Federal law prohibits convicted felons from having firearms in all 50 states. In California, this law comes with a lot of fine print, and it extends to people who are not technically convicted felons. If you are subject to this kind of ban and you are caught with a firearm, you can face up to three years in jail in many cases.
Do not allow this kind of arrest to pull you back into the criminal justice system. You need to speak to a Los Angeles felon in possession of a firearm defense attorney. The Simmrin Law Group has the experience, knowledge, and track record to help you beat your charges.
Why Aren’t Felons Allowed to Have Guns in California?
The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution says that all citizens have the right to bear arms as part of a “well-regulated militia.” The Supreme Court has interpreted that to mean that citizens, in general, have a right to own guns. However, it is also interpreted to be a conditional right – one that may not apply in some cases.
Accordingly, California restricts the right to possess guns among certain groups:
- Convicted felons
- Anyone addicted to narcotics
- Anyone with two or more convictions for brandishing a deadly weapon
- Anyone convicted of certain misdemeanors
- People suffering from mental illness
- Minors under the age of 18
Not all of these groups face the same penalties for having a firearm, however. A California state law known as California Penal Code (CPC) § 29800, or the “felon with a firearm” law, establishes serious criminal penalties for just four groups of people:
- All convicted felons, no matter where you were convicted and no matter what the charge was,
- People convicted of specific misdemeanors, of federal crimes with felony sentences, or any crime that carried 30 days or more in a federal prison
- Narcotic drug addicts
- Anyone under a restraining order/ protective order that forbids owning a gun
If you fall into one of these groups and you were caught with a firearm, you can face an even longer gun ban as well as criminal penalties. However, an attorney may be able to help. Our team of Los Angeles felon in possession of a firearm defense lawyers know what to look for in a case and can tell you if we can get your sentence reduced.
For a free legal consultation with a Criminal Defense lawyer serving Los Angeles, call (310) 928-9347
What Counts as a “Firearm?”
All conventional firearms count, and so does any weapon that uses an explosive propellant. This includes tasers, flare guns, rocket launchers, and antique firearms. There are some important gray areas here to note, as:
- It does count as a firearm even if it’s not loaded
- It does count as a firearm even if it is disassembled or only part of a firearm – such as a frame
- It does count as a firearm even if it’s damaged, inoperable, jammed, or broken
- BB guns and pellet guns do not count as firearms
If you don’t think your firearm possession charge is valid, a lawyer can listen to your story and tell you how strong your case is.
Los Angeles Felon in Possession of a Firearm Lawyer Near Me (310) 928-9347
What Counts As “Possessing” a Firearm?
If you have control over the firearm, you possess it – even if it doesn’t really belong to you. This can include:
- Having it on your person or in your backpack, briefcase, etc.
- Having it in your car, home, office, or another location you control, even if you’re nowhere near it
Under the law, you only “possess” the gun if you know you have it. It does not count as possession if someone left it at your house (without your knowledge) or gave you their bag without saying what was inside of it.
This can be difficult to prove. But if it’s reasonable that you didn’t know about the gun, it’s a strong way for a Los Angeles felon in possession of a firearm defense attorney to win your case.
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Can a Felon Be Around Someone With a Concealed Carry in Los Angeles?
If you’re a felon around someone who is concealed carrying in Los Angeles, you are generally not breaking the law. As long as that person is in control of their firearm and you don’t have direct access to it, you should be fine.
However, it can get more complicated if you do have direct access to the firearm. That’s when something called constructive possession comes into play. Constructive possession is when you have knowledge of something and can control it, even if you don’t physically possess it at that moment.
If you’re in a situation where you have constructive possession of someone else’s gun, you could be charged as a felon with possession of a firearm. Examples of this could be if you’re living with the other person and know where their gun is, or if the gun is out in the open near you.
Constructive possession of a firearm is a nuanced idea, though, and one that can be disputed if someone tries to charge you for it. A criminal defense lawyer could be able to defend you from those accusations–you don’t deserve to be punished for something that you aren’t even guilty of.
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What Are the Penalties for a Felon With a Firearm in California?
First of all, if your firearm ban was not already for life, it will be extended. Typically, you will face at least 10 more years of being prohibited from owning firearms. You could also face a lifetime ban. If you were a juvenile when the offense occurred, you may simply be banned from owning firearms until you are 30. You may also relinquish the weapon in question.
The criminal penalties depend on the reason you were prohibited from owning a firearm:
- Convicted felons: You will face a new felony charge which can carry 16 months, two years, or three years in jail, plus up to $10,000 in county jail.
- Other circumstances: Other circumstances include a previous conviction for certain misdemeanors, a juvenile conviction (you are a “ward of the state”), or being under a restraining order. The penalties depend on the severity of the offense. You could face a felony (with the same penalties as above) or a misdemeanor, carrying up to one year in jail and up to $1,000 in fines.
A Los Angeles felon in possession of a firearm defense attorney will be able to give you an idea of what penalties you could be facing. At your initial consultation, our team will go over your case with you and let you know what you can expect and how we can help.
How Long Does a Felony Stay on Your Record in Los Angeles?
In most cases, felonies stay on your criminal record for the rest of your life. That means, no matter how long you wait, you will always have a record of your felony charge that people can see. However, in some cases, a criminal defense attorney could be able to expunge your record.
The state of California doesn’t make it very easy for felons to expunge their records. In order to be eligible, you have to have served your probationary period and cannot have spent any time in state prison for your offense. That’s hard, as many felony convictions in California include the penalty of state prison.
If there is any way to get the record of your felony charge expunged, your criminal defense lawyer will find it. However, if your felony is expunged, your gun rights will not be restored. You will still have to wait for your allotted period to elapse.
What Defenses Can I Use?
There are many valid defenses for a felon possessing a firearm. These can include:
- You didn’t know you had it
- You didn’t actually possess it – it was not under your control (belongs to a roommate, for instance)
- Self-defense in certain cases where you didn’t have an advance plan to get a gun
- Temporary possession of a gun you intended to immediately dispose of or destroy
- Justifiable possession, such as taking a gun off of someone who attacked you and calling the police to come to get it
Additionally, illegal search and seizure is a powerful defense. Depending on how police found the gun, they may have been violating your rights and the entire case could potentially be dismissed. Your felon in possession of a firearm defense attorney in Los Angeles will look for any avenue they can find to defend your rights.
Talk to a Los Angeles Felon With a Firearm Defense Attorney for Free
No matter what happened in your past, you shouldn’t have to face jail time all over again. Let our team help you. Our mission is to always help the accused. We will listen to you, take your side, and put all our resources to work defending you – with a high success rate.
The felon in possession of a firearm defense lawyers at Simmrin Law Group know how to help convicted felons win cases, stay out of jail and potentially beat a firearm charge. Let us give you a FREE consultation. Fill out the form to the right or call us and get your case review today.