The right to bear arms is a well-protected right under the United States Constitution. However, the law limits that right by excluding a category of individuals who can own or acquire a gun. This law is outlined in California Penal Code 29800 PC and referred to by many as the “felon with a firearm” law.
If you fall into this excluded category and you carry out any of the outlined prohibited acts in relation to gun ownership and possession, you will be arrested and charged. The consequences associated with the offense of being a felon with a firearm are extensive and the particulars of the crime are extremely technical and complex. Accordingly, it would be sensible that you secure legal representation from a San Diego weapons offense attorney as soon as possible.
Why is it Crime to be a Felon with a Firearm?
Although the crime itself includes the word felon, the prohibited act of owning a firearm is not only limited to felons. According to Penal Code 29800 PC, the following individuals are not legally allowed to own, purchase, receive, or possess a gun or ammunition:
- A convicted felon;
- Individuals convicted of certain misdemeanors; and
- Individuals with a narcotic drug addiction.
The law is very comprehensive in its approach to defining and outlining the specific aspects of the crime. In particular, there are some misdemeanors involving a weapon and even some sex crimes that are included in the list of convictions that will disqualify you from owning a gun.
An important element of being charged as a felon with a firearm also includes proving the person charged knew of the presence of the gun. While being ignorant of the presence of the gun is a great defense, ignorant of the law is not. It is, therefore, important that you talk with a California criminal defense attorney before owning or possessing a gun.
Can I Go To Jail for?
The legislative purpose of the law, detailed in Penal Code 29800 PC, is to protect the public from possible harm by preventing individuals convicted of serious crimes from legally being in possession of a potentially deadly weapon. Accordingly, the crime is considered to be very severe and is a felony.
The chances of going to jail if you are convicted are very high. At sentencing, the judge may impose any combination of penalties including a possible three-year jail term or a maximum fine of $10,000. If convicted, you will also forfeit your gun and your gun ownership rights for a minimum of ten years. If you are a juvenile at the time of sentencing, your right to bear arms legally will be delayed until the age of thirty.
What Possible Legal Defenses Can I Take to Fight My Charge?
In many instances, a defendant may feel that fighting a felon with a firearm charge would be a dead-end. However, this is not the case. Firstly, you are innocent until proven guilty, and secondly, there are a number of legal defenses that are available to you, if you want to prove your innocence.
Depending on the facts of your case, and after research and investigation, your San Diego weapon offenses attorney can prepare any of the following defenses:
- There was no actual possession of the firearm.
- You had no knowledge of the presence of the firearm.
- You were acting in self-defense or the defense of another.
- The possession was only momentary.
- You were in possession for a justifiable reason.
- You are being falsely accused or were wrongfully arrested.
In addition to putting forward a sound defense, your lawyer may be in the position to have the charges dismissed prior to the trial. This will depend on the evidence the prosecution has, the information obtained after your own pre-trial investigation, or clear indications that the prosecution will not be able to lead a successful case against you.
Hire A San Diego Weapon Offenses Attorney
There is a lot that goes into going up against the criminal justice system to prove your innocence. The journey can be made easier by hiring a competent attorney. At McElfresh Law, we possess years of experience defending individuals charged with a variety of criminal offenses. We are confident in our ability to deliver high-quality legal representation.
The crime of felon with a firearm is no joking matter. You will need an experienced, competent, and seasoned courtroom advocate. Call McElfresh Law today at (858) 756-7107 and let us help protect your rights as your San Diego weapon offenses attorney.