Weapons Attorney in Los Angeles
The legal effect of the possession and use of guns and other weapons is quite broad. And the laws that govern weapons are numerous and often confusing. For example, there are specific laws concerning who may and may not possess certain weapons. Other laws deal with the effect that the possession of a weapon may have on various crimes. In addition, there are activities that are perfectly legal, but if you possess a weapon, that same activity can be charged as a criminal offense. Finally, there are laws which make it illegal for certain people to own and/or possess a gun.
If you have been charged with an offense involving a weapon, you need an attorney who is familiar with the myriad of laws governing their possession and use. Christopher Bou Saeed has experience defending weapons-related charges. Call him at CBS Law for a free consultation regarding your case.
“Using the cops’ own video, Chris proved they lied and got the case kicked!” – Devon L.
If you thought that there were only one or two reasons that would prohibit a person from being able legally to own or possess a firearm, you would be surprised to learn how many restrictions there actually are. Prohibited possessors include:
- Anyone with a felony conviction or who is under indictment for a felony.
- Those with a misdemeanor conviction for any one of a number of offenses, including intimidation or threats against a witness, a victim, or a public employee, among other misdemeanors.
- A person who has had a protective order or a restraining order issued against that person under the California Family Code.
- Someone who has been the subject of a conservatorship due to mental issues or alcoholism, or who has been determined to be a threat to others pursuant to the Welfare and Institutions Code.
- Illegal aliens.
- A person dishonorably discharged from the armed forces.
- Anyone addicted to narcotics.
Note that this is not a complete list, just some examples of prohibited possessors of firearms.
How are Criminal Charges Affected by Possession or Use of a Weapon?
In addition to specific weapons offenses under the Penal Code, possession and/or use of a weapon can have the effect of increasing both the classification of and the potential sentence if you are convicted of various crimes. In addition, there are certain legal activities that become illegal when you add a gun to the mix. The following are several examples:
- Simple assault is a misdemeanor and carries a maximum jail term of 6 months and a $1,000 fine. Assault with a deadly weapon (other than a gun) is generally a wobbler, chargeable as a misdemeanor or a felony, with a maximum sentence of 4 years. If the weapon is a firearm, the law mandates a minimum sentence of 6 months in jail. Using a semiautomatic gun will increase the maximum term of incarceration to 9 years. And for a machine gun or an assault rifle, the charge will be a felony, with a maximum term of 12 years. Note that a deadly weapon can include any object capable of producing serious bodily injury, not just firearms.
- Felonies and Weapons Possession. A felony conviction where you or another person participating in the crime is armed with a firearm will add a year to your sentence if you are convicted. For some serious felonies (murder, carjacking, and rape, among others), if you use a weapon, it will lead to a 10-year enhancement of your sentence, and 20 years if you discharge the weapon. Any felony in which you personally use a gun can enhance your sentence by up to 10 years.
- Firearms and Drug Crimes. If you possess a firearm while committing some drug crimes (for example, possession for sale), the sentencing enhancement is up to 5 years.
- Possession by a Convicted Felon. If you have a prior felony conviction, then possession (as well as purchase or ownership) of a firearm is a felony.
- Concealed Weapons. PC 25400 says that carrying a concealed weapon is generally a misdemeanor. In some cases, there can be mandatory minimum jail time.
- Loaded Firearms in Public. If you carry a loaded firearm in a public place (including public streets) on your person or in your car, it is generally a wobbler. However, if you are in a street gang, or if you are a prohibited possessor, or if the gun was stolen, you will be charged with a felony.
- Guns in a School Zone. The Gun-Free School Zone Act of 1995 (9), generally prohibits possession of a firearm in a school zone, although there are exceptions. If you are convicted, there are several factors that could affect your sentence. The offense, without more, is a misdemeanor. In other situations, you could be facing a felony charge.
- Lawful Picketing. This is an example of a lawful activity that may become a criminal offense when you carry a deadly weapon. Note, however, that in order for the act to be illegal, the picketing must relate to “concerted refusal to work,” which appears to limit its applicability to labor disputes. If charged, the offense is a misdemeanor.
The above list should give you an idea of how complex and potentially serious these weapons charges can be.
Defenses to Weapons Charges
Because of the gravity of most weapons charges, it is important to understand that defenses do exist in many cases. Some of the offenses require knowledge or a specific state of mind, which can be challenged by the defense. Others, like carrying a gun while picketing, have limited applicability. The same applies with respect to enhancements, for example, where the possession or use of the weapon is part of the underlying crime you allegedly committed.
Los Angeles Weapons Defense Lawyer
Weapons offenses are treated harshly by the courts. Many of the offenses are felonies, and some acts can lead to substantial time added to your sentence. At CBS Law, we understand the seriousness of these types of charges, and we have the experience to defend them vigorously. If you are facing a weapons charge, contact our office. We offer a free initial consultation. Call CBS Law at (213) 800-8005 24/7.
“When you’re accused of something you didn’t do, the thought of losing everything can be overwhelming. My job isn’t to walk you through the process, my job is to get your life back.”
Christopher J. Bou Saeed Founding Attorney of CBS Law
Common Questions About Weapon Cases
How Do I Legally Transport My Registered Firearm In A Car?
California’s gun laws are some of the strictest in the country. Consequently, state law is very particular regarding how to legally transport your firearm in your car. First, you must be over the age of 18 and not legally prohibited from possessing a firearm. For example, if you’ve been convicted of a felony or disqualifying misdemeanor, you cannot possess a firearm in any capacity. Second, assuming the firearm is a handgun, the firearm must be unloaded and locked in the vehicle’s trunk or in a locked container. Note that the glove compartment or utility container inside your car does not qualify as a locked container.
In addition, whenever the handgun is taken outside the vehicle, it must be carried directly to or from the car for a lawful purpose and contained inside a locked container. Under the law, a locked container is defined as a secure, fully enclosed container that is locked by a key lock, padlock, combination lock, or other similar locking device.
Should you have any questions regarding possession of a handgun, rifle, shotgun, or assault weapon, call CBS Law and we’ll be happy to discuss your situation at no cost to you.
I'm A Security Guard, Why Am I Still Getting Charged With Gun Possession?
The law governing possession of firearms by security guards is complex and very specific. The following is a brief overview of the requirements. However, should you have any questions or concerns regarding your specific situation, call CBS Law for a free in-depth consultation.
- First, a security guard must be officially licensed or registered and possess a valid exposed firearm permit issued by the Bureau of Security and Investigative Services.
- Second, the caliber of firearm the security guard seeks to possess must be the same caliber printed on the firearm permit.
- Third, the security guard must possess both the valid security guard registration and valid firearm permit.
- Fourth, the security guard may only possess an exposed firearm while (1) on duty, (2) engaged in protecting and preserving the property of their employer, or (3) en route to/from work.
- Fifth, the security guard only acts within the course and scope of their employment when they possess a valid firearm permit.
- Last, the security guard must be over the age of 18 and not be a convicted of any felony or disqualifying misdemeanor.