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Criminal Defense Attorney in Sacramento Explains Different Weapons Charges
Weapons charges are a serious offense in the state of California, as the majority of these charges are classified as felonies. Determining whether a weapons charge is considered a felony or a misdemeanor depends on a few factors such as: the kind of weapon the defendant is in possession of upon arrest, the intent with the weapon, and any prior criminal offenses, among others.
There are a variety of weapons crimes an individual could be charged with in the state of California, and we have listed some of the more common ones below. You should always speak with a criminal defense attorney in Sacramento who can provide the legal assistance for your case in particular.
Common Weapons Charges in CA
One of the most common weapons charge in California is carrying a concealed weapon. A permit is required a to carry a concealed weapon in CA and not having one will land you with a weapons charge. There are a limited number of permits available, and issuance is up to the discretion of local judges and sheriffs. Most people don’t know, but carrying a firearm in a gun holster can constitute a concealed carry.
Brandishing a deadly weapon, which is considered displaying a deadly weapon in an aggressive manner, is another common weapons charge. Speak with a criminal defense attorney in Sacramento for further information.
Some other common charges include the possession of a weapon if you’re a convicted felon. In addition to the multiple federal restrictions on who may own a gun, California bans individuals convicted of a felony, or certain misdemeanors, and those who are addicted to narcotics from having a firearm. Improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle is another serious weapons charge in California. There are exceptions, such as the gun being unloaded and within a locked container, such as the trunk. Larger weapons such as rifles do not need to be in a locked container, but they must be unloaded, and may be required to have a gun lock. There are a lot of tricky nuances when it comes to carrying firearms so always make sure to speak with a criminal defense attorney in Sacramento for specifics, especially if you have been charged.
Selling a firearm is another misdemeanor charge that could result in one year in county jail or a $1000 fine. Selling a firearm requires a specific license. Firing into an occupied building, dwelling or vehicle is a felony. It is also a crime to shoot in the vicinity of a residence even if no one is home. Lastly, it is illegal in the state of California to openly carry a weapon. There are permits for conceal and carry, but the weapon must be just that- concealed. If an individual is caught concealing a loaded gun in public without a conceal and carry permit, he or she may be charged with violation of both open carry and conceal and carry.
It is important to note that the definition of a weapon is wide ranging and is not limited to guns. Due to recent changes in the law, the very definition of an assault weapon has changed. As this change is very new, it will take time before it is completely clear what qualifies as an assault weapon. When in doubt, do whatever is most cautious to protect yourself from arrest. And if you are arrested, speak with a criminal defense attorney in Sacramento immediately.
Individuals banned federally
The following groups of people are banned from possessing a gun by federal law:
- Illegal immigrants
- Individuals discharged from the military dishonorably
- Individuals who have renounced their US citizenship
- Fugitives from the law
- Individuals under court order for stalking
- Individuals under indictment for a crime punishable by imprisonment of more than one year
Statute of Limitations
The general statute of limitations for felony gun charges is three years. However, in the case that an individual is charged with a crime that may be punishable by death or life sentence without parole, there is no statute of limitations. Regardless of the case, it’s important you don’t wait to speak with a criminal defense attorney in Sacramento.
Penalties for weapons charges depends on a few factors. Misdemeanors may carry a penalty of up to a year in jail and/or a fine of up to $1000. Felony charges may carry a penalty of up to 20 years in prison and/or fines. The time an individual is required to serve depends on many factors including the circumstances of the offense and the criminal record of the defendant. For felony charges, there is almost always jail time.
What are my defenses?
A skilled criminal defense attorney in Sacramento could help fight your case depending on the specifics. Because weapons charges are so severe and can alter the course of your life forever, it’s important to know there are defenses that could help you. Common defenses used in weapons charges cases include the following:
- A lack of knowledge of the presence of a gun
- Accidental firing of a weapon
- Improper search and seizure
- Non-ownership of a weapon
There can be long-term and devastating effects on an individual convicted of a weapons charge. It may affect an individual’s ability to gain employment or to find a home, and will certainly affect your ability to own firearms in the future. If you have been charged with a weapons crime, it is vital to find knowledgeable and motivated representation you can trust.
Speak With a Criminal Defense Attorney in Sacramento About Your Legal Needs
We understand that criminal charges affect every facet of your life and we’re here to help. A criminal conviction can put your job, driver’s license, right to vote, right to own a firearm, and other important liberties at stake. If you have been arrested and charged with a crime, call (916) 446-4400 to speak with a criminal defense attorney in Sacramento today.