In Gardena, California, there are countless regulations related to firearms. These regulations control everything from the purchase, possession, and use of firearms within the borders of the State of California. However, most gun crimes are related to the ownership and unlawful use of firearms. Gardena gun laws are very strict, which can lead to serious criminal penalties. If you have been charged with a gun crime in L.A. County, your first action should be to hire a criminal defense attorney with experience with gun crimes.
William S. Kroger is one of Gardena's best defense attorneys. He has extensive experience defending the rights of clients accused of gun crimes. Contact William S. Kroger Attorney at Law to discuss the merits of your case with an experienced gun crimes defense attorney.
Gardena Gun Crimes Explained
California gun crimes cover the entire spectrum of criminal law, from the lowest of misdemeanors up to serious felonies. Gun laws in California are complicated, with dozens of exceptions and special rules that relate to some gun crimes but not others. An experienced California criminal defense attorney will be able to advise you when and where you can own and carry a firearm.
Unlawful use of a Gun vs. Possession of a Gun in Gardena, CA
The majority of California gun crimes relate to either unlawfully using a firearm or unlawfully possessing one. California has a series of statutes related to owning or possessing guns; each of them is unique and carries its own penalties. The most common gun crimes involving unlawful use include:
- California Penal Code § 417 – The “brandishing a weapon” law
- California Penal Code § 26100 – California's “drive-by shooting” law
- California Penal Code § 245(a)(2) – Assault with a firearm
- California Penal Code § 246 / 247 – Shooting at dwellings, vehicles, or aircraft
- California Penal Code § 246.3 – Grossly negligent discharge of a firearm
The most common gun crimes involving unlawful possession of a firearm include:
- California Penal Code § 29800 - Felon with a firearm
- California Penal Code § 25400 – Carrying a concealed firearm
- California Penal Code § 25850 – Carrying a loaded firearm in public
Elements and Potential Penalties for Conviction of a Gardena Gun Crime
The elements a prosecutor must prove to convict you of a gun crime and the potential punishment you might face can vary greatly depending on which California gun crime you are charged with. The most serious of these crimes can cost you years of your life in prison.
Unlawful Use Crimes In Gardena
Brandishing a Weapon
It unlawful pursuant to California Penal Code § 417 to, while in the presence of another person, draw or an exhibit a gun in a rude, angry, or threatening manner. Additionally, Section 417 makes it is illegal to use a firearm in a fight or quarrel unless otherwise allowed by law. It doesn't make any difference if the firearm is loaded or not; you can be convicted of brandishing a weapon whether it is loaded or not.
A conviction for brandishing a weapon can be charged as a misdemeanor, a “wobbler,” or a felony depending on the circumstances. Under California law, a wobbler is a crime that can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony at the prosecutor's discretion.
It is a misdemeanor to brandish a pistol or other gun that can be concealed in a public place. Doing so carries a jail sentence between 3 months and 1 year as well as a maximum fine of $1,000. It is also a misdemeanor to brandish any firearm anywhere other than a public place, which is punishable by at least 3 months in jail and at most 1 year in jail. Finally, brandishing an imitation firearm carries a minimum sentence of 30 days in jail.
You will be charged with a wobbler in cases where a weapon was brandished at a child day-care center that is open, in the presence of a peace officer, or against the occupant of a motor vehicle. Wobblers charged as misdemeanors carry a sentence of between 3 months and 1 year in jail. Wobblers charged as felonies carry a sentence of between 16 months and 3 years in prison.
Finally, brandishing a firearm is a felony if it is done with the intent of preventing or resisting arrest and carries a maximum sentence of 4 years in prison.
Gardena's “drive-by shooting” law
California's drive-by shooting law which applies to Gardena is fairly broad; it is not only illegal under California Penal Code § 26100 to discharge a firearm from a vehicle, but it is also illegal to allow someone else to do so. That means both the shooter and the owner may be charged. It isn't necessary for the vehicle to be moving for this statute to apply.
