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What Are the Ramifications of Gun Charges in Criminal Cases?


Today, especially in Los Angeles county, gun use is taboo when it comes to criminal cases because so many people are being injured and killed related to guns.  There is a strict policy both at the District Attorney’s office, which prosecutes felonies and at the City Attorney’s office, which prosecutes misdemeanors related to guns.

The City Attorney has special gun prosecutors that all they do is prosecute misdemeanor cases where guns are involved.  This gives you an idea of how seriously they take the use of firearms in criminal cases.

Gun Charges in California

Even at the felony level, if someone is charged related to a gun possession case, I’m seeing now in LA county that almost every gun possession case is being booked and sometimes filed as a felony. In contrast, it used to be only a straight misdemeanor to carry a gun.

So, it’s just surprising politically how vicious, especially the police, have gotten because they’re concerned that gun use will cause their officers to be hurt or even killed.  That’s the perspective you’re facing.

There’s a division when you talk about gun use in a criminal case.  One is crimes that involve just the use of a gun.  Someone possesses a firearm; someone fires a gun at somebody. The other one is what is called enhancements.  Let’s say someone uses a gun to commit a Penal Code 211 PC robbery.  There is a 10-year enhancement in LA county for firearms used during a robbery.

So, the person will be looking at ten years for the use of the gun plus whatever they got for the robbery.  A high term for a robbery is six years.  So, that person would be facing 16 years in prison served at 85% because that’s a violent felony.

So, you start to feel how harshly gun cases are prosecuted, especially in LA county. Our Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers will explain the topic in more detail below.

What Are California Statutes Related to Weapons?

  • Penal Code 12022 PC – armed with a firearm during a felony,
  • Penal Code 12022.2 PC – ammunition to penetrate armor,
  • Penal Code 12022.3 PC – use of a gun in a sex crime,
  • Penal Code 12022.4 PC – aiding and abetting a felony with a gun,
  • Penal Code 12022.5 PC – use of a firearm in a felony,
  • Penal Code 12022.53 PC – use a gun and you’re done law,
  • Penal Code 12022.55 PC – discharge firearm during a felony,
  • Penal Code 16590 PC – prohibited weapons,
  • Penal Code 171(b) PC – weapon possession in public buildings,
  • Penal Code 171.5 PC – weapons at California airports,
  • Penal Code 171.7 PC – weapons at public transit facilities,
  • Penal Code 186.22 PC – street gang enhancement,
  • Penal Code 22610 PC – stun gun and taser laws,
  • Penal Code 245(a)(1) PC – assault with a deadly weapon,
  • Penal Code 246 PC – shooting at an inhabited dwelling,
  • Penal Code 24610 PC – undetectable firearm,
  • Penal Code 25100 PC – storage with a prohibited person,
  • Penal Code 25400 PC – carrying a concealed firearm,
  • Penal Code 25850 PC – carrying a loaded firearm,
  • Penal Code 26100 PC – drive-by shooting law,
  • Penal Code 26350 PC – open carry of an unloaded firearm,
  • Penal Code 29800 PC – felon in possession of a firearm,
  • Penal Code 30315 PC – possession of armor-piercing bullets,
  • Penal Code 30600 PC – assault weapons and rifles,
  • Penal Code 30605 PC – possession of an assault weapon,
  • Penal Code 33215 PC – short-barreled rifles,
  • Penal Code 33410 PC – possession of a silencer,
  • Penal Code 33600 PC – zip guns,
  • Penal Code 417 PC – brandishing a weapon,
  • Penal Code 417.25 PC – pointing a laser scope,
  • Penal Code 417.6 PC – inflicting a bodily injury,
  • Penal Code 626.9 PC – gun fee school zone.

Assault with a Firearm – Penal Code PC 245(a)(2)

Assault with a firearm charge is defined under California Penal Code 245(a)(2). The prosecutor would file a form of assault crime if you used a firearm to commit an assault crime.Assault with a Firearm - Penal Code PC 245(a)(2)

It’s closely related to assault with a deadly weapon under California Penal Code Section 245(a)(1). Still, the difference is that the assault was committed with an actual firearm, and the assault was committed with enough force that it was likely to produce great bodily injury.

If convicted, you could be facing harsh legal consequences that will make it difficult for you to find employment and limit other opportunities. If you have a prior felony conviction, you could also be at risk of getting a ‘strike” under California’s three-strikes law.

You will face up to 6 months to 1 year in county jail, a fine of up to $1,000, or both jail and a fine. If convicted of a felony case of assault with a firearm, the legal penalties include up to 4 years in a California state prison, a fine of up to $10,000, or both jail and a fine.

The Policy of the New Los Angeles District Attorney

As I write this post, the new District Attorney has backed off on some of these gun allegations.  So, many times, prosecutors are not using the 10-year mandatory minimum.

Often, they’re using another gun law that is 3-4-10.  So, in that circumstance, someone could get three years instead of 10 years for gun use. Sometimes gun cases are being struck altogether because of either the District Attorney’s policies at this time or even Prop 57 in prison striking some of these enhancements. Criminal Defense Lawyer in Los Angeles

So, you do still have a fighting chance if you are being prosecuted for a gun-related offense. Still, you’d better get a good attorney on your side to make sure they look at every angle and utilize all of the mitigating circumstances available to you to get the best result.

I’ve been doing this now for 30 years.  I’ve defended people who are charged with possessing and using guns.  I’ve defended people related to enhancements related to gun use all over California, specifically in LA county.

So, if you or a loved one is charged with a gun case in LA county or any of the surrounding counties, you’ve come to the right place.  Pick up the phone.  Ask for a meeting with Ron Hedding.

I can meet with you either in person, over the phone, or via email — whatever works for you — but you should act immediately. The Hedding Law Firm offers a free case consultation by phone or the contact form.

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About the Author

Named Top Los Angeles Criminal Attorney by LA Times and named one of the Top 100 criminal defense attorneys in California by the National Trial Lawyers Association. I'm the attorney other lawyers hire to defend them.

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