What Are Weapons Charges in California?
In California, weapons charges are serious offenses which carry the risk of a misdemeanor or felony conviction. Since the majority of California weapons charges carry potential sentences to jail or prison, you need an experienced law firm who will fight for your rights. Contact Paladin Legal Defenders. Call us today at (714) 536-9988 for a free consultation from one of our knowledgeable California weapons charge attorneys.
Types of Weapons Charges
Assault with a Deadly Weapon
Assault with a deadly weapon, commonly referred to as “aggravated assault,” is a serious crime almost always resulting in a felony charge. Assault with a deadly weapon is covered under California Penal Code 245, and is similar in nature to assault, but requires the use of a deadly weapon likely to cause significant bodily harm. Under California law, a deadly weapon may include a gun, bat, knife, vehicle, bottle, or any other object or instrument capable of “great bodily harm.”
Unlawful Possession of a Weapon
California places severe restrictions on the ownership or possession of a firearm and/or ammunition for those who meet many disqualifying criteria. These individuals include those:
- Convicted of a felony offense in any jurisdiction.
- Addicted to narcotics.
- With two or more misdemeanor convictions under California Penal Code 417, which pertains to the brandishing of a weapon.
- Convicted of or have a warrant for certain misdemeanor offenses under California Penal Code 23515and Penal Code 29805.
- Deemed to be mentally incompetent to stand trial or those who have been found not guilty by reason of insanity
- Minors under the age of 18.
In addition to California law, federal law also bans the following individuals from owning or possessing firearms and/or ammunition:
- Persons under indictment, regardless of the court, for a crime punishable with a sentence of more than one year.
- Those granted a dishonorable discharge or those discharged from the armed forces under dishonorable circumstances.
- Persons under a court order for stalking charges.
- Persons subject to a temporary restraining order, or protective order.
- Illegal aliens or those who have renounced their US citizenship.
- Fugitives from justice.
Carrying a Concealed Weapon
Carrying a concealed weapon, either on your person or in a vehicle is prohibited under California Penal Code 25400, which states that:
“A person is guilty of carrying a concealed firearm when the person does any of the following:
- Carries concealed within any vehicle that is under the person’s control or direction any pistol, revolver, or another firearm capable of being concealed upon the person.
- Carries concealed upon the person any pistol, revolver, or another firearm capable of being concealed upon the person.
- Causes to be carried concealed within any vehicle in which the person is an occupant any pistol, revolver, or another firearm capable of being concealed upon the person.”
Unlawful Sale of a Weapon
California Penal Code 26500(a) states that “no person shall sell, lease, or transfer firearms unless the person has been issued a license pursuant to Article 1 (commencing with Section 26700) and Article 2 (commencing with Section 26800) of Chapter 2.” California Penal Code 26700 outlines the issuing of a license, whereas California Penal Code 26800 sets the conditions under which the license is forfeited.
In California, a licensed dealer must complete all firearm or weapon sales. While there are certain exceptions, even these must be brokered through an authorized dealer before completion. These include:
- Transferring a firearm to a gunsmith to repair the firearm.
- Those acting under orders from the court to sell a firearm to satisfy a judgment.
- Selling an antique, unloaded firearm or weapon to a licensed collector.
- Lending an unloaded firearm or weapon to be used as a prop for entertainment productions.
Penalties for Weapons Charges in California
The penalties for weapons charges in the State of California vary and are dependent on the particular circumstances of the charges. Weapons charges, may either be classified as a misdemeanor or felony. This determination is made by the District Attorney’s office, based upon the weapon, whether it was used, the actions of the defendant, as well as any previous weapons or other convictions the defendant has faced.
Misdemeanor charges for weapon crimes are punishable by a fine of up to $1,000, one year in county jail, or both. Felony weapons charges are punishable with sentences ranging from probation to 25 years to life.
Crimes in California involving weapons may also be subject to sentencing enhancements, which can add numerous years on to a sentence for certain crimes. These enhancements include up to 10 years for personal use of a firearm, 20 for firing a weapon in the commission of a felony, and 25 years to life for injuries or death resulting from the use of a firearm.
Contesting Weapons Charges
Contesting a weapons charge in California can be difficult. That’s why you need an experienced legal defense attorney on your side. Some of the most common defenses to weapons charges in the State of California are:
- Acting in self-defense.
- The firing of a weapon was accidental.
- Illegal search or seizure by law enforcement.
Seeking an Experienced Weapons Charges Attorney
If you are arrested and charged with a weapons offense in Los Angeles or Orange County, you need an experienced Southern California weapons attorney to fight for you. For over 25 years, the lawyers at Paladin Legal Defenders have provided their clients expert criminal defense legal services. Our team of knowledgeable and experienced criminal defense attorneys will relentlessly fight for your rights.
From the most complex of cases to the simplest of misdemeanors and infractions, Paladin has been providing creative, effective and innovative solutions for situations which are often deemed impossible to resolve. We know the California legal system, and we know what works and what doesn’t. We know what resources and experts are available to help resolve your case in a manner most favorable to you.
If you are facing a weapons charge, you need a law firm determined to stand up for you and your best interests. You need Paladin Legal Defenders. Call us today at (714) 536-9988 for a free consultation from one of our knowledgeable California defense attorneys.
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