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The penal code that covers “Felon with a firearm” laws is Penal Code 29800 PC. Beyond the simple penal code entry, though, is an incredibly complex law that needs a bit further investigating before you completely understand it and its many implications. Under this penal code, it’s not just people with felonies who can’t own or carry handguns, but also people who:
– Have been convicted of specified misdemeanors
– Are narcotic drug addicts
If you’re a felon or in either of the other two categories, you can’t:
any gun. Gun rights are lost for a minimum of 10 years in some cases, for life in others. If you’re convicted when you’re a juvenile, you can’t own or possess a gun until you’ve reached 30 years of age. Technicalities and exceptions are plentiful in this law and a defense lawyer can seize on them to help your case.
The burden of proof is on the prosecution to show that you (1) are in one of the above mentioned categories, (2) owned, received, purchased, or possessed a gun, and (3) Knew of the presence of the gun. This leaves broad range for your defense attorney to go to work for you.
There are a lot of defenses against prosecution here and your attorney will know best how to construct a case in your favor. One of the first defenses is that you did not legally possess the gun in the first place. This means that if the prosecution can’t prove you possessed the firearm, you aren’t going to be convicted. Acquittal in this instance is very swift and a good defense attorney is great at swinging juries and judges on their side.
An example of this defense would be a police officer finding a gun in your home that you share with a roommate. You’re arrested for being in possession of a firearm even though you’re a felon. A defense attorney can successfully argue that you had no knowledge of the gun being in the home since it belonged to your roommate. In fact, you were never in control or possession of the gun. In some cases, the prosecution would drop the case after learning the facts or they would take it to trial and a good defense attorney would have you acquitted of the charges.
A second defense would be that you didn’t know about the firearm’s presence in the first place. If you borrowed a friend’s car and that car had a gun in it, the police might arrest you if they pulled you over and found you had certain misdemeanors on your record that prohibited you from having a firearm. In reality, you were borrowing the vehicle and didn’t even know the gun was there. No worries! A good defense attorney can get this charge dropped very quickly, and even if you have to go to trial, you’ve got a great chance of winning.
Immediate self-defense or the defense of others might be another defense for possessing a gun. If someone is threatening you or a friend, possessing a gun can be excusable under certain conditions, but your defense attorney needs to prove that you met all of those conditions, otherwise a conviction is still possible. That’s why having a good defense attorney is so vital to your cause.
Here’s the scary part: The penalties. Violations of Penal Code 29800 is a felony. You could get up to 3 years in county jail and a $10,000 fine. Plus, you’re going to have to forfeit your weapon, and of course that’s another felony on your record. While it’s not worth risking to be in possession of a firearm, if you’ve already been accused it’s time to act now on your own behalf and secure a good lawyer who can fight for your cause while you go on with your life. As someone convicted of this crime, you’ve already got a previous felony or misdemeanor on your record. Don’t risk adding another one by failing to secure a lawyer. Call an attorney today before it’s too late.