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Crimes involving guns or firearms are prosecuted harshly by the California justice system. Something as simple as illegal possession of a firearm by a someone with a previous felony conviction can lead to an additional felony charge with a potential penalty of up to three years in jail. On top of that, California has a large number of gun laws that regulate firearm use. According to data from the State Firearm Laws Database, California’s 107 gun laws are the most in any state (the national state average is just over 28).

If you have been charged with a gun crime, a Bay Area gun crime lawyer at The Nieves Law Firm can work with you to build a defense to your charges. The talented attorneys on our team have experience defending clients accused of gun crimes in the Bay Area and we understand both state and federal gun laws that may be applicable to your case. We also understand how severe a gun crime conviction can be. If you work with us, we will build a tailored defense strategy centered around the specific circumstances of your case. We will consider your wants, needs, and goals for the future when building your defense to ensure our strategy gives you the best opportunity to live the life you want after your case comes to a close. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation. En Español

Gun Ownership in California

California has relatively strict gun ownership laws when compared to other states. However, most adults over the age of 21 are allowed to possess a firearm in California. Certain individuals may be barred from owning a firearm in California if:

  • They were previously convicted of a felony offense
  • They are addicted to narcotics
  • They were convicted of certain domestic violence crimes (even if they were convicted of a misdemeanor)
  • They were convicted of a specified violent crime
  • They were convicted of a specified hate crime
  • They possessed a concealed handgun without a concealed carry permit
  • They have a history of impairing mental illness
  • They are in possession of an assault rifle*

*Update (June 4, 2021): On June 4th, a federal judge declared California’s ban on assault weapons unconstitutional in an effort to make the firearms once again legal in California. However, a federal appeals court decided to hold the decision until other pending gun cases before the court are decided. So, as of July 13, 2021, assault rifles are still illegal in California.

If you were charged with illegal gun possession in the Bay Area, we can help. Contact a Bay Are gun attorney at The Nieves Law Firm today to start building a defense to your gun possession charges.

Common Bay Area Gun Crimes and Their Penalties

As previously mentioned, California has a large number of gun laws that regulate the possession, transportation, and sale of firearms. If you have questions about gun charges you are facing, contact a Bay Area gun lawyer at The Nieves Law Firm to learn more. Some of the most common Bay Area gun crimes include:

Felon in Possession of a Firearm (PC 29800)

It is illegal for a felon in California to possess any type of firearm. The penalty for felon in possession of a firearm in California is a fine of up to $10,000 and/or a jail sentence up to three years.

Carrying a Concealed Firearm (PC 25400)

It is illegal to carry a concealed weapon in a vehicle or on your person in California. Illegally transporting a concealed firearm in a vehicle or on your person can be charged as a felony or misdemeanor and penalties can include  up to a year in county jail to up to three years in prison with substantial fines.

Use of a Firearm in the Commission of a Felony (PC 12022.5)

It is unlawful to use a firearm in the commission or attempted commission of a felony under California law. The sentence enhancement related to possessing a firearm while committing a felony is the additional prison term of three, four, or ten years depending on the circumstances of the case. The additional prison term will be added onto the sentence for the original felony charge and will be served consecutively to the original offense.

Use of a Firearm while Committing a Sex Crime (PC 12022.3)

Similar to the charge listed above, it is illegal to use a firearm while committing specific sex crime offenses. The sentence enhancement for using a firearm while committing a sex crime is the same as the enhancement related to the use of a firearm while committing a felony. An additional prison term of three, four, or ten years can be added to the principle offense.

Possession of an Assault Rifle (PC 30605)

As of now, it is illegal to possess an assault rifle under California law. Please note that this is currently on appeal and a decision could be made to legalize assault rifle possession in the near future. Illegally possessing an assault weapon under Penal Code 30605 is a “wobbler” meaning it can be a misdemeanor or felony and the penalties range from county jail time to up to three years in prison.

Furnishing a Firearm for a Felony (PC 12022.4)

It is illegal to furnish a firearm to another person with the intent of them using that firearm to commit a felony offense. Individuals who are convicted of aiding or abetting a felony with a firearm face a sentence enhancement of one, two, or three years depending on the circumstances of the case. This means they will serve an additional prison sentence on top of the sentence they receive for the original felony offense.

Brandishing a Firearm or Inflicting Bodily Injury while Brandishing a Gun (PC 417 and PC 417.6)

It is unlawful to brandish a firearm during a fight in a rude and threatening manner except for situations of self-defense and it is also illegal to  intentionally inflict serious bodily injury by drawing or exhibiting a firearm or deadly weapon. Brandishing is a misdemeanor if charged under Penal Code 417 but inflicting bodily injury while brandishing can be charged as a felony or misdemeanor and can have severe penalties including up to three years in state prison.

Discharging a Firearm (PC 246.3)

It is illegal to discharge a firearm in a grossly negligent way that could result in the death or injury of a person.  This is a criminal that can be punished by up to three years in state prison if charged as a felony.

Discharging a Firearm from Vehicle – Drive-By Shooting (PC 26100(c))

A person who willfully and maliciously discharges a firearm from a vehicle at another person not in the vehicle is guilty of a felony. A violation of this law is punishable by up to 7 years in state prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

While these are some of the most common gun crimes we see in the Bay Area, there are many more not listed here. If you are charged with one of the crimes listed above or another gun crime, contact a Bay Area gun crime lawyer from The Nieves Law Firm.

Contact The Nieves Law Firm

At The Nieves Law Firm, we have experience representing clients facing a variety of gun-related charges. We understand the intricacies of these cases and how relevant state and federal gun laws play a role. If you were charged with a gun crime in the Bay Area, we can help. Contact a Bay Area gun attorney on our team today to schedule a free consultation.

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The Nieves Law Firm is dedicated to providing aggressive criminal defense representation to working professionals who have found themselves in trouble with the law. We show up to win, and we’re not afraid to fight aggressively to accomplish our client’s goals.

We understand that being accused of a crime can be a scary and confusing experience. That’s why we take the stress off our clients by handling the full scope of their legal situation from the initial consultation to the final outcome. Our bilingual attorneys and staff are here to ensure that our clients feel heard and understood every step of the way.

As one of the largest criminal defense teams in Oakland and the Greater Bay Area, we have the resources and experience to handle even the most complex cases. Our experienced team examines various aspects of your case and, perhaps most importantly, we genuinely care about our clients and their future. We take the time to learn about their goals and priorities so that we can achieve an outcome that allows them to move past their mistakes and focus on the future they want. When you work with us, you become part of our team.

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When facing a criminal charge, having dedicated and experienced attorneys on your side is critical. At The Nieves Law Firm, we understand the gravity of your situation, and our criminal defense attorneys provide unwavering support and legal guidance.

From the moment you reach out to us, we prioritize your well-being and legal interests. Our criminal lawyers are with you every step of the way, from arrest to hearings and beyond, to ensure that your rights are protected. Whether you’re facing charges related to DUI, drug offenses, assault, sex crimes or any other allegation, we have the knowledge and courtroom experience to fight vigorously on your behalf.

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