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Endangering safety/dangerous weapon dangerous weapon Per Wisconsin Statute 941.20

According to Wisconsin gun laws, it is a Class A misdemeanor to endanger the safety of others with a dangerous weapon. Specifically, shooting a firearm from a vehicle on the highway, in a public parking lot or other circumstances could be a Class F felony (up to a $25,000 fine and/or 12.5 years in prison).

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Criminal Defense Attorney for 941.20 Endangering Safety By Use Of Dangerous Weapon in Wisconsin.

Grieve Law is not a general practitioner law firm. Criminal Defense is practically everything the firm does. Staffed by criminal defense attorneys who are former prosecutors, our firm understands the letter of the law and how things tend to play out in practice.

If you have been charged with a felony or misdemeanor contact us for a free initial phone consultation. We have law offices in Madison, Appleton, Milwaukee & Waukesha and serve statewide.

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The following legal overview may be outdated due to changes in the law. Grieve Law makes no claims regarding the accuracy of the information below. If you are facing criminal charges, you should consult an experienced criminal defense lawyer immediately. Grieve Law handles DUI offenses, criminal defense and drug cases throughout Wisconsin. If OWI penalties are combined with possession of firearm charges, the consequences can be serious.

Tom Grieve is an experienced gun attorney and zealous 2nd amendment advocate with offices in Madison & Milwaukee. He helps Wisconsin gun owners with:

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Overview of Wisconsin Statute 941.20: Endangering safety by use of dangerous weapon.

Under Wisconsin law, endangering the safety of others with a dangerous weapon is a Class A misdemeanor. The statute outlines what it means to endanger the safety of others in this way:

  • The negligent operation or handling of a dangerous weapon
  • Operating or going armed with a firearm while under the influence of an intoxicant
  • Operating or going armed with a firearm with a detectable amount of a restricted controlled substance in his or her blood.
  • Intentionally pointing a firearm at someone.
  • Discharging a firearm within 100 yards of any building where people live without permission of the owner or occupant of the building.

Intentionally pointing a firearm at or towards a law enforcement officer, fire fighter, emergency medical technician, first responder, ambulance driver, or a commission warden who is acting in an official capacity is a Class H felony. Class H felony in Wisconsin penalty.

Whoever does any of the following is guilty of a Class G felony (class G felony Wisconsin penalty):

  • Intentionally shooting a gun into a vehicle or building someone might be in.
  • Setting a spring gun

Shooting a firearm from a vehicle while on a highway, or on a vehicle parking lot open to the public under any of the following circumstances is a Class F felony:

  • The firearm is discharged at or toward another.
  • The firearm is discharge at or toward any building or other vehicle.

The statute clarifies that these charges don’t apply to police officers, members of the armed forces or the national guard who are acting in the line of duty. Also, if you are acting in self-defense or the defense of others, the law acknowledges this as the privilege of self-defense.

About pointing a firearm at someone

Wisconsin courts have ruled on a number of cases involving the pointing of a firearm at another person, and it’s worth mentioning a few of these:

In State v. Smith, 55 Wis. 2d 304, 198 N.W.2d 630 (1972), it was decided that in armed robbery cases pointing a firearm is not a lesser included offense and a defendant can be convicted of both armed robbery and of endangering the safety of others.

In State v. Trentadue, 180 Wis. 2d 670, 510 N.W.2d 727 (Ct. App. 1993), it was decided police officers do not have an absolute right to point their weapons, but privilege may be asserted as an affirmative defense.

Although intentionally pointing a firearm at another constitutes endangering the safety of others, it was decided in State v. Watkins, 2002 WI 101, 255 Wis. 2d 265, 647 N.W.2d 244, 00-0064 that a person has the right to point a gun at someone else in self-defense if the person reasonably believes the threat of force is necessary to stop what he or she reasonably believes to be an unlawful interference.

As with any charge involving firearms of any kind, it's imperative to have an attorney who understands gun laws. Attorney Tom Grieve is a well-known and highly respected gun rights advocate with extensive experience litigating gun charges in Wisconsin. If you're facing charges, request a free intial consultation today.


In Wisconsin, how long does an Endangering Safety with a Dangerous Weapon charge stay on your record?

A $10,000 fine could result for a Wisconsin resident convicted of endangering safety with a dangerous weapon, but the charges alone could be on that resident�s record for life.

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