Weapons offenses in California run the gamut from misdemeanors to serious felonies. If you have been arrested on a gun charge, for example, it is essential that you understand the nature of the charges against you. At RJT Criminal Defense, we understand the laws relating to the possession and use of firearms and other weapons. Ryan J. Tegnelia is an experienced San Diego criminal lawyer who will provide you with an honest assessment of your case, and what you can expect going forward in the criminal justice process. At the same time, he will work hard on your behalf to obtain a dismissal, a reduction in the charges, or a not guilty verdict.
Under California law, as in most other states, there are a host of weapons crimes on the books. There is no single act, or a single result, that is common to all weapons charges. But there are a number of categories into which most of these charges fall. The following are areas that include some of the more commonly charged weapons crimes:
In many cases, the weapons offense is based not on doing a particular act with a weapon, but merely possessing one. There are situations in which possession itself becomes an illegal act by virtue of the “status” of the possessor. A well-known example is possession of a firearm by a person who has been convicted of, or who is under indictment for, a felony. Lesser known examples are individuals who have previously been convicted of certain violent crimes; those who are under court order directing that they not possess a firearm (for example, as one of the conditions of probation); those who have been found by a court to suffer from a mental illness that renders the person a danger to himself or to others; illegal aliens; fugitives from justice; and others.
Crimes Involving Weapons
There are many additional crimes that relate to illegal possession or use of guns and other weapons. The most common of these is possession of a firearm without a permit. In addition, some weapons are per se illegal, meaning that it is unlawful to possess them at all. The list includes, among others, certain assault weapons and knives, and brass knuckles. Carrying a concealed firearm is generally unlawful, and this includes, in some cases, having it in your vehicle. There are numerous additional firearm offenses, including possessing a firearm in a school zone, shooting a gun at certain structures and vehicles, brandishing a firearm (or a deadly weapon), and the illegal sale of guns.
Weapons and Their Relation to Other Crimes
In some cases, a simple misdemeanor can become a much more serious offense when weapons are involved. Simple assault, for instance, is generally a misdemeanor. But when an assault involves the use of a firearm or deadly weapon, it can be charged as a felony, and in some cases can carry a mandatory minimum jail sentence. “Deadly weapons” may include items that, lawfully used, may simply be common objects found at home; but when the objects are used in a way that makes them capable of causing serious injury, they can be considered deadly weapons. There are also situations in which the possession or use of a gun can cause a sentencing enhancement. In the case of drug crimes, possession of a firearm can lead to an increase in the sentence by as much as five years – that’s in addition to the sentence for the underlying drug offense.
There are an enormous number of criminal offenses in California that relate, in one way or another, to the possession and use of weapons. An experienced San Diego criminal lawyer can guide you through the process, and insure that your rights are protected. If you have been charged with a weapons crime, call RJT Criminal Defense today for a free consultation.