Were you arrested on a weapons charge in San Diego, CA? California treats these crimes more seriously than most other states do. A conviction can make it difficult for you to obtain housing or employment in addition to the penalties that the criminal justice system imposes.
However, it’s critical to remember that you’re innocent until proven guilty. It’s not too late to begin forming your defense, but you’ll need to act quickly to protect your rights. Blair Defense Criminal Lawyers is one of the area’s most well-regarded criminal defense law firms and can help you throughout the entire process. Our lead attorney has over a decade of criminal defense legal experience and has helped clients overcome some of the most serious criminal offenses.
Reach out to our law office today to speak with an experienced San Diego weapons charges lawyer about your case. We offer a free consultation to review your situation, and you can reach us by phone at (619) 357-4977 or by contacting us online.
How Blair Defense Criminal Lawyers Can Help After You’ve Been Arrested on Weapons Charges in San Diego
There are options available to you if you’ve been charged with a weapons offense in San Diego, California, but you’ll need a strong legal advocate on your side who is familiar with the prosecution and the way they like to try their cases.
That’s where Blair Defense Criminal Lawyers can step in and assist. We’re led by Attorney Peter Blair, who has spent his entire 10 years of legal practice assisting those accused of crimes in San Diego. Our experienced San Diego criminal defense lawyers have litigated thousands of cases and taken many to trial as well. When you hire our legal team to help with your case, we’ll get to work to:
- Comprehensively investigate your case and thoroughly review the merits of the prosecution’s case and evidence against you
- Hire experts to analyze your case and provide testimony at trial if necessary
- Work to have your charges reduced or dismissed if at all possible
- Keep you up-to-date on your legal options as your case proceeds
- Ensure that your constitutional and state rights are maintained at all times
These are just a few examples of how our criminal defense attorneys can assist you with your weapons charges. Call our law office in San Diego today to establish an attorney-client relationship or learn more about our firm and how we can help you. Your initial case review is free of charge, and there’s no obligation to hire us afterward.
Types of Weapons Charges in California
California has many laws on the books that apply to weapons crimes. Some types of weapons are outright illegal to possess for anyone per state law. Others are illegal to possess if certain conditions are met. California law also allows the prosecution to enhance the penalties of certain other crimes if a weapon is involved. Most of these laws apply to firearms, but many cover other types of weapons as well.
Inherently Dangerous Weapons
Under California Penal Code 16590, certain weapons are illegal to possess for anyone at any time. There are more than 25 weapons listed under this statute, some of which are:
- Cane gun
- Ballistic knife
- Concealed explosive substances other than fixed aluminum
- Air gauge knife
- Metal knuckles
- Large-capacity magazine
Any of the following actions related to any of the weapons listed under Section 16590 PC can constitute a violation of this law:
- Buy, sell, lend, offer for sale, or give
- Manufacture or cause to be manufactured
- Import into the state
You may be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony under this law, depending on the circumstances, as it is what is known as a “wobbler” offense.
Illegal Gun Possession
Generally speaking, a person over the age of 21 (or 18, in limited circumstances, such as someone with a valid hunting license) may legally purchase a firearm in California, so long it was done so legally, and the person is not exempted from doing so. Examples of situations where someone may be exempt from being able to legally purchase or possess a firearm include, but are not limited to:
- The person has been convicted of a felony
- The person has a serious mental illness
- The person has been convicted of certain misdemeanor crimes
- The person is addicted to a narcotic
Many laws in California can apply if you unlawfully possess a firearm, such as:
- Felony Possession of a Firearm PC 29800
- Illegal Concealed Carry PC 25400
- Armed Criminal Action PC 25800
California gun possession law is expansive, and the facts of the situation at hand become especially relevant. For instance, PC 626.9 makes it illegal to possess a firearm within or close to a school, and PC 25850 makes it a crime to carry a loaded firearm in public
This is to say that while by default, one may legally purchase and possess a firearm in the state, there are many laws (many more than are covered here) that could apply that could make that possession unlawful.
Illegal Gun Use
California law is strict when it comes to using a gun, even if that gun was purchased and is being possessed legally. Some statutes on file that apply in this context include PC 417, which makes it illegal to brandish a weapon in certain circumstances. Another statute in this area is Gross Negligent Discharge of a Firearm, covered by PC 246.3.
Other Charges and Enhancements
For certain offenses, California law allows the prosecution to assert a more serious version of a charge if a deadly weapon is involved. A key example of this is Assault With a Deadly Weapon covered under PC 245(a). The penalties for this charge are significantly higher than they are for simple assault, which falls under PC 240.
In a similar vein, California law also allows the court system to impose additional penalties if a firearm is involved. One instance of this is PC 12022, which allows the court to add as many as 10 years to a prison sentence.
The Prosecution’s Burden of Proof in San Diego Weapons Charges Cases
It is critical to remember that for every charge discussed above (as well as those not listed), the prosecution must establish every element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. In many cases, a key issue is whether the accused had the required state of mind at the time of the incident.
Some crimes require the prosecution to prove intent, while others require proving knowledge or recklessness instead. This gives a skilled San Diego weapons charges defense attorney room to find weaknesses in the prosecution’s case, with the aim of having the charges dismissed or reduced if possible.
Penalties and Consequences of a Weapons Charge Conviction in San Diego County
The penalties and consequences of a San Diego weapons charge conviction vary widely depending on the exact charges in question. Some of these crimes are misdemeanor offenses, which carry a penalty of up to a year in jail as well as a fine.
Others are felonies, some much more serious than others. The penalties associated with a felony conviction could be as high as life in prison without parole for the most serious offenses. And as alluded to above, California has many sentencing enhancement statutes that could apply if a firearm is involved in the crime.
Another common penalty assessed in weapons charges cases is the loss of one’s ability to ever purchase and possess a firearm in the state. A lasting criminal record can also give rise to additional consequences, such as trouble finding housing and employment.
Defenses Available Against Weapons Charges in San Diego, California
Fortunately, there are many defenses available to you if you’ve been charged with a weapons offense in San Diego, California. Defending weapons charges is a highly fact-specific endeavor. Some common types of defenses that might be an option include the following:
- The prosecution has failed to support every element of your charges beyond a reasonable doubt
- Your constitutional rights were violated, such as during an illegal search and seizure
- You did not have the requisite state of mind at the time of the alleged offense
- Your Miranda Rights were not read to you, so certain statements you made can be excluded
Our San Diego criminal defense lawyers will thoroughly research and investigate the prosecution’s case against you as well as the overall facts of the situation to arrive at the best defenses suitable for your situation.
Set Up a Free Consultation With an Experienced San Diego Weapons Charges Attorney
If you’ve been arrested for a weapons charge in San Diego, it’s critical to your future that you take the matter as seriously as possible. One step to that end is to hire a credible San Diego weapons charges attorney who understands California law inside and out. The attorneys with Blair Defense Criminal Lawyers have been helping those accused of crimes in San Diego for over a decade and have helped clients overcome some of the most serious charges in the state.
To begin forming your defense, reach out today.