The drive-by shooting law is typically a wobbler. Misdemeanor charges carry a maximum of 1 year in jail, while felony charges carry a maximum of 3 years in state prison. However, a shooter will automatically be charged with a felony if the gun was discharged at another person. That felony carries a maximum sentence of 7 years in state prison.
Assault with a Firearm in Gardena
Under California Penal Code § 245(a)(2), it is unlawful to assault another person with a firearm. In this case, assault is the unlawful attempt to commit a violent injury with the present ability to do so.
The penalties for a conviction of assault with a firearm depend on the type of firearm used. Assault with a machine gun, assault weapon, or .50 BMG rifle is a felony with a maximum sentence of 12 years in prison. Assault with a semi-automatic pistol is also a felony that carries a maximum sentence of 9 years in state prison. All other incidents of assault with a firearm are charged as wobblers. The maximum penalty is four years in state prison. Additionally, this charge can be enhanced when the assault targets peace officers or school employees.
Shooting at dwellings, vehicles, or aircraft in Gardena
It is a violation of either California Penal Code § 246 or § 247 to discharge a firearm at a dwelling, vehicle, or aircraft. The penalties are much steeper if the dwelling, vehicle, or aircraft was inhabited at the time of the shooting. A conviction for shooting at an inhabited building, vehicle or aircraft carries a maximum sentence of 7 years in prison; the maximum sentence is only three years if the building, vehicle, or aircraft was uninhabited.
Grossly negligent discharge of a firearm in Gardena
It is a violation of California Penal Code § 246.3 to negligently discharge a firearm. Grossly negligent means discharging the gun in such a way that could result in injury or death to a person. This applies to firearms as well as BB guns. Negligent discharge is a wobbler that carries a maximum sentence of 3 years in county jail.
Unlawful Possession Crimes In Gardena, CA
Felon with a Firearm
According to California Penal Code § 29800, it is unlawful for anyone convicted of a felony, convicted of a domestic violence charge, or addicted to narcotic drugs from owning, possessing, purchasing, or receiving a firearm. A conviction under section 29800 is a felony that can also lead to a revocation of your right to own a firearm, potentially for the rest of your life.
Carrying a Concealed Firearm
California Penal Code § 25400 makes it illegal to conceal a firearm on your person or in your vehicle. It is important to note that you can only be convicted if you knowingly concealed the weapon. If you were unaware of the firearm you aren't guilty of the crime. The statute also makes exceptions for carrying a firearm that is unloaded and either locked in the trunk of your vehicle or in a locked container.
Carrying a concealed firearm in California is a misdemeanor that has a maximum sentence of 1 year in jail. However, the charge may be enhanced to a felony if you:
- Are a convicted felon
- Have a prior gun crime conviction
- You knew the firearm was stolen
- You are actively involved in a street gang
- You possessed the gun unlawfully, or
- You are prohibited from possessing a firearm due to a previous conviction for a violent offense
Carrying a loaded firearm in public
It is unlawful under California Penal Code § 25850 to carry a loaded firearm in public. This includes carrying a loaded weapon in a vehicle that is not unloaded and locked in a secure container. Carrying a loaded firearm in public is a misdemeanor generally. However, the same factors that enhance a charge of carrying a concealed weapon also enhance carrying a loaded firearm in public to a felony.
Potential Legal Defense Strategies For Gardena Gun Crimes
Every California gun charge has different defenses that you may be able to rely on. Not all defenses are available for all gun charges. However, here are some of the most common defenses relied on for gun charge cases:
- You have a permit for the weapon
- You acted in self-defense
- You didn't know you were carrying the firearm
- The gun was found during an illegal search and seizure
Hiring an Experienced Gardena Gun Crime Defense Attorney
Hiring the right defense attorney is critical. If you have been charged with a gun crime in Gardena, you can count on William S. Kroger Attorney at Law to defend your rights. Contact William S. Kroger Attorney at Law today for a free consultation.