Gun sales in California increased 250 percent over a recent decade. The more weapons there are in the state, the more opportunities that prosecutors have to charge owners with weapons crimes. In California, weapons offenses carry a wide range of penalties depending on what the defendant did with the weapon and their criminal intent.
Regardless, even a misdemeanor can mean a serious penalty. Misdemeanor weapons charges may be punished with a jail sentence of up to a year. Felony weapons charges can result in jail time of up to 20 years. If a weapons charge is added to another violent crime, it can add even more prison time to the sentence. Defendants who possess a gun when committing a felony can see an extra ten years added to their sentence.
California has some of the strictest gun laws in the country. Among those who are barred from owning a gun in the state are those who:
Beyond that, California is not a concealed carry state, meaning that people need permits to carry concealed weapons. It is also illegal to carry a loaded weapon in public. Some weapons possession crimes can even be charged as felonies.
The penalties are even steeper when the defendant has used the weapon in a crime. Even the misdemeanor crime of brandishing a weapon can mean a minimum of three months in prison.
There are ways to defend against weapons charges in California. You need a criminal defense attorney who understands how prosecutors investigate and charge these offenses.
First, your attorney can demonstrate that you did not actually break the law because you had a right to carry the firearm. You either did not fall into a prohibited class or had the permit to carry the
Weapons charges often depend on the physical evidence against you. This comes both in the form of the weapon itself and witness testimony. Your attorney can challenge the evidence against you as being illegally obtained without a proper warrant. One common successful defense is that police did not have probable cause to stop you and search you for a weapon.
They might also attack the credibility of the witnesses and present your own evidence that contradicts what they are saying.
Police may also be wrongfully charging you with an assault because your conduct did not meet the elements of the crime. Many times, your gun charge is an added criminal count that goes along with another alleged crime. However, you may not be guilty of that crime. For example, police could be adding a gun charge to the crime of burglary, but they cannot prove the underlying offense.
If you have been charged with a weapons offense, contact DeLimon Law for an initial consultation. Daniel DeLimon is an experienced former prosecutor with detailed knowledge of weapons charges. Call us at (951) 777-9104 or contact us online if you or a loved one faces weapons charges.