Common Weapons Cases We Handle
We have represented clients facing weapons charges of all kinds. In particular, we have extensive experience handling the following cases:
- Aggravated assault with a deadly weapon – California Penal Code 245(a)(1)
- Assault with a weapon – California Penal Code 245(a)(2)
- Brandishing a firearm – California Penal Code 417
- Carrying a concealed and/or loaded handgun – California Penal Code 25400
- Dealing in assault weapons without a license – California Penal Code 26500
- Illegal discharge of firearms – California Penal Code 246.3.
- Improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle – California Penal Code 25850
- Making false statements to obtain firearms – California Penal Code 115
- Manufacture or possession of destructive devices – California Penal Code 18720
- Transfer of large-capacity magazines – California Penal Code 32310
- Use of firearms in a restricted area or for self-defense – California Penal Code 171.7
- Possession of grenade launchers, grenades, machine guns, multi-burst trigger activators, shotguns and short-barreled rifles, silencers, etc.– California Penal Code 18710
- Possession of prohibited weapons such as billy clubs, switchblade knives, and brass knuckles – California Penal Code 16590
- Possession of unregistered firearms or assault weapons – California Penal Code 12031 and 25850
- Possession of a weapon by a convicted felon – California Penal Code 29800
Levels of Weapons Charges in California
In California, some gun crimes are charged as misdemeanors and others are charged as felonies. If the crime is considered a “wobbler” offense, it may be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the nature of the crime.
There are also certain aggravating factors known as “gun enhancements” that may increase the sentence of a gun crime considerably.
Most lower-level gun crimes are considered misdemeanors. These crimes generally involve instances of illegal gun use or ownership in which the gun is not used to commit a more serious offense, such as murder.
Examples of misdemeanor gun crimes include:
- Illegal concealed carry ─ California Penal Code 29800 (This is generally charged as a misdemeanor, but it may be charged as a felony if the offender has a previous felony gun conviction, the gun was stolen or illegally possessed, or the offender was a gang member.)
- Carrying a loaded firearm ─ California Penal Code 25850
- Brandishing a weapon ─ California Penal Code 417
- Selling firearms without a license ─ California Penal Code 26500
Examples of felony gun crimes include:
- Shooting at inhabited or occupied buildings or vehicles ─ California Penal Code 246
- Assault with a firearm ─ California Penal Code 245
- Possession of destructive device materials ─ California Penal 18720
- Drive-by shooting ─ California Penal Code 26100
California punishes crimes more harshly if the perpetrator was in possession of a firearm while committing the crime.
Under California Penal Code 12022 and 12022.5, offenders may have between 1 and 10 years added to their prison sentence if a gun was used to commit the underlying the crime.
For example, if you commit murder, rape, robbery, or kidnapping and have a gun in your possession, you may face up to 10 more years in prison than if no gun was involved. If you had a gun and fired it, you may face up to 20 more years in prison. If the bullet struck and seriously injured or killed someone, you may get an additional 25 years added to your sentence.
Contact Justin Now
Common Defenses to Gun Charges
An experienced Encino gun defense lawyer may consider a variety of strategies to undermine the prosecution’s case:
- The gun isn’t yours: Some gun charges, such as possession, depend on the gun actually belonging to you. For example, if gun the was found in your car, your attorney may be able to argue that it belonged to a previous passenger.
- Fourth Amendment: We are protected from unlawful searches and seizures by the Fourth Amendment. The police are only allowed to search your person or vehicle in certain circumstances (i.e., they have a warrant). If the gun was discovered during an illegal search, certain evidence or the entire case may be dismissed.
- Self-defense: Shooting a gun may be justified if the shooter had a reasonable fear of death or bodily harm.
- Police entrapment: The police cannot force, coerce, or harass you into committing a crime. This is known as “entrapment” and can lead to the case being dismissed.
- Accidental discharge: Some gun crimes require the intentional shooting of the weapon. Your attorney may argue that you accidentally discharged the weapon.
After an arrest, the sooner you speak with an attorney, the better. There are many opportunities early on to begin building a strong defense.
Who Is Prevented from Owning a Firearm in California?
Most people in California who are 21 or older may own a firearm. However, the state carves out exceptions to the right of gun ownership on public safety grounds, including:
- Convicted felons
- Narcotics addicts
- People with two or more convictions under California Penal Code 417
- People who suffer from mental illness
- People under 18
- People convicted of certain misdemeanor offenses