The state of California has some of the strictest weapons laws in the country, prohibiting the possession of certain weapons and even banning some people from being legally able to own an otherwise legal weapon. When a weapon is used in a crime, the state adds additional, often very strict penalties to the charges. If you have been accused of this type of crime in Vista, weapons lawyer Peter M. Liss can help.
Illegal Weapons in California
There are many specific state laws defining what weapons are illegal in California. Some of the most common weapons people are charged with possessing include:
- Billy clubs
- Telescoping Rods
- Brass knuckles
- Throwing stars
- Concealed knives
- Spring loaded knives, such as switchblades
- Any weapon carried in a concealed fashion
- Pepper spray canisters larger than 2.5 ounces
The state’s gun laws are also complex. For example, machine guns, assault weapons and large ammunition feeding devices generally cannot be possessed in California. However, some types of firearms may be possessed if owned before the current laws were passed. Regardless of the type, guns must be safely stored where a minor cannot access the weapon without obtaining parental permission first.
Even a weapon that is ordinarily legal to possess, may be illegal to carry in certain areas, including schools and airports. Because firearms and weapons charges are so complex in our state, it is unfortunately common for people to be arrested for a crime when they were unaware that they were doing anything wrong. If you have any questions about whether or not you can possess a certain weapon or carry it in a certain location, it is best to speak with a Vista weapons attorney rather than possibly breaking the law.
The specific penalties for criminal possession of a weapon in California vary greatly depending on what type of weapon you were arrested with. There are many different defenses to these crimes, including having an authorized collection of historical weapons, having a weapon you are legally permitted to own as a martial arts teacher or using a weapon as part of a movie or television production, but it is also easy to say something that may weaken your case when you are talking to the police, which is why it is so important to always insist on having your criminal defense attorney present.
Lost Second Amendment Rights
Additionally, some people may lose their right to carry firearms if they have a certain type of conviction on their criminal record. All felony convictions will result in this gun prohibition, but violent misdemeanor crimes, like domestic violence or hate crime will also result in a firearms ban. If you’re in the military, this could essentially end your career in the service, even if you are not discharged as a result of the conviction as service members frequently need to be able to handle firearms.
Using a weapon while committing a crime will often result in enhanced penalties under California law. For example, while simple assault charges are normally punishable by up to six months in jail, assault with a deadly weapon charges can carry a sentence of up to four years in prison and will add a strike to your record under California’s three strikes rule.
It is against the law to carry a gun while in possession of certain drugs, including cocaine, heroin, PCP, meth and similar drugs. Doing so is a felony that could subject you to up to four years in prison.
Under California’s 10-20-Life rule, carrying a gun while committing certain violent and sex crimes can add an additional 10 years to your sentence. If the gun was fired, 20 years can be tacked on and if someone was seriously injured or killed, a life sentence may be added.
Because weapon enhancements can add so much time to a charge, it is critical you do not speak to police without your Vista weapons attorney present, otherwise you may end up accidentally offering a confession rather than a defense.
If you have been accused of breaking a weapon law in San Diego County, please call a violent crime defense lawyer like Peter M. Liss at (760) 643-4050 to schedule a free consultation.
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