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Sacramento Criminal Defense Attorney Explains the Usage of Illegal Weapons
There are several laws in place regarding the illegal use of weapons. It is our right to own firearms but we also have a responsibility to operate them safely and securely. Any illegal use of a weapon can cause serious injuries and legal consequences, so it is always important to understand the law and reach out to a Sacramento criminal defense attorney who can give you further details.
Brandishing a Weapon
Penal Code 417 PC makes it illegal to exhibit a firearm or other deadly weapon in a rude, angry, or threatening manner. Though there may be no intent to cause harm, even the use of a weapon in an angry or threatening manner is enough to be charged.
This law may lead to misdemeanor or felony charges, resulting in as few as three months in county jail (minimum for a misdemeanor) or three years in California state prison (maximum felony). Fines of as much as $3,000 may also be brought upon an individual charged with brandishing a weapon against an occupant of a motor vehicle.
Additionally, brandishing a firearm, loaded or unloaded, with the intent of resisting or preventing arrest may result in as many as four years in state prison.
Inflicting Bodily Injury While Brandishing a Firearm
We all know the potential danger weapons bring. Some of the more serious possible injuries include:
- Loss of consciousness
- Fractured or broken bones
- A wound that may require stitches
- Loss of organ function
Inflicting injury purposely while brandishing a weapon may be considered a misdemeanor or a felony. This may be punishable by a misdemeanor and up to one year in county jail. Felony charges, however, are more likely and require a minimum of 16 months or as many as three years in California state prison, and confiscation of the weapon. If you have been convicted of a charge, seek the legal expertise of a Sacramento criminal defense attorney immediately.
Drive-by shootings are covered by PC 26100, which prohibits the following:
- Willfully and maliciously firing a gun from within a car.
- Knowingly allowing another person to bring a gun into a car you own or are driving.
- Knowingly allowing another person to fire a gun from within a car you own or are driving.
The vehicle does not have to be in motion for the above to be penalized. Drive-by shootings can be considered a misdemeanor or a felony depending on several factors. The driver or owner of the car as well as the shooters could be charged with a misdemeanor or felony. They could see up to a year in county jail and a fine of up to $1,000 for a misdemeanor. For those convicted of a felony, they could be facing up to three years in California state prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
Firing a weapon or owning/driving the car from which an individual fires a weapon at another person is an automatic felony and may be punishable by up to 7 years in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000. These consequences are serious, so it’s important you consult a Sacramento criminal defense attorney if you have been charged.
Assault with a Firearm
Assault with a firearm is prohibited under California penal code. It is important to note that it is unlawful to attempt to injure another person – injury does not actually have to occur. There also does not need to be a specific target – firing into a crowd can be considered assault with a firearm.
Penalties for assault with a firearm vary widely depending on the weapon used, the nature of the injuries, and the perpetrators intent.
Shooting at Dwellings or Vehicles
Shooting at an inhabited or occupied dwelling or vehicle is illegal under California Penal Code 246. It includes discharging a weapon in the direction or proximity of any of the following:
- Inhabited house
- Occupied building
- Occupied car
- Inhabited camper
“Inhabited” is meant to indicate the structure is lived in and applies even if no one is currently present. Individuals who assist someone else in firing a weapon in the vicinity of an inhabited or occupied dwelling or vehicle can also be charged. Individuals may also be charged with this crime even if they aren’t aiming directly at the structure but are shooting in its vicinity. Because there are so many factors and variables, you should speak with a Sacramento criminal defense attorney if you were involved in any way.
Shooting at inhabited or occupied dwellings or vehicles is a felony. Individuals convicted of such charges may face as many as seven years in state prison.
There are also punishments for shooting at unoccupied aircraft, vehicles, and dwellings. Malicious discharge of a firearm at an unoccupied aircraft is a felony and punishable by up to three years in prison. Malicious discharge of a firearm at an unoccupied dwelling may be a misdemeanor or a felony and punishment may include up to three years in state prison.
Lasers at Occupied Aircraft
Willfully and maliciously pointing lasers at occupied aircraft is a crime, whether the aircraft is in motion on the ground, or in flight. This crime can be charged as a misdemeanor – up to a year in county jail and a fine of $1,000 – or as a felony – up to three years in county jail and a fine of up to $2,000.
Grossly Negligent Discharge of a Firearm or BB Device
This crime can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances. To be charged for this crime the following actions must be involved:
- Willful discharge of a firearm or BB device
- Grossly negligent behavior in that firing
- Injury or death to a person resulting from that firing
“BB device” is defined as an instrument that expels a projectile through force of air or gas pressure or spring action, which is rather vague.
Talk to A Sacramento Criminal Defense Attorney Now About Your Case Involving Weapons
The illegal use of weapons can have serious life-altering consequences. If you have been charged for any crime involving the illegal use of a weapon, talk to a Sacramento criminal defense attorney immediately. Give us a call at (916) 446-4400 for a free consultation.