California makes it a crime to carry a loaded firearm in public or your vehicle. Anyone who violates this rule can face jail time. This is true even if it’s a first offense and you own the gun legally. In some cases, it can even become a felony and carry lifelong consequences. Don’t let this happen.
You need to talk to the Simmrin Law Group’s carrying a loaded firearm in public defense lawyers in Los Angeles. Defending these cases is our job, and we always take the side of the accused. Our criminal defense lawyers in Los Angeles have the experience and knowledge to win, and we will fight for you as if a member of our own family were facing the charges.
What’s the Legal Definition of Carrying a Loaded Firearm in Public?
The law is set forward by California Penal Code Section 25850. This statute makes it illegal to carry any loaded firearm in a public place or on a public street in an incorporated area (or certain unincorporated areas).
Under the law, “firearms” include any weapon that uses an explosive propellant. This can include:
- Revolvers and handguns
- Antique guns
Not included under this law are any air-propelled weapons. These include BB guns, pellet guns, or paintball guns.
For a free legal consultation with a carrying a loaded firearm in public defense lawyer serving Los Angeles, call (310) 896-2723
What Counts As a “Loaded” Firearm?
Loaded can mean two things. It can mean that there’s a bullet or cartridge actually loaded in the chamber and ready to fire. It can also mean that there are bullets in the gun, in a clip, magazine, etc. (even if nothing is in the chamber).
This definition applies to modern guns. For antique firearms, “loaded” means that the gun is capped or primed and that there is powder and a ball or shot in the muzzle/chamber.
Importantly, a gun does not have to be operable to be “loaded.” Prosecutors will pursue loaded firearm charges even if the weapon had a locking mechanism making it impossible to fire. They can also seek these charges even if the gun was damaged, sealed off, or partly disassembled but still had a bullet loaded.
Los Angeles Carrying a Loaded Firearm in Public Defense Lawyer Near Me (310) 896-2723
What Counts as a “Public Place” in Los Angeles?
In Los Angeles, basically anywhere that is open to the public or readily accessible to the general public is a “public place.” This can include streets, parks, businesses, government buildings – just about anywhere.
If you are far out in the country in unincorporated areas, the law does not necessarily apply in all public places. However, it does if you are in “prohibited areas” such as a school, post office, or government office.
A Los Angeles carrying a loaded firearm in public defense attorney can investigate the circumstances around your case to determine where you were cited as being in possession of a loaded firearm.
What Are the Penalties for Carrying a Loaded Firearm in a Public Place in California?
The penalties in California for carrying a loaded firearm in a public place depend upon whether the charge is prosecuted as a misdemeanor or a felony.
The potential misdemeanor penalties for a violation of Penal Code 25850 include:
- Up to one year in jail
- Up to $1,000 in fines
- Summary probation
The consequences for a felony conviction rise sharply. They can include:
- Up to three years in prison
- Up to $10,000 in fines
- Formal probation
You don’t want to face any of these possible penalties without the help of a carrying a loaded firearm in public defense lawyer in Los Angeles.
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When Is Carrying a Loaded Firearm a Felony in Los Angeles?
Carrying a loaded firearm in public is usually charged as a misdemeanor. However, there are aggravating circumstances that can bump this charge up to a felony.
If you have a prior conviction for a crime against a person, a crime against property, or certain drug crimes, or if you are not the registered owner of the firearm, the charge becomes a “wobbler.” A wobbler means that the prosecution could choose to pursue the case as a misdemeanor or a felony.
Additionally, there are circumstances where carrying a loaded firearm is automatically a felony. These include:
- If you have a prior felony conviction or any prior gun violation
- If the firearm was stolen (and you knew or should have known it was stolen)
- If you didn’t possess the gun legally
- If you are allegedly a member of a street gang
Will a Conviction for Carrying a Loaded Firearm in Public Affect My Gun Rights?
If you are convicted under PC 25850, you may lose your right to own a gun. In California, a felony conviction automatically results in the loss of an individual’s rights to gun ownership.
If you are charged with a misdemeanor offense under this statute, your gun rights will remain intact. However, if you are charged with a felony and convicted, your gun rights will be stripped away.
Protect your gun rights by building the optimal defense with our Los Angeles weapons charges lawyers.
What Defenses Can I Use Against a Loaded Firearm Charge in Los Angeles?
The defense will always depend on what exactly happened and the facts surrounding your case. However, it is possible to win these cases with an L.A. carrying a loaded firearm in public defense atotrney. There are many strong defenses that can be used. These include:
- You had no knowledge that you were carrying a weapon
- You had no knowledge that the gun was loaded
- You were not in a public place
- Illegal search and seizure by the police
- You were acting in self-defense
No Knowledge That You Were Carrying a Weapon
This defense works in situations where the firearm was not on your person. If the gun was tucked into your pants, it will be hard for anyone to believe that you were unaware you had it on you. However, if the weapon was in your coat or bag or if you were carrying someone else’s bag, this defense can prove effective.
If you were not aware of the firearm, you can win your case.
No Knowledge That the Gun Was Loaded
This defense really depends on the situation. It’s not a valid defense to simply say you were ignorant of whether the firearm you were carrying was loaded. This argument will not win your case. However, if you had a good reason to believe the gun was not loaded, this can work as a defense.
Not in a Public Space
Officers can get over-zealous when they see a gun and make the arrest despite legal distinctions. Alternatively, they may not be aware whether the area you were in is incorporated or not.
Illegal Search and Seizure
If the police found the loaded gun by searching you or your property, and they didn’t have a legal right to do so when they performed the search, the entire case against you could be moot.
Your carrying a loaded firearm in public defense attorney will work to prove that the search violated your Fourth Amendment rights. If successful, they will petition the court to dismiss all charges.
If you had good reason to believe you were in grave danger and needed the gun to protect yourself, it may be possible to win a case against a loaded firearm charge.
Is Anyone Exempt From This Law?
Yes. Police officers, military personnel, security guards, bank and armored vehicle guards, and certain professionals with a license known as POST certification are exempt from this law while performing the duties of their jobs.
Other individuals may also be permitted to carry a firearm in public if they have a concealed carry permit or are on the premises of a gun club where they are a member.
Talk to a Los Angeles Loaded Firearm Lawyer for Free
Just because you were arrested for carrying a loaded firearm does not mean you have to be convicted. The Simmrin Law Group can defend your case and help you avoid jail time, avoid a felony conviction, or even win your case outright.
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. One of our carrying a loaded firearm in public defense lawyers in Los Angeles will review your case and advise you about all your legal options. We will do everything in our power to make sure you get the best possible outcome for your case.