If you’ve been charged with a weapons crime in Los Angeles, you could face serious penalties, even if you don’t have a criminal record. A weapons charges lawyer in Los Angeles can provide critical assistance if you’re at risk of being convicted for a weapons offense.
A weapons offense conviction can be devastating to your life under California’s tough “10-20-Life” gun laws. You may also face federal charges in the case of a firearms violation. Find out what to expect if you’re facing weapons charges and how a lawyer could help.
What Is a Weapons Charge in California?
There are a variety of weapons charges in California’s long and complex penal code. Many people may think automatically of guns when discussing weapons charges. In reality, they can involve different kinds of weapons as well as situations in which firearms are not even fired. However, California does have many additional weapons laws that target firearms in particular.
California’s strict gun laws often intersect with federal gun laws, leading to even steeper penalties for weapons violations involving firearms than usual. If you are facing weapons charges in Los Angeles, one of our experienced Los Angeles weapons charges lawyers at Simmrin Law Group can begin working toward clearing your name.
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The Most Common Types of Weapons Violations Charges in California
The following are some of the most common types of weapons charges in California:
- Illegal weapons sale
- Assault with a deadly weapon
- Aggravated assault with a deadly weapon
- Firing an object into an occupied building
- Drive-by shooting
- Brandishing a weapon
- Carrying a loaded firearm in public
- Improper handling of a firearm
- Possession of an illegal weapon
- The manufacture or possession of destructive devices
California’s strict weapons laws, particularly relating to guns, can lead to serious charges. You may face either misdemeanor or felony weapons charges, along with potential sentencing enhancements. Your weapons charges may be more severe depending on your criminal history, any aggravating circumstances, your intent, and the type of weapon you used.
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Legal Penalties for Weapons Violations in Los Angeles
Weapons charges in Los Angeles County carry heavy penalties. For misdemeanors, you can expect to pay a fine of up to $1,000 and potentially spend up to a year in jail. In the case of a felony weapons offense conviction, you could spend one to 20 years in state prison. The circumstances around your case will impact the severity of your sentence if you are convicted.
Specific charges you could face for some of the most common types of weapons violations are as follows:
While some weapons can be concealed, others may lead to a carrying a concealed weapon charge. For instance, it is nearly always a crime to conceal a firearm in Los Angeles. Having the gun on your person or in your vehicle where it cannot be seen can be considered concealing it. This includes:
- A hidden gun whose outline is visible beneath your clothing
- A gun stored underneath a car seat
- A gun hidden behind or inside other carried objects (like a box)
Contrary to what some people think, for the purposes of this law, a Taser device is considered a firearm. This means that it is illegal to carry a concealed Taser weapon.
Depending on the level of the offense, a conviction can lead to some heavy penalties. These can range from six months in jail and a $1,000 fine to three years in jail and a $10,000 fine. With help from one of our knowledgeable weapons charges lawyers, you may be able to avoid such outcomes.
Brandishing a Weapon
The law in Los Angeles states that it is legal to display your firearm or weapon. However, doing so in a way that can be perceived as a threat is called brandishing a weapon and is illegal. This goes for unloaded firearms as well as:
- Incendiary devices
- Baseball bats
- Beer bottles
- Anything else that can cause serious injuries
Penalties for brandishing a deadly weapon can range from one month in jail up to three years in state prison, so having one of our Los Angeles weapons charges attorneys to represent you is always recommended.
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Regulations on Carrying Firearms
California is very clear on its firearms transportation laws. Carrying a loaded firearm is always against the law if it occurs in public or the weapon is in your vehicle. If you are accused of carrying a loaded firearm, there are several defensive strategies our LA weapons charges lawyers can apply to your case.
- You had reason to believe the gun was not loaded.
- You were unaware there was a gun in your possession.
- The space you occupied was not a public place.
- The loaded weapon was discovered by violating your constitutional rights.
- You loaded the firearm as a reasonable measure of self-defense.
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Penalties for When the Gun is Fired
You can be in serious trouble for firing your weapon if it is deemed that you did so in an unsafe way. The charge is known as negligent discharge and can result in three years in jail as well as up to $10,000 in fines.
If the gun was fired accidentally, however, you cannot be charged with negligent discharge. The law is clear that it must be fired wilfully in order for you to be convicted. This is one defense that can be used by our legal team.
Penalties for a Felon With a Firearm
Another regulation regarding the carrying of firearms is that it is illegal for a felon to be in possession of a firearm. Though citizens have the right to bear arms as afforded by the Constitution, the Supreme Court has made clear that this is a conditional right, and convicted felons lose that right.
The gun still counts as a gun even in these circumstances:
- It is unloaded
- It is disassembled
- It is damaged
- It is inoperable
This means you are still legally restricted from possessing that weapon if you are a convicted felon. However, since the legal definition of possession can be tricky and complicated, our weapons charges lawyers in Los Angeles may be able to help you avoid a conviction.
Penalties for Selling Firearms
California restricts the sale of firearms unless you have a special license. If you are caught selling without that license, you can be charged with an unlicensed sale of firearms. You may face the following penalties:
- Six months in county jail
- $1,000 fine
Unfortunately, those penalties can be applied to you for each gun sold without a license. They can stack up quickly, and the results can be life-altering. Get in touch with our criminal defense lawyers in L.A. to begin discussing how we can work to get the charges dropped or reduced.
Common Legal Defenses Against Weapons Charges
A weapons charge conviction can cause disruptions that follow you throughout your life. The charge will appear on background checks, which can make it difficult to find employment. You may also have trouble renting or buying a house with a weapons charge conviction. On your record. For that reason, it’s vital to know the common defenses against a weapons charge.
Weapons use may be allowed under the law if the following circumstances apply to your charges:
- Self-defense: If you had reason to believe that you or another person were about to suffer serious bodily harm or death
- Accident: If you discharged a firearm accidentally, you had no criminal intent
- You didn’t own the weapon: If you had a weapon on your person or vehicle but didn’t own the weapon, you may not have been aware of it
- Entrapment or police misconduct: If your weapons violation occurred due to entrapment or police misconduct, it may be thrown out
- Prosecutor misconduct: If the prosecutor tried to influence the jury in your case.
Contact a Los Angeles Weapons Charges Lawyer for FREE
At the Simmrin Law Group, we believe that it is important for you to understand how we can help in your particular case. For that reason, we offer a FREE initial consultation. To contact our weapons charges lawyers in Los Angeles, simply fill out the form to the right of this page or call us today. We are ready to help you!