Burden of proof for reckless discharge of a firearm.

Asked about 5 years ago - Grand Rapids, MI

Me and two friends were charged with reckless discharge of a firearm because we accidentally shot a barn on the adjacent property while target shooting. They pled guilty and paid fines and restitution to the barn owner but I dont think I shot the barn. Does the prosecutor have to prove it was my gun, my bullets, and me firing them that went into the barn or is it enough that I was there shooting when it happend.

Attorney answers (2)

  1. John Freeman

    Contributor Level 13

    Answered . The prosecutor must prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Crimes have what lawyers call "elements". Each of these "elements" must be proven at trial "beyond a reasonable doubt" before you can be convicted of a crime. Mere presence where a crime is committed is not sufficient. Your best bet is to contact an experienced Michigan Firearms Attorney. Visit www.self-defense-law.com.

  2. John M. Kaman


    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . The prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt all elements of the crime. The mere fact that you were there does not shift the burden to you. As I do not know the statute under which you were charged, I can only speculate that the act of shooting itself in the locale you were shooting from was reckless. If the crime in MI requires that you hit something off target then the prosecutor would have to prove all the elements you mention. You need a lawyer badly; get one.

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