Contact Us Today (424) 372-3112

Shoot at Vehicle

Penal Code 247(b) PC - Shooting at an Unoccupied Vehicle or Building

The state of California has some of the country's strictest laws regarding firearms use. For example, Penal Code 247(b) PC is the statute that makes it a crime to fire a weapon at an unoccupied building or vehicle.

Shooting at an Unoccupied Vehicle or Building- Penal Code 247(b) PC
It's a crime under Penal Code 247(b) to shoot at weapon at an unoccupied vehicle or building.

PC 247(b) says, “Anyone who discharges a firearm at an unoccupied motor vehicle or an uninhabited building or dwelling house is guilty of an offense that is punishable by imprisonment for up to one year in a county or state prison. This law does not apply to shooting at an abandoned vehicle, unoccupied vehicle, uninhabited building, or dwelling house with the owner's permission.”

In other words, this statute makes it a crime for somebody to shoot a firearm at an unoccupied motor vehicle, an uninhabited building, or an uninhabited dwelling, including a home, apartment, etc.

Penal Code 246 PC is a closely related crime, which makes it a crime to shoot a weapon at an inhabited dwelling or occupied vehicle. Under related PC 246, “inhabited” means someone lives there, whether or not they are present when shots are fired.

If convicted of pc 247(b), you face up to 3 years in prison. Let's review this state law in more detail below.

What Does the Law Say?

As noted, PC 247(b) prohibits anyone from firing a weapon at an unoccupied motor vehicle, uninhabited building, or dwelling house.

Shooting at an Unoccupied Vehicle
A "firearm" under the law is a handgun, pistol, revolver.

Related PC 246 says, “Anybody who maliciously and willfully discharges a firearm at an inhabited dwelling house, occupied building, motor vehicle, aircraft, house car defined under Vehicle Code 362 VC, inhabited camper defined under Vehicle Code 243 VC, is guilty of a felony….”

A "firearm" under the law is a handgun, pistol, revolver, rifle, shotgun, or any device used to shoot a projectile by explosion or combustion.  A "building" is any permanent structure.

A “dwelling house" is any structure used as a home, such as a home, apartment, or mobile home. Notably, an "uninhabited dwelling house" means nobody lives at the location, not just that they were not home.  

Suppose you have permission from the owner to shoot at an abandoned building or unoccupied vehicle.  In that case, you can't be convicted under this statute but could face charges under other laws.

Suppose somebody makes a home in that dwelling by using it to sleep and store their property (homeless). In that case, shooting at it could be charged under related Penal Code 246 PC shooting at an inhabitant dwelling, even if they were not there when it occurred.

What Are the Related Crimes?

  • Penal Code 246 PC - Shoot at an occupied dwelling or vehicle;
  • Penal Code 246.3 PC – Discharge firearm with gross negligence;
  • Penal Code 245(a)(2) PC - Assault with a firearm;
  • Penal Code 417 PC - Brandishing a firearm;
  • Penal Code 26100 PC - Drive-by shooting;
  • Penal Code 25400 PC – Carrying a concealed weapon;
  • Penal Code 25850 PC - Carrying a loaded firearm; (link)
  • Penal Code 26350 PC – Open carry an unloaded firearm; 
  • Penal Code 29800 PC - Felon in possession of a firearm;
  • Penal Code 30600 PC - Possession of an assault weapon.

What Are the Penalties?

PC 247b is a "wobbler" that can be filed as a misdemeanor or a felony based on the case details and criminal record. If convicted, the penalties include the following:

  • A misdemeanor carries up to 1 year in county jail and a $1000 fine.
  • A felony carries up to 3 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

What Are the Defenses for PC 247(b)?

Suppose you were charged with violating Penal Code 247(b). In that case, our Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys can use different strategies for the best possible outcome, including getting reduced charges or a case dismissal. The most common arguments are discussed below.

Defenses for Shooting at an Unoccupied Vehicle or Building
Contact our law firm for legal guidance.

Maybe we can argue that you had consent from the owner. PC 247(b) lists an exception that says it's not unlawful to shoot at an unoccupied building or vehicle as long as the owner permits you.  

Maybe we can argue the discharge if the weapon was accidental. Recall that a prosecutor must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that you willfully and maliciously discharged the firearm to obtain a conviction.

For example, perhaps you had a reasonable belief that the safety was “on” when you were playing around with your firearm, but you were mistaken and accidentally fired it.

Perhaps we can negotiate with the prosecution prefiling to avoid the formal filing of criminal charges, called a “DA reject.”

If you are charged with violating Penal Code 247(b), contact us for a free case consultation to discuss the details and legal options. Cron, Israels & Stark have offices in Los Angeles, CA.

Related Content:

Contact Us Today

Cron, Israels & Stark is committed to answering your questions about All Misdemeanor and Felony Crime law issues in Santa Monica and Los Angeles, California.

We offer a free consultation and we'll gladly discuss your case with you at your convenience. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.