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The right to bear arms under the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution is limited by the kinds of weapons people are allowed to possess or own in California. Under the state’s law, people who are accused of possessing, selling or manufacturing certain dangerous weapons may face the potential of prison time and a felony conviction. It is important for you to get help from a criminal defense attorney who is experienced and knowledgeable with how to defend against weapons charges.
California Penal Code § 16590
California Penal Code § 16590 specifically lists a number of different types of weapons that are illegal in the state. In addition to certain types of guns and ammunition, the list also includes certain knives or swords. The prohibited firearms and ammunition include any of the following:
● Short-barreled rifles or shotguns
● Firearms that are not recognizable as being firearms
● Cane, zip or wallet guns
● Firearms that are not detectable
● Pistols that are unconventional
● Flechette-dart ammunition
● Bullets with explosive agents
● large-capacity magazines
● Concealing firearm containers
● Multiburst trigger activators
Knives and swords that are illegal in California include:
● Cane swords
● Ballistic, writing pen, air gauge, belt-buckle and lipstick knives
Also prohibited are certain martial arts weapons, including shurikens and nunchakus, as well as brass or metal knuckles, leaded canes, replica grenades made out of metal and military practice grenades. The law does have exceptions regarding who might be prosecuted for possessing dangerous weapons. People who are exempt from the law include those who are using them for producing films, collectors of antiques, authorized historians and martial arts studios.
What the prosecutor must prove
A prosecutor has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you knowingly possessed, imported into California, manufactured, caused to be manufactured or offered one of the listed prohibited weapons for sale.
Legal defenses for the offense
If you are one of the types of people that are exempt from prosecution under the law, that is an obvious defense. Your criminal defense lawyer would simply provide proof of your status to the prosecutor in order to secure a dismissal of your charges in that scenario.
Another factor your lawyer will look at is how your weapon was found in the first place. If it was found while the police were performing an unconstitutional search and seizure without a warrant and without probable cause, your lawyer may file an evidentiary motion in order to seek suppression of the weapon as evidence against you in your criminal case. If such a motion is successful, that means the prosecutor would not be allowed to introduce the weapon or testimony about the weapon at your trial and would likely have to dismiss your case.
When you are charged with manufacturing, selling or possessing a dangerous weapon, the prosecutor could charge you with either a misdemeanor or a felony. As a wobbler offense, the decision of whether it will be charged as a felony or misdemeanor will be left up to the prosecutor and his or her discretion. Prosecutors normally look at your criminal record as well as the circumstances of your offense when making their charging decisions. If you are convicted of a felony, you could face up to three years in prison. A misdemeanor conviction might mean you could face up to one year in county jail.
How an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles might help
Courts treat weapons offenses very seriously, and the potential penalties if you are convicted are severe. If you are currently facing charges of manufacturing, selling or possessing a dangerous weapon, it is very important that you get help from an experienced criminal defense attorney in Los Angeles as soon as possible. An attorney will review your case in order to determine the best defensive approach to take. He or she will then work to get a favorable plea for you or to try to get the charges dismissed. In some cases, a lawyer may advise you to fight your case through trial, depending on what happened. To learn more about how our skilled attorneys can help you, schedule your consultation today.