Individuals in California must follow strict regulations regarding the use of firearms. Most residents of the state are, for example, not allowed to carry a loaded firearm in public. Breaking this rule can result in criminal charges under California Penal Code Section 25850: Carrying a Loaded Firearm.
You can learn more about California’s laws related to the use of firearms right here with the Simmrin Law Group. Use this article to review:
- Exceptions to PC 25850 charges
- The definition of carrying a loaded firearm
- Penalties for a PC 25850 conviction
- Legal defenses for carrying a loaded firearm
Carrying a Loaded Firearm: The Legal Definition
Individuals can be prosecuted under PC 25850 if they carry a loaded firearm:
- On their person
- In their vehicle
PC 25850 charges should only apply if the firearm is carried in a public place or on a public street. Let’s focus on defining all parts of this explanation for the sake of clarity.
California’s Definition of Firearms
The state of California considers a firearm to be any device that expels a projectile through a barrel with the use of combustion or an explosion. Pistols, revolvers, rifles, and shotguns are all examples of firearms. However, BB guns and pellet guns are not considered firearms.
California’s Definition of a Loaded Weapon
A firearm is considered loaded if it contains shells or cartridges that are not expended. If a magazine or a clip containing ammunition is attached to the firearm in any way, it will be considered loaded. Note that a weapon may be considered loaded even if it is otherwise inoperable.
Carrying a Loaded Firearm: Exceptions
There are several exceptions to California’s laws on carrying a loaded firearm in public. All of the following individuals are legally permitted to carry a loaded firearm while in public:
- Individuals with a concealed carry permit
- Individuals with Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) certification
- Individuals who are recreational shooters
- Individuals who are in the military
- Individuals who work as peace officers or federal agents
- Individuals who act as private investigators, security guards, or armored vehicle guards
Residents of California may also have a loaded firearm in their home or business if they own the property. However, these individuals are not legally allowed to carry the loaded firearm unless they require it immediately for self-defense.
Carrying a Loaded Firearm: Legal Penalties
Carrying a loaded firearm may be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or a felony. A misdemeanor conviction could result in:
- Fines of up to $1,000
- Jail time of up to one year
A felony conviction for carrying a loaded firearm could result in:
- Fines of up to $10,000
- Prison time of up to three years
Note that individuals are more likely to be charged with a felony if they:
- Were caught with a stolen firearm
- Were in unlawful possession of a firearm
- Were legally forbidden from owning a firearm
- Were previously convicted of a previous crime involving a firearm
- Were previously convicted of a felony
- Were a member of a street gang
Carrying a Loaded Firearm: Similar Charges
California’s court system uses a number of other charges to prosecuted individuals for firearm offenses. These charges can include:
- California Penal Code Section 25400: Carrying a Concealed Firearm
- California Penal Code Section 26350: Openly Carrying An Unloaded Handgun
- California Penal Code Section 26500: Selling Firearms Without A License
- California Penal Code Section 29800: Felon In Possession Of A Firearm
Carrying a Loaded Firearm: Legal Defenses
You can get help building a defense for carrying a loaded firearm charge by reaching out to a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles. A legal professional could be able to get your charges reduced or dismissed by working to show that:
You Did Not Know You Were Carrying a Firearm
You must knowingly carry a firearm to be charged under PC 25850. If you were given possession of a firearm without realizing what had happened, you could avoid a conviction under PC 25850.
You Were Legally Allowed to Carry a Loaded Firearm
As we mentioned earlier, there are a number of people who are legally allowed to carry a loaded firearm in California. If you are a member of one of the groups exempted from PC 25850 charges, let your lawyer know as quickly as possible.
Speak with a Lawyer About Carrying a Loaded Firearm Charges
You should get help quickly if you are charged under California Penal Code Section 25850: Carrying a Loaded Firearm. The team at the Simmrin Law Group is standing by to help you. Call us at (310) 997-4688, or complete our online contact form to learn more.
Our criminal defense lawyers in Los Angeles can provide you with a FREE initial case evaluation now.