For 26 years now I've defended people who have been charged with gun crimes — whether it be carrying a concealed weapon (Penal Code 25400), driving with a weapon in the car, shooting a weapon during the course of a robbery, shooting a weapon during the course of a gang violence situation, using a weapon to commit some sort of a crime like a burglary, assault with a deadly weapon (Penal Code 245(a)(1)), brandishing a weapon (Penal Code 417).
There are a lot of weapon-related offenses and I'm here to tell you in Los Angeles county guns are one of the top issues for prosecutors — whether it be the City Attorney's office who have some very harsh policies against guns.
In fact, they have special gun prosecutors where all they do is prosecute gun cases. That's how seriously they take ridding the county of guns and doing away with people's rights.
Determining Best Strategy to Fight Gun Charges
So, the bottom line is, if you are charged with a gun-related offense you're going to want to get an attorney like me who knows how to deal with these cases. You have to figure out first if you have any type of a defense. Obviously, if you do you employ that defense and you try to beat the prosecutors and you use an attorney with a lot of experience to do that.
If on the other hand, you don't have a defense, now we have to employ a different strategy. We have to employ a strategy that typically involves what I call damage control, meaning we send a mitigation package to the prosecutors.
Also, a lot of times I've got to meet with the boss — the supervisor — armed with all of the good information about you — your family, your job, any type of extra-curricular activity you're involved with, church involvement or any religious organization, helping kids, sports programs.
These are all things we want to look at so we can try to make the argument that you're a good productive member of society who would never hurt anybody, because when they see you with a gun, they see you in a different way — a way that really is not good for you — so it's up to me to turn the tide and turn the mind of the prosecutors.
Misdemeanor vs. Felony Gun Charges in California
If' it's a misdemeanor case, the City Attorney's office will prosecute it. If it's a felony case, the District Attorney's office will prosecute it. Both offices are very tough on gun cases and a lot of the head prosecutors in the branch courts — there's 38 courts in Los Angeles county. The consequences of illegal gun possession in California can be severe.
They really go out of their way to send people to prison if they can who use guns to commit crimes. They go out of their way to take their rights to bear arms away from them. For domestic violence charges, you lose your right to own, use or possess a gun or any ammunition for ten years if you get convicted of a domestic violence-related offense.
This just gives you a kind of inkling of how serious gun cases are taken in Los Angeles county. So, I think what you really need to do when you meet with somebody like me who has a lot of experience.
I think we need to sit down and figure out (1) can you win the case? If you can, then we'll set the case for jury trial and put together our defense and beat the prosecutors. Then we don't even need to talk to them about any type of a resolution.
If on the other hand, the have the evidence against you, then we have to talk about what is most important. Some of the things that we're looking at are probation, jail time, prison time, the loss of your ability to own, use or possess a weapon.
So, you have to start thinking about what's most important to you. Obviously, nobody wants any of these consequences to befall them, but we have to look at them realistically and figure out what the prosecutors are likely going to want as punishment for a gun-related offense.
Also, what a judge might do if we try to go around the prosecutors and go directly to the judge to resolve the case. These are all considerations if you've got a gun-related offense in Los Angeles county.
Reviewing the Specific Details of the Gun Charges
The next thing we must look at is whether you hurt anybody? If you didn't hurt anybody with the gun, then you start to get the argument that you're not a danger. The situation is an aberration that won't happen again.
Then, moving forward, we make moves and put precautions in place to show the judge and the prosecutor that you're not a threat to the community and if they give you a break, you won't let them down. You're not going to do anything in the future that makes them look like they really didn't do anything to really truly punish you.
Because that's one of the big considerations in these gun-related offenses, remember, they're politically driven, and the government feels that they have to take a strong position or put themselves in jeopardy.
If you have a gun-related offense in Los Angeles and you need help, you've come to the right place. Pick up the phone. Call and ask to set up an appointment with Ron Hedding. I stand at he ready to help you.
Hedding Law Firm is a criminal defense law firm located in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles County at 16000 Ventura Blvd #1208 Encino, CA 91436. Contact us for a free case evaluation at (213) 542-0979.