Los Angeles Weapons Lawyer
Many people choose to own firearms and for a variety of reasons. You may own rifles and shotguns for hunting or skeet shooting. You may purchase a handgun for protection in your home, or for fun target practice on the weekends. We know that you likely do your best to remain inside the law, even when regulations regarding firearms in California are constantly changing. When you allegedly commit a violation a firearm law and charged with a crime, it can be shocking and concerning. If there has been misunderstanding or you were mistaken about the law, a weapons lawyer from Spolin Law P.C. will work to correct your situation and fight for the charges to be dropped or reduced.
California Gun Laws
In California, you may purchase and own a handgun, rifle, or shotgun unless you are specifically prohibited from doing so. To purchase a rifle or shotgun, you must be at least 18 years old. To buy a handgun, you must be at least 21 years old. State law requires your firearms to be registered. As of July 1, 2018, before you manufacture or assemble a firearm, you must apply to the Department of Justice (DOJ) for a serial number. By January 1, 2019, if you own a firearm without a serial number, you must apply to the DOJ for one.
California does not permit the open carry of weapons within the state. However, you may be able to apply for a concealed carry permit. This allows you to carry your weapon, loaded or unloaded, in many places, including parks, state and national forests, rest stops, and any place other than one specifically prohibited by California law.
To apply and obtain a concealed carry permit, you must:
- Be of good moral character
- Have a good cause to justify the permit
- Be a resident of the county or your place of work is in the county where you apply
- Complete an approved firearms training class
- Not be convicted of a felony or certain misdemeanors
- Not be addicted to drugs
- Not be diagnosed with a mental illness
- Meet federal requirements
Also, the county in which you apply for a permit may have other requirements. For instance, some counties require a psychological exam. For help with understanding your local municipality’s concealed carry permit requirements, contact a weapons lawyer for help.
California is a “may issue” state, meaning if you meet the minimum eligibility requirements, the county sheriff or city’s police chief may issue a concealed carry permit. A sheriff or chief has some discretion regarding permits.
If you carry your weapon without a proper permit or in a place in which firearms are not allowed, you may be arrested and charged with a crime. The police may confiscate your firearm. In this situation, you should contact a gun crimes lawyer as soon as possible. By having an attorney on your side, you improve your chance of a fair outcome in your case.
Common California Weapons Charges
At Spolin Law P.C., our lawyers handle a wide range of firearm and other weapons-related charges, including:
Carrying a Concealed Weapon (California Penal Code [PC] 25400)
It is illegal to carry a firearm (or another weapon concealed on your person or within your vehicle) if:
- You are entitled to possess a firearm, yet you lack a valid and current concealed carry permit
- You have been prohibited from possessing a firearm
This is typically a misdemeanor offense, punishable by up to one year in jail and a maximum fine of $1,000. If you have a criminal record, you may be sentenced to a mandatory minimum of three months in jail. If you are accused of unlawfully carrying a concealed weapon in California, contact a weapons lawyer right away.
You are not automatically entitled to possess a firearm. There are many restrictions on this right, and if you possess or are in control of a firearm when you are prohibited from doing so, you may face a misdemeanor or felony offense. Common forms of illegal firearm possession include:
- If you have been convicted of a felony, you may never possess a firearm
- If you possess a firearm in specific prohibited places, including schools, government buildings, airports, and public transit facilities
If you have been charged with a crime for unlawfully possessing a firearm, do not hesitate to call a weapons attorney from Spolin Law P.C. today.
Illegal Possession of a Deadly Weapon (PC 17500)
If you face charges for carrying any deadly weapon – not just a gun – with the intent to assault another person, then you can be charged with a misdemeanor. Deadly weapons include many guns, knives, daggers, metal knuckles, and explosive substances.
Illegal Possession of Ammunition
There are many ways in which you could be charged for illegally possessing ammunition. Similar to firearms, there are times you are prohibited from possessing any ammunition. You may also be charged with a crime for possessing certain types of restricted ammunition. You also cannot purchase ammunition online or from a catalog unless you have it shipped to a licensed vendor, and you cannot bring ammunition into California that you purchased in another state. If you are ever arrested for possessing ammunition, call a weapons lawyer from our firm as soon as you can.
Negligently Discharging a Firearm (PC 246.3)
You can be charged with a crime if you intentionally discharge a firearm in public in a grossly negligent manner that could cause another person’s injury or death. This is a wobbler offense and can be charged as misdemeanor or felony.
Criminal Storage of a Firearm (PC 25100)
You may face criminal charges for storage of a firearm in the first or second-degree if you:
- Knowingly keep a loaded firearm on certain premises
- Know or reasonably should know that a child is likely to gain access to the firearm without a parent or guardian’s permission
- That child gains access and causes another person bodily harm, great bodily harm, or death
You may be charged with this offense in the third-degree if you keep a loaded firearm in a place where you know a child could access it without permission.
Weapons Possession Added to Other Criminal Charges
At Spolin Law P.C., we are well aware that Los Angeles prosecutors will add a weapons possession charge to criminal cases whenever they can, including when the weapon was not directly involved in the alleged offense, or even when you did not know there was a weapon present. We have seen individuals charged with unlawful firearm possession despite not knowing a handgun was in the glove compartment of a borrowed car.
If you are facing criminal charges and the prosecutors tacked on a weapons possession offense, contact a weapons lawyer at our firm immediately.
Defending Against a Weapons Charge
If you have been accused of a gun crime, call us right away. We will thoroughly investigate the accusations against you to determine the holes in the prosecutor’s case and to gather evidence that can support your defense in court. We may utilize a number of defenses, including:
- You lacked intent to commit the crime.
- You did not own, possess, or control the weapon in question.
- You were unaware of the firearm or ammunition.
- You brandished or used a weapon in self-defense or defense of others.
- There has been a mistake of identity.
- You have been falsely accused.
- There is insufficient evidence to prove you committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.
- Evidence was obtained unlawfully through an unconstitutional search and seizure.
- Your initial arrest was unconstitutional.
Contact a Weapons Lawyer from Spolin Law P.C. Today
Weapons charges in California are serious, and they can result in harsh penalties. If convicted of a firearm or weapons crime, you may be fined, sentenced to time a period of incarceration, and even lose your right to own or possess firearms in the future. Additionally, if a weapons possession charge is added to your criminal case, you could face a significantly longer term of incarceration.
Whenever you face a gun crime or other weapon charge, you need to fight back. You need to hire a weapons lawyer who knows the ins and outs of California law and the courtroom. You need the team at Spolin Law P.C. to fight for the best possible outcome in your case.