law in Arizona - ARS 13-3107

In the state of Arizona, the safety of the public is of paramount importance, leading to the enactment of Shannon's Law. This legislation, named after Shannon Smith, a young girl tragically killed by a stray bullet, addresses the reckless and dangerous act of unlawfully discharging firearms within city limits. Under this new law, an individual who discharges a firearm within city limits may be guilty of criminal negligence. To navigate the legal landscape surrounding this law, it's essential to comprehend its fundamental aspects. 


Key Points of Shannon's Law:

  • Discharge of Firearms: Shannon's Law makes it a felony offense to knowingly discharge a firearm into the air within or into the limits of an incorporated municipality or an occupied structure.
  • Penalties: An individual charged with unlawful discharge of a firearm may face a Classs 6 felony in Arizona. Conviction can result in significant penalties, including fines, probation, and potential imprisonment.
  • Public Safety: The primary purpose of Shannon's Law is to protect public safety by discouraging the dangerous practice of firing guns into the air during celebrations or other events. Stray bullets fired into the air can pose a serious threat to individuals on the ground, leading to injury or even death.

Additional Aspects:

  • A significant stipulation under Shannon’s Law relates to hunting. Even for the same, a person who, with criminal negligence, discharges a firearm without a proper permit from the Arizona Game and Fish Commission can be held responsible. 

Shannon’s Law in Arizona is crucial to understand, as non-compliance could lead to being declared guilty of a class 6 felony offense in Arizona.  

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Penalties for Unlawful Discharge of Firearms

When it comes to violating Shannon's Law by unlawfully discharging a firearm, the consequences can be severe and life-altering. Arizona legislators have established stringent penalties to deter individuals from engaging in this dangerous behavior. It's essential to be aware of the potential legal ramifications if you find yourself facing charges related to unlawful firearm discharge:


Felony Classification and Penalties

Under Shannon's Law, unlawful firearm discharge is classified as a Class 6 felony in Arizona. This classification designates the offense as a serious criminal act. If convicted, you could be subject to:


  • Prison Sentence: A Class 6 felony conviction can result in a prison sentence of up to 1.5 years. The exact duration of the sentence may vary based on the circumstances of the case and any prior criminal record.
  • Fines: In addition to imprisonment, individuals found guilty may face fines of up to $150,000. These fines are intended to reflect the gravity of the offense and serve as a deterrent to prevent future violations.
  • Criminal Record: A felony conviction can leave a lasting mark on your criminal record, impacting various aspects of your life, including employment opportunities, housing, and the restoration of civil rights.


Impact on Firearm Ownership

  • Beyond legal penalties, a conviction under Shannon's Law can have implications for firearm ownership rights. Individuals convicted of a felony offense, including unlawful firearm discharge, may lose their right to possess firearms. This loss of Second Amendment rights can be particularly impactful for those who rely on firearms for self-defense or other legitimate purposes.


Mitigation and Defense Strategies

  • Given the serious nature of the potential penalties, it's imperative to seek legal counsel promptly if you're facing charges related to unlawful firearm discharge. An experienced criminal defense attorney can examine the details of your case, identify potential defenses, and work toward mitigating the consequences. By crafting a strong defense strategy, your attorney can potentially reduce charges or secure alternative sentencing options.


Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon: Laws and Felony Charges in Arizona

Defenses For Unlawful Discharge Of A Firearm

When facing charges related to unlawful firearm discharge under Shannon's Law, a strong defense strategy is essential to protect your rights and navigate the legal process effectively. Understanding the potential defenses available to you can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case. Here are some key defenses that experienced criminal defense attorneys may employ:


Accidental Discharge Defense

  • One effective defense strategy may involve demonstrating that the firearm discharge was accidental and not intentional. Accidents can happen, and if it can be established that the discharge occurred due to unforeseen circumstances beyond your control, this defense could potentially lead to reduced charges or a dismissal. To support this defense, evidence such as the absence of any malicious intent or actions inconsistent with deliberate firing can be crucial.


Legal Justification Defense

  • Another potential defense revolves around proving that the firearm discharge was legally justified. For instance, if you were acting in self-defense or protecting others from imminent harm, the discharge may be considered lawful. Presenting evidence that you reasonably believed there was a threat to your safety or the safety of others can bolster this defense. A skilled attorney can help gather the necessary evidence and construct a compelling argument in your favor.


Challenging the Prosecution's Case

  • An experienced criminal defense attorney will thoroughly analyze the evidence presented by the prosecution. This includes scrutinizing witness testimonies, forensic evidence, and any other factors relevant to the case. If inconsistencies, errors, or weaknesses are identified, your attorney can strategically challenge the prosecution's case, creating doubt about your guilt and increasing the chances of a favorable outcome.
armed robbery

Consequences and Impact on Criminal Record

Facing charges related to unlawful firearm discharge can have far-reaching consequences that extend beyond immediate penalties. Understanding the long-term impact on your criminal record is essential when considering your defense strategy. Let's explore the potential legal consequences and the implications for your criminal record:


Felony Conviction and Its Ramifications

  • A conviction for unlawful firearm discharge results in a felony record, marking you as a convicted felon. Felonies carry significant weight in the eyes of the law and society. This can lead to various consequences, including loss of civil rights, restrictions on firearm ownership, and limitations on voting rights, and possibly a minimum 1.5 years in prison. Furthermore, a felony conviction may tarnish your reputation and affect personal and professional relationships.


