California has some of the strictest weapons laws in the country, ranging from what weapons anyone can possess to who can possess otherwise legal weapons. When weapons are used in crimes, the state adds additional, often very strict penalties to the charges. If you have been accused of a weapons crime in Vista, violent crime lawyer Peter M. Liss can help.
Illegal Weapons in California
Everything from brass knuckles to billy clubs to throwing stars are illegal in the state. But even items that are legal are still subject to a number of restrictions. For example, folding knives cannot be spring loaded and pepper spray canisters must be under 2.5 ounces in size.
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 weapons may be possessed if owned before the current laws were passed. All guns must be safely stored where a minor cannot access the weapon without obtaining parental permission first.
Even weapons that are legal to possess are generally 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 them in a certain location, it is best to speak with a Vista weapons attorney rather than possibly breaking the law.
Lost Second Amendment Rights
Additionally, some people may lose their right to carry firearms if they have been convicted of a crime. 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. 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 weapons enhancements can add so much time to a charge, it is critical you do not speak to police without your Vista weapons crