Gun Crime & Criminal Possession of a Weapon in California
An experienced gun crime attorney will help defend your rights and interests if charged with criminal possession of a weapon in California.
California state laws strictly regulate gun ownership and possession and provide heavy penalties for gun crimes.
Various weapons-related activities and situations are illegal in California, and as a gun owner in California, it is your responsibility to comply with these laws regardless of your actual awareness of them.
However, learning and understanding all the fine print surrounding gun laws requires years of education, training, and experience. If you or a loved one is facing a charge for a gun crime, engaging the services of a defense lawyer who is experienced in this area is crucial.
What is covered by gun crime defense?
Gun crime defense involves raising and proving all the justifying and/or mitigating circumstances appropriate to your situation in court. Examples of justifying circumstances are:
- Self defense
- Defense of another person
- Defense of property
For instance, a person being assaulted may legally use force, even lethal force, to defend himself from attack. To avail of this defense, your lawyer must show that certain elements of self-defense are present in your situation to justify the use of a weapon. Similarly, you may be justified in using a firearm when you resisted an intruder’s entry into your home if you have reason to believe that the intruder intends to harm anyone in your home.
Mitigating circumstances are special factors that can reduce your sentence for a gun crime. These include:
- Temporary emotional distress
- Lack of criminal record
- Relative necessity
Expungement: A court process for the purpose of sealing a previous conviction and putting it away from public eyes may be used as a gun crime defense strategy in a charge of “Ex-Felon Possession of a Firearm”.
If you have a past conviction for a minor offense and a police search reveals a gun in your possession, you may be charged with “Ex-Felon with a firearm, or other weapon.” Expungement, as a defense strategy, may help you fight a conviction for this gun crime.
Exceptions to the rule: Some gun crime laws provide certain exceptions. Your lawyer can assess your situation and determine whether your case falls squarely on any of the gun crime exceptions.
Are there any specific laws that will help my defense?
United States Constitution
The Fourth Amendment provides a protection against unreasonable searches and seizures, particularly:
“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
The protection afforded by the US Constitution can be used as a defense in the gun crime of carrying a loaded firearm in a vehicle or concealed on your person.
An important rule of evidence prohibits the use of any evidence obtained during an illegal search or seizure in court. Defense counsel may apply for a ‘Motion to Suppress Evidence’ for being the product of an illegal search or seizure under Penal Code section 1538.5.
Specific exceptions by law
Penal Code Sec.25630 and 25640 provide occupational exceptions to the prohibition from carrying a concealed weapon. Penal Code sections 26015 and 26030 as well provide occupational exceptions to the prohibition from carrying a loaded firearm in public.
Other gun crime defenses may be found in provisions of law and case law.
How can an attorney help me with my gun crime charges?
As an accused charged with a gun crime, you have the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty in court. And the burden of proving your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt is on the prosecution.
Your criminal defense attorney can study your all angles of your case, assess the weight of evidence against you and determine any available defenses in your favor. Depending on the weight of the evidence against you, your attorney will formulate the ideal strategy for your case.
In San Fernando Valley, California, finding a defense lawyer is easy. However, finding an experienced attorney can be more difficult. SFVBA Attorney Referral Service has a network of highly skilled and experienced attorneys from which you can choose. Contact us at 818-340-4529.