Carrying a Concealed Weapon

The State of California has very complicated and confusing concealed weapon and illegal possession of firearms laws.

These laws regulate the ownership, use and carrying of weapons depending on either the type of weapon or the kind of person involved. Some types of weapons are allowed while others are considered unlawful. Certain people are not allowed to have an otherwise legal firearm including convicted felons, mental patients and people subject to a restraining order or protective order. Persons accused of domestic violence who are under a restraining order or a protective order are generally required to get rid of any and all legally owned weapons until after the case is resolved. There are laws that increase the penalties for certain crimes if weapons were used during the commission of the crime. The circumstances surrounding weapons charges can have a big impact on your case.

The type of charge will depend on the type of conduct which can include but is not limited to the following: Illegal possession of a firearm, carrying concealed weapons, unlicensed use of firearms, unlawful possession of firearms by minors or felons, unlawful discharge of a firearm, unlawful sale of weapons, carrying a loaded firearm or illegal dealing of firearms.

Some Common weapons related criminal charges in California

are P.C. 417, 12025, 12280-12282 and 12031: 

BRANDISHING A WEAPON charge - Penal Code Section 417 or P.C. 417 states in part- (a) (1) Every person who, except in self-defense, in the presence of any other person, draws or exhibits any deadly weapon whatsoever, other than a firearm, in a rude, angry, or threatening manner, or who in any manner, unlawfully uses a deadly weapon other than a firearm in any fight or quarrel is guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for not less than 30 days.

(2) Every person who, except in self-defense, in the presence of any other person, draws or exhibits any firearm, whether loaded or unloaded, in a rude, angry, or threatening manner, or who in any manner, unlawfully uses a firearm in any fight or quarrel is punishable as follows: (A) If the violation occurs in a public place and the firearm is a pistol, revolver, or other firearm capable of being concealed upon the person, by imprisonment in a county jail for not less than three months and not more than one year, by a fine not to exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both that fine and imprisonment. (B) In all cases other than that set forth in subparagraph (A), a misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for not less than three months.

In essence, there is a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 days or 3 months in county jail for Brandishing a weapon, the punishment varies depending on where the incident happened, it goes up if the firearm is brandished in public, or in the presence of a police officer. The punishment also varies if the weapon used is concealable or not. An experienced attorney can negotiate a disposition to keep you out of jail! Even when the specific charge you are facing has a mandatory minimum sentence to jail, an attorney who is familiar with your local Court can work out a plea bargain to keep you out of jail.

CARRYING A CONCEALED WEAPON charge - Penal Code Section 12025 or P.C. 12025 states in part - (a) A person is guilty of carrying a concealed firearm when he or she does any of the following: (1) Carries concealed within any vehicle which is under his or her control or direction any pistol, revolver, or other firearm capable of being concealed upon the person. (2) Carries concealed upon his or her person any pistol, revolver, or other firearm capable of being concealed upon the person. (3) Causes to be carried concealed within any vehicle in which he or she is an occupant any pistol, revolver, or other firearm capable of being concealed upon the person.

Carrying a Concealed Weapon can be charged as a MISDEMEANOR or a FELONY. Generally, a misdemeanor conviction can carry a jail sentence of up to 1 year in county jail. Carrying a concealed weapon allegation is generally charged as a felony if the person accused has a prior felony charge on his/her record, if he/she knew or had reason to know that the weapon was stolen, or he/she is an active participant in a criminal street gang as defined in subdivision (a) of Section 186.22, under the Street Terrorism Enforcement and Prevention Act (Chapter 11(commencing with Section 186.20) of Title 7 of Part 1). A felony charge carries a potential sentence of up the 3 years in State Prison.

To be convicted of carrying a concealed weapon requires that the person conceal the weapon in his/her vehicle or on their person. The weapon must also be within the immediate possession of the person where they can reach for it easily. Thus, if the weapon is in the trunk then the District Attorney would be unable to convict the person under this law. In addition if the weapon is in plain view or rather visible to others, such as being on the seat of the vehicle, then it is not concealed because it is out in the open.

In fact, if the weapon is carried on a holster on the person’s hip they cannot be convicted of carrying a concealed weapon because the weapon can easily be seen.

Despite the potential jail sentences it is rare for one of our clients to go to jail for this sort of an offense even if they are guilty!

CARRYING A LOADED FIREARM charge- Penal Code Section 12031 states in part: (a) (1) A person is guilty of carrying a loaded firearm when he or she carries a loaded firearm on his or her person or in a vehicle while in any public place or on any public street in an incorporated city or in any public place or on any public street in a prohibited area of unincorporated territory.

