If you have been charged with a weapons offense or gun crime in California, you should know your rights under the law. It is also important to begin working on your defense with a an experienced San Diego firearms attorney.
While it is lawful for many different types of people to possess or own guns in California, there are many different restrictions on gun possession and ownership. California laws also restrict where a person may be able to carry a firearm, and some weapons are prohibited altogether even if you are allowed to carry a gun.
When you are facing the possibility of a gun crime conviction, do not wait to reach out to a criminal defense attorney. Mr. Armstrong has served clients in more than 85 jury trials and has more than two decades of legal experience. Mr. Armstrong and his associates have been featured in numerous news sources, and the firm has helped to clear the names of many different clients.
We are here to get started on your defense today.
Types of Gun Crime Cases We Handle
At the Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, APLC, we handle many different types of defenses for gun crimes and weapons offense charges, including but not limited to:
- Possession of a firearm, or felon in possession;
- Carrying a loaded firearm in public;
- Possession of a firearm on school grounds;
- Possession of a firearm in a government building;
- Possession of a firearm in a public transit facility;
- Possession or owning a prohibited type of weapon, including assault weapons;
- Brandishing a weapon;
- Assault with a firearm or other weapon;
- Grossly negligent discharge of a firearm; and
- Concealed carry violation.
Persons Who Cannot Possess Firearms Under California Law
Under California law, some people are prohibited from possessing a firearm at all, including but not limited to the following:
- Anyone who has been convicted of a felony offense in any jurisdiction;
- Anyone who is addicted to narcotics;
- Anyone who has two or more convictions for brandishing a firearm;
- Anyone convicted of certain types of misdemeanor offenses, such as crimes involving violence or threats;
- Anyone suffering from mental illness who has been placed on a lifetime gun ban; and
- Anyone under the age of 21;
- Anyone subject to a valid and current restraining order
People who have been convicted of particular crimes also are required to relinquish firearms. Anyone who is prohibited from possession or owning a gun under California law is also prohibited from owning any ammunition. It is important to know that some federal laws also prohibit certain people from owning or possessing a gun, and that you can be charged with federal weapons offenses in San Diego in addition to California state law offenses.
Even if you are allowed to possess or own a gun in California, that fact alone does not mean that you necessarily can have a concealed firearm. To carry a concealed firearm, you must obtain a permit. If you do not have a permit and carry a concealed firearm, you can be charged with a firearms offenses under California law.
Gun Laws in Specific California Places
Even if you are lawfully permitted to own, possess, or carry a firearm, that does not mean that you are allowed to carry or show a weapon in any public place. In general, California law prohibits most people from carrying firearms or deadly weapons in any of the following places:
- School grounds;
- Government buildings;
- Airports; and
- Public transit facilities.
Laws Against Using or Discharging a Firearm in San Diego, California
Section 417 of the California Penal Code makes “brandishing a firearm” illegal in the state. Generally speaking, brandishing a firearm is defined as drawing or exhibiting any deadly weapon in a rude, angry, or threatening manner in the presence of another person unless it is in self-defense.
This crime becomes more serious if it occurs in a public place, and if the offense involves a firearm that could be concealed.
Penalties for Firearms Possession or Use Under California Law
Many firearms offenses and weapons charges are felony offenses under California law. Felony sentencing typically has three levels: a low, middle, and upper sentencing level. Examples of penalties for felony weapons offenses may include:
- Felon in possession of a firearm: up to three years in prison and/or fine of up to $10,000; or
- Possession of a firearm within 10 years of a misdemeanor conviction: up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $1,000.
If you are convicted of carrying a concealed firearm, as long as there are no aggravating offenses, the crime likely will be charged as a misdemeanor under California law. Yet even a misdemeanor offense for carrying a concealed firearm—when you are otherwise permitted to own or carry a firearm—can result in serious penalties, including:
- Up to one year in jail; and/or
- Fine of up to $1,000.
Many weapons are “wobbler” offenses, meaning that they can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony offense depending upon the specific facts of the case and the defendant’s criminal history. An example includes brandishing a firearm:
- As a misdemeanor offense, it can result in up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000; or
- As a felony offense, it can result in a term of imprisonment of up to three years.
Contact an Experienced and Caring Firearms Defense Lawyer in San Diego
Firearms offenses are taken extremely seriously in California, and you should never attempt to handle your defense on your own. Many people in San Diego are charged with weapons offenses without even realizing that they were committing a crime or violating a specific California law pertaining to firearms.
If you are convicted of a firearms offense in the state, you can end up with a criminal record that may include a felony conviction. Having a criminal record has consequences that can follow you long after you have served a sentence, preventing you from getting a certain job, being approved for a specific home rental or apartment, and even being able to obtain credit.
Our firm has a strong reputation for providing caring and compassionate defense strategies for clients. Our results, experience, and press speak for themselves.
To learn more about how we can assist with your defense, do not hesitate to get in touch with a San Diego firearms defense attorney at our firm today. Contact the Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, APLC, for more information.