Employment and Housing Challenges

  • A criminal record, especially one involving a felony conviction, can present challenges when seeking employment or housing. Many employers conduct background checks as part of their hiring process. A felony conviction can lead to automatic disqualification for certain job positions, limiting your employment opportunities. Similarly, landlords may be hesitant to rent to individuals with a criminal record, affecting your housing options.


Expungement and Record Sealing

  • In some cases, it might be possible to pursue expungement or record sealing to mitigate the impact of a criminal record. Expungement involves completely erasing a criminal record, while record sealing restricts access to certain parties. However, not all offenses are eligible for these processes, and the laws governing them can be complex. Consulting with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney is crucial to understanding your options for minimizing the impact of a conviction on your record.

 According to a report by the National Employment Law Project, individuals with a criminal record are 50% less likely to receive a job offer compared to those without a record. This underscores the challenges individuals may face in securing employment after a criminal conviction.

gun and ammo

Seeking Counsel for Unlawful Firearm Discharge Charges

Navigating charges related to unlawful firearm discharge can be an intricate and daunting process. Enlisting the guidance of a skilled criminal defense attorney who specializes in firearms-related offenses is essential to ensuring that your rights are protected and that you receive a robust defense. Here's why seeking legal counsel is crucial:


Expertise in Firearm-Related Laws

  • A proficient criminal defense attorney with experience in firearm-related cases possesses in-depth knowledge of the relevant laws and regulations. They understand the nuances of Shannon's Law, the elements of unlawful firearm discharge, and potential defenses. This expertise enables them to craft a tailored defense strategy that maximizes your chances of a favorable outcome.


Strategic Defense Planning

  • Every case is unique, and a one-size-fits-all approach won't suffice when facing unlawful firearm discharge charges. A skilled attorney will meticulously analyze the specifics of your case, identify weaknesses in the prosecution's arguments, and develop a strategic defense plan. This plan may involve leveraging evidence, expert testimonies, and legal arguments to build a strong case in your favor.


Protection of Your Rights and Future

  • Throughout the legal process, your attorney's primary goal is to protect your rights and interests. They will ensure that law enforcement and prosecutors adhere to proper procedures and that your constitutional rights are upheld. Additionally, an attorney can work to minimize the impact of a conviction on your criminal record, employment prospects, and overall future.

 A survey conducted by the American Bar Association revealed that individuals who are represented by legal counsel in criminal cases are more likely to achieve positive outcomes. In cases involving felony charges, individuals with legal representation were found to receive shorter sentences and face reduced penalties. This underscores the significant role that a skilled criminal defense attorney can play in influencing the trajectory of your unlawful firearm discharge case.

Why Choose Kolsrud Law Offices to Defend You

How a Phoenix Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help

Facing charges related to unlawful firearm discharge can be a distressing and overwhelming experience. However, you don't have to navigate this legal journey alone. At Kolsrud Law Offices, our team of seasoned criminal defense attorneys specializes in firearm-related offenses and is committed to providing you with expert legal representation. Here's how our skilled attorneys can make a significant difference in your case:


Comprehensive Understanding of Shannon's Law

  • Our attorneys possess a comprehensive understanding of Shannon's Law and its intricacies. We are well-versed in the elements of unlawful firearm discharge, the potential penalties, and the viable defense strategies. Leveraging our expertise, we will analyze the specifics of your case and provide you with a clear and informed assessment of your legal situation.


Tailored Defense Strategy

  • Every case is unique, and cookie-cutter approaches won't suffice. Our criminal defense attorneys will work closely with you to develop a tailored defense strategy that aligns with the specifics of your case. Whether it involves demonstrating accidental discharge, proving legal justification, or challenging evidence, we will craft a robust defense plan designed to achieve the best possible outcome.


The urgency of Speaking with a Lawyer

  • Time is of the essence when facing criminal charges, especially those related to unlawful firearm discharge. Waiting to address the situation can have detrimental effects on your case. Evidence may be lost, witnesses' memories may fade, and crucial opportunities to build a strong defense may be missed. To ensure the preservation of evidence and the protection of your rights, it's imperative to speak with a criminal defense attorney promptly.


Schedule a Free Consultation

  • Don't let uncertainty and anxiety consume you. Schedule a free consultation with our expert criminal defense attorneys to discuss your case in detail. We understand the urgency of your situation and are here to provide you with the guidance and support you need. Call us today at 480-680-9769 to take the first step toward a solid defense. Your future and rights are too important to leave to chance – let us fight for you.

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Why Choose Josh Kolsrud

With over 100 trials to his name, and years of experience as a state and federal prosecutor, Josh understands the law, the legal process, and your rights. Josh is also committed to representing every client with utmost integrity and dedication



Josh has prosecuted major crimes on the state and federal level, led a successful anti-human sex trafficking operation that saved lives, and argued before countless juries and justices for his clients



Josh is an expert in both Arizona and federal criminal law, and is ready to put that expertise to work for you.



As a prosecutor, Josh saw far too many defendants lose their livelihood due to poor representation. Josh will always give every client his complete attention and effort

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