California Weapons Charges
The right to own and bear firearms is guaranteed in the United States Constitution. However, gun laws are in place to regulate how, when, and where we can use firearms lawfully. California laws that govern weapons are numerous and complex. One can easily be confused about what is legal and what is not but below is a general overview of California’s weapons laws and potential charges under California’s Penal Code.
- Illegally carrying a concealed weapon (PC 25400) – This involves carrying a concealed weapon on yourself or in your automobile without a valid concealed permit. This doesn’t apply in cases where the gun was unloaded and locked in a container or the trunk of a car. It also doesn’t apply to “non-concealable” firearms like a shotgun
- Carrying a loaded gun in public (PC 25850) – In California, it is also a crime to carry a gun on yourself or your vehicle if there is a bullet in the firing chamber or magazine. The gun would still be considered loaded even if it is non-functional.
- Openly carrying an unloaded firearm (PC 26350) – This statute makes it illegal to openly carry a firearm, whether it is loaded or not, in a public place or on the street.
- Brandishing a deadly weapon (PC 417) – If you draw or flash your weapon in a rude or threatening manner, you are guilty of brandishing a deadly weapon. The same rules apply to brandishing a firearm, but the penalties vary slightly in that brandishing a firearm can lead to a much longer jail term than any other weapon.
- Negligent discharge of a firearm (PC 246.3) – Under PC 246.3, it is a crime to discharge a firearm negligently, in a manner that is likely to cause injury or a fatality. A prosecutor must prove that the discharge was willful and the level of discharge can be gross or ordinary.
- Assault with a deadly weapon (PC 245(a)) – Under California’s assault laws, assault with a firearm is is one among other factors that can aggravate an assault charge. The penalties for violating PC 245(a) vary in part on the type of firearm used. If the weapon used was a machine gun or a semi-automatic, PC 245(a) is punishable by up to 12 years in state prison. Assault with all other firearms is a wobbler that can be penalized with a maximum of 1 year in jail or 2-4 years in state prison for a felony conviction.
Clearly, being charged for a weapons offense in California is a very serious matter. In most cases, weapons crimes are wobbler offenses which means they can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the case’s circumstances and the defendant’s criminal history.
Felony weapons charges are much more severe and are punishable by up to 20 years in state prison. Besides this, the presence of certain aggravating factors like using a firearm to commit a felony or a sex crime can lead to longer incarceration, including life-long imprisonment.
If you or your loved one is facing any weapons charges, contact a defense attorney immediately. Saros Law APC stands ready to assist you using her extensive experience in the field. Call us today at (310) 341-3466 and schedule your first consultation with our team.