The Constitution guarantees citizens the right to bear arms. However, this right is not without restrictions. The state of California uses California Penal Code 25400: Carrying a Concealed Firearm to keep the public safe without violating anyone’s constitutional rights.
The legal professionals at the Simmrin Law Group have experience fighting for clients who face a potential conviction under PC 25400. We can review your case and provide you with guidance regarding the potential penalties you will face, as well as the possible defenses we can use.
Defining the Carrying of a Concealed Firearm
Individuals in the state of California can be charged with carrying a concealed firearm for carrying a pistol, revolver, or other firearms. According to PC 25400, firearms may not be concealed on a person or within their vehicle. PC 25400 charges can apply to any firearm, including weapons that are not in working order.
Certain weapons like pellet guns and BB guns are not included in this law because these weapons rely on air pressure rather than combustion, which means they do not qualify as firearms.
A firearm carried in a holster but not covered is not considered concealed. However, while transporting a weapon in this manner may not result in a charge under PC 25400, there are other charges you could face for taking this action.
Charges Related to Concealed Carry
Carrying either a loaded or an unloaded firearm while in public can result in criminal charges under:
- PC 417: Brandishing a Weapon or Firearm
- PC 25850: Carrying a Loaded Firearm
- PC 26350: Openly Carrying an Unloaded Handgun
While the right to own a gun in California is quite broad, the right to carry a weapon in public is limited to certain situations.
Exceptions to California’s Laws on Carrying Firearms
Individuals in California have the legal right to apply for a concealed carry permit (CCP). CCPs can only be distributed by sheriffs in the state of California. These permits are only supposed to be issued to individuals who have “good cause” for needing to carry a concealed weapon.
The California court system considers some people exempt from PC 25400 charges. The following individuals may be able to avoid charges for carrying a concealed firearm:
- Members of the military or peace officers
- Bank messengers and guards
- Licensed hunters, fishers, and firearm dealers
- Those with memberships to target shooting clubs or similar organizations
Gun owners in California who need to transport their firearms may do so by storing the weapon in the trunk of their automobile or a locked container inside the cab of their vehicle. However, a locked glove box does not qualify.
Individuals may only legally transport firearms if they are the legal owner of the gun or were given permission by the legal owner of the weapon.
Penalties for Carrying a Concealed Firearm in California
Penalties for a violation of PC 25400 depend on how the crime gets charged. California law considers this crime a “wobbler,” which means it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. How the crime is charged is up to the discretion of the prosecutor and depends on the specifics of the case and your criminal history.
The penalties for a misdemeanor conviction are less severe than those of a felony conviction. However, this does not mean that you will get off lightly. If convicted of a misdemeanor charge, you could face:
- Fines of up to $1,000
- Jail time of up to one year
- Summary probation
Many things can get a California PC 25400 charge bumped up to a felony. Possible reasons an individual might face a felony charge are if they:
- Were previously convicted of another firearm offense or a felony
- Were not allowed to possess a firearm due to California’s felon with a firearm law
- Were not allowed to have a gun due to a previous violent offense
- Were not lawfully in possession of a firearm
- Were in possession of a stolen firearm
- Were considered active gang participants
A felony conviction is quite serious and can result in:
- Fines of up to $10,000
- Prison time of up to three years
- Formal probation
Other Consequences of a Conviction Under PC 25400
There are many other potential consequences that you could face if you are convicted under California PC 25400, depending on the particulars of your situation.
Unless you are a citizen of the United States, a conviction under PC 25400 could result in your deportation. Deportation can occur even if you are a legal resident.
Loss of Gun Rights
A conviction under PC 25400 could result in the loss of your right to possess a firearm. If charged with a misdemeanor offense, your gun ownership rights will probably not be affected. However, if you are convicted of a felony, it will likely mean a lifetime ban on gun ownership. It may be possible to have the ban overturned, but that is a difficult task.
Defenses Against PC 25400 Allegations
A criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles can help if you are being accused of carrying a concealed firearm. Many potential arguments can be used to fight this charge. Your attorney will discuss which approach is best for your situation. Some of the most common defenses used are:
- No knowledge of having the firearm
- Proper storage of the firearm
- Whether you had a concealed carry permit
- Whether the weapon was in your home or business
No Knowledge of Having the Firearm
You may have been carrying a concealed firearm without even knowing it. You may have been holding another person’s bag or driving a friend’s car, unaware that they had a gun. It is also possible that another person put a gun in your bag or car without your knowledge.
If you were unaware of the presence of the firearm, you may not be guilty of a violation of PC 25400.
The Firearm Was Properly Stored
If you had the firearm safely and properly locked in your trunk or a lockbox in the cab of your vehicle, you may not be guilty of carrying a concealed firearm.
Having a Concealed Carry Permit
You may be able to avoid a conviction under PC 25400 by proving that you had a valid CCP at the time of the charge. If you were legally allowed to carry the weapon, it is not a violation to do so.
Whether the Weapon Was in Your Home or Business
Many people are allowed to carry a firearm within their homes or businesses. If you were at your home or a business that you own at the time you were accused of the violation, your lawyer may be able to help you beat this charge. There is nothing illegal about having a gun at home or your own business.
You can get the help you need to build a strong defense by working with a legal professional in California.
Can a Conviction Under PC 25400 Be Expunged?
If you receive probation for a PC 25400 violation, it is possible to have your record expunged upon the successful completion of the probationary period or even to possibly have your probation terminated early. However, a judge can deny your request for expungement if you commit a probation violation.
Expunging your record of a conviction has its benefits. However, there are also limitations. For example, expungement will not restore your rights to own or possess a firearm if they were revoked as a result of your conviction.
Expungement can help you to move on after a conviction in a variety of ways. One of the most important is that your conviction will not be disclosed to potential employers or a rental company when attempting to secure housing. These are two areas where those with criminal records typically have the most trouble after a conviction.
Call a Lawyer for Help With the Charge of Carrying a Concealed Firearm
The professionals at the Simmrin Law Group can help you if you are accused of violating California Penal Code 25400: Carrying a Concealed Firearm. Simply give us a call or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with a member of our legal team.