What is willful discharge of a firearm in public?
“If any person willfully discharges or causes to be discharged any firearm in any street in a city or town, or in any place of public business or place of public gathering, and such conduct results in bodily injury to another person, he shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony. If such conduct does not result in bodily injury to another person, he shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.”
What does this mean for you?
What does the Commonwealth have to prove?
They have to prove that you did this willfully or intentionally, that a firearm was actually discharged, and that it was in a public place. Meaning they have to prove that you intentionally had a firearm out in public, that the firearm was actually used or fired, and that it was all done in a public place. A public place includes any street within a city or town, any area open to public gatherings, or any place of public business. Va. Code 18.2-280(A)
Should you get an attorney?
There are numerous ways that this charge can be mitigated especially if you did not discharge the weapon intentionally or it was done as an act of self-defense. You want an attorney to evaluate all the possible evidence to see if the Commonwealth can prove these charges against you.