A critical issue in firearm cases is the person’s ability to reach for the weapon. A carrying a loaded firearm charge can be a MISDEMEANOR or a FELONY. A misdemeanor charge carries a maximum of one year in county jail as punishment. Carrying a loaded firearm is generally charged as a felony if the person accused has a prior felony charge on his/her record, if he/she knew or had reason to know that the weapon was stolen, or he/she is an active participant in a criminal street gang as defined in subdivision (a) of Section 186.22, under the Street Terrorism Enforcement and Prevention Act (Chapter 11(commencing with Section 186.20) of Title 7 of Part 1). A felony charge carries a potential sentence of up the 3 years in State Prison.

POSSESSION OF A FIREARM charge is goverened by Penal Code Sections 12280 -12282.

Penal Code Section 12280 states in part: (a) (1) Any person who, within this state, manufactures or causes to be manufactured, distributes, transports, or imports into the state, keeps for sale, or offers or exposes for sale, or who gives or lends any assault weapon or any .50 BMG rifle, except as provided by this chapter, is guilty of a felony, and upon conviction shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for four, six, or eight years. (2) In addition and consecutive to the punishment imposed under paragraph (1), any person who transfers, lends, sells, or gives any assault weapon or any .50 BMG rifle to a minor in violation of paragraph (1) shall receive an enhancement of one year. (3) Except in the case of a first violation involving not more than two firearms as provided in subdivisions (b) and (c), for purposes of this section, if more than one assault weapon or .50 BMG rifle is involved in any violation of this section, there shall be a distinct and separate offense for each.

(b) Any person who, within this state, possesses any assault weapon, except as provided in this chapter, shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail for a period not exceeding one year, or by imprisonment in the state prison. However, a first violation of these provisions is punishable by a fine not exceeding five hundred dollars ($500) if the person was found in possession of no more than two firearms in compliance with subdivision (c) of Section 12285 and the person meets all of the following conditions: (1) The person proves that he or she lawfully possessed the assault weapon prior to the date it was defined as an assault weapon pursuant to Section 12276, 12276.1, or 12276.5. (2) The person has not previously been convicted of a violation of this section. (3) The person was found to be in possession of the assault weapon within one year following the end of the one-year registration period established pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 12285. (4) The person relinquished the firearm pursuant to Section 12288, in which case the assault weapon shall be destroyed pursuant to Section 12028.

(c) Any person who, within this state, possesses any .50 BMG rifle, except as provided in this chapter, shall be punished by a fine of one thousand dollars ($1,000), imprisonment in a county jail for a period not to exceed one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment. However, a first violation of these provisions is punishable by a fine not exceeding five hundred dollars ($500) if the person was found in possession of no more than two firearms in compliance with subdivision (a) of Section 12285 and the person meets the conditions set forth in paragraphs (1), (2), and (3): (1) The person proves that he or she lawfully possessed the .50 BMG rifle prior to January 1, 2005.  (2) The person has not previously been convicted of a violation of this section. (3) The person was found to be in possession of the .50 BMG rifle within one year following the end of the .50 BMG rifle registration period established pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 12285.

Penal Code Section 12281 states in part: (a) Any person who, or firm, company, or corporation that, operated a retail or other commercial firm, company, or corporation, and manufactured, distributed, transported, imported, possessed, possessed for sale, offered for sale, or transferred, for commercial purpose, an SKS rifle in California between January 1, 1992, and December 19, 1997, shall be immune from criminal prosecution under Section 12280. 

This section sets forth many other exceptions to criminal prosecution under Penal Code Section 12280 in the form or granting immunity to certain groups of people the discussion of which is beyond the scope of this web site. Should you have any questions regarding weapons related charges in Los Angeles or Orange County, contact our office immediately.

Penal Code Section 12282 states in part: (a) Except as provided in Section 12280, possession of any assault weapon, as defined in Section 12276, 12276.1, or 12276.5, or of any .50 BMG rifle, as defined in Section 12278, in violation of this chapter is a public nuisance, solely for purposes of this section and subdivision (d) of Section 12028. The Attorney General, any district attorney, or any city attorney, may, in lieu of criminal prosecution, bring a civil action or reach a civil compromise in any superior court to enjoin the possession of the assault weapon or .50 BMG rifle that is a public nuisance.

Because of the very complex nature of firearms laws in California, a person accused of any weapons related charge should immediately contact a weapons violation attorney who is familiar with the nuances of the complicated gun laws in our state.

Contact the attorneys who can make a difference in YOUR case. If you, a friend or a loved one is charged with carrying a concealed weapons charge in Los Angeles county, or is being investigated for criminal charges in Los Angeles, don’t hesitate, pick up the phone and call our office immediately, your call is FREE! 

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