Georgia law prohibits people from discharging firearms within 50 yards of a public highway. This law can be found at O.C.G.A. § 16-11-103. The intent of this law is safety to the community and to decrease risks or injuries and death from gunfire close to public streets.
Discharging a firearm on or near a public highway is a misdemeanor criminal offense, which carries a penalty of up to 12 months in jail or a $1,000 fine or both. Misdemeanor crimes, including this one, do result in a criminal history, if convicted. This means that pleading guilty or being found guilty of this crime will result on a public criminal history that is accessible to potential employers and other members of the public.
This law even applies to private land. Therefore it can be unlawful to discharge a firearm on your own property if your land is within 50 yards of a public street. There are several defenses to Discharging a firearm on or near a public highway. All legal justification defenses apply to this crime, so you could discharge your firearm in self-defense even if it was within 50 yards of a public highway or street. Additionally, there must be criminal intent in all cases in order for the State to obtain a conviction. Accidental discharge of a weapon is a defense in these cases. Lastly, even if no legal justification defenses apply, a skilled lawyer can offer the prosecuting attorney mitigating evidence in efforts to secure a diversion offer. Pretrial diversion programs result in dismissal of the case, and criminal history expungment (known in Georgia as record restriction).
If you or a loved one has been charged with Discharging a Firearm On or Near a Public Highway, call us today for a FREE CONSULTATION at 404-581-0999.