What are the Penalties for a Weapons Charge in California?
Depending on the circumstances surrounding your specific case, a weapons charge can be considered either a misdemeanor or a felony. A judge determines whether a weapons charge is a felony or misdemeanor charge depending on the kind of weapon involved, the defendant’s intent with the weapon and the presence on your record of any prior criminal offenses.
In addition, a number of sentence enhancements (these make your potential sentence longer) may apply. The following are guidelines to the penalties that could apply to weapons charges under the California Penal Code (PC).
Misdemeanor weapons charges are punishable by up to 1 year in county jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000.
Felony weapons charges are punishable by 1 to 20 years in California prison. The circumstances surrounding the activity, the type of offense and prior criminal records are factored to determine the sentence length.
Weapons offenses may also be subject to a California sentencing enhancement which can add years to a sentence. California’s “use a gun and you’re done” law attaches years to sentences for offenses involving any of nineteen serious felonies, including sex crimes and murder. For example, the law can attach up to 10 years in prison for gun possession, 20 years for firing a weapon, and 25 years to life for gun use resulting in serious injury or death – in addition to the sentence assigned for the serious felony charge.
The nuances and specifics of California gun laws demonstrate the critical role that an experienced weapons charge defense lawyer plays in protecting your rights and defending your freedom. Our meticulous preparation and thorough investigation and aggressive proactive defense strategies are often the difference between a non-guilty verdict, or dismissal or a horrific outcome involving substantial prison time.
Ensure your rights and future opportunities are protected from the penalties that come with a weapons-related conviction.
We are available 24/7 and can quickly meet you in jail or at your location. Start your defense on the right track from the very first step.
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What are the Strategies for Defending a Weapons Charge?
A guilty finding for a weapons charge can impact an individual for the rest of their life. Some charges count in California’s Three Strikes Law. Most convictions will end up on your criminal record, resurfacing in criminal background checks required for employment, loan and residence applications.
If you’ve been arrested for a weapons offense in the state of California, a number of defenses may be available to you. Some of the available defenses your attorney may consider include:
- Self-defense or the defense of others: If you reasonably believe that you or another person are in imminent danger of being killed, suffering great bodily injury, or being the victim of some other forcible crime, you may take reasonably necessary measures to defend yourself or others, including the use of deadly force. Many people call this Standing Your Ground, and it is a viable defense in California.
- Accidental Firing of a Weapon: If you had no criminal intent to fire the weapon, were not acting negligently and were otherwise engaged in lawful activity at the time of the weapon firing, accidental firing can serve as a valid legal defense.
- Non-Ownership of a Weapon in Possession: If you had no knowledge of the weapon’s presence on your person or in your vehicle, you do not have actual possession.
- Illegal search and seizure: If the police gathered evidence during the search of your person, vehicle, or other property in an unconstitutional manner, or if police used an improperly created search warrant or searched areas outside the scope of the search warrant, the evidence may be suppressed and will not be eligible for use against you in court.
- Police misconduct or entrapment: If the police engage in inappropriate or illegal actions or use false arrest, intimidation, brutality, racial profiling or other abuses of power, or if a police officer induces a person to commit a criminal offense that the person would have otherwise been unlikely to commit, charges may be dismissed, convictions reversed, or sentences reduced.
- Prosecutorial misconduct: If the prosecutor attempts to sway the jury to wrongly convict a defendant or to impose a harsher than appropriate punishment, charges may be dismissed, convictions reversed, or sentences reduced.
California criminal defense attorneys at Tully & Weiss Law Firm will examine the details of your case and the prosecution’s case against you in order to build a customized, comprehensive defense strategy. We then aggressively and proactively pursue your best defense.
Where in the Process Should I Contact an Attorney?
If you or someone you know is arrested for a weapons-related offense, the first thing you need to do is contact an experienced weapons charge defense attorney. You have a limited amount of time to prepare your case, and police, prosecutors and investigators are already deeply involved in preparing a case against you.
Located in Contra Costa, California, Tully & Weiss weapons charge defense attorneys provide counsel in Alameda County, Santa Clara, and throughout the state.
If you have been arrested for a gun-related offense, contact Tully & Weiss Law Firm today.
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