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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 23589
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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My son accidentally shot a gun in his friends home and it

Customer Question

My son accidentally shot a gun in his friends home and it went through the wall into the next apartment. What can happen to him?
JA: In what state did this occur?
Customer: Indiana
JA: Have you talked to a laywer yet?
Customer: No
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: No
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 3 months ago.

Hi,

I'm Zoey and I'll be assisting you. I'm reviewing your question now. Are you online at this time?

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 3 months ago.

Thank you.

Was anybody injured? Have the police been involved. Has your son been charged with a criminal offense?

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
No one was hurt. The police were called and he told them what happened. No he has not been charged with anything yet.
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 3 months ago.

Thanks for the response.

He can be charged with Section 35-42-2-2 of the Indiana Penal Code. Here is statute, which involves conduct involving a substantial risk of injury to another.

As you can see, it is generally a misdemeanor, but when a firearm is involved it would elevate the charge to a level 5 felony. A level 5 felony can carry up to 6 years of prison time. So this is a particularly serious offense, made all the more difficult by the fact that your son confessed to the police.

If he is charged, he will need a lawyer, and he should say nothing further to the authorities if they want to question him again.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
It was a complete accident though. The parties involved are ver understanding. It isn't his gun it is his friends.
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
He was not arrested!
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 3 months ago.

I understand that he has not yet been arrested.

Your question was what could happen. What could happen is that he could still be charged with the section I have told you about. It only requires a very low standard of proof to charge someone with a crime. The prosecutor only needs probable cause, which is simply a reasonable belief that a crime may have been committed. Whether he can be convicted of a crime is a wholly different matter, as that requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt. But is there enough evidence to get him charged if the prosecutor wishes to do so? Yes.

This may have been an accident. Arguably, however, it was reckless for your son to be handling someone else's gun inside an apartment in the first place.

Please understand I'm not saying he will be charged. I'm only saying it is still possible, depending upon what the prosecutor makes of the matter. And it's the answer to your question, which was "what can happen to him," even though it is the worst case scenario.

At the very least, however, even if he avoids any criminal liability, he would be civilly responsible for the damage to his friend's apartment and the apartment next door.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Will someone be in contact with him then?
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 3 months ago.

Yes. If he is going to be charged, he will hear something from the state.

Again. It may never happen. But whether this was accidental or intentional could turn out to be a question of fact that a prosecutor may want a judge or jury to decide.

Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 3 months ago.

How did the police leave matters at the end of the phone call?

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
There was no phone call they were present.
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 3 months ago.

What did they say upon leaving the scene?

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
That he would be contacted in the next couple days.
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 3 months ago.

The police are going to take the information to the prosecutor who will decide whether he or she will wish to go forward and charge him for a reckless act. While the police will frequently arrest someone at the scene of a crime, they do not have to. The state actually has until the statute of limitations runs out on the charge in order to file criminal charges. For an Indiana felony that's 5 years.

So he's not out of the woods yet, and going with the odds, I suspect that the contact he will receive will tell him that he's being charged.

Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 3 months ago.

Just checking in to see if you need more help or any clarification of my answer. If so, please reply here on this question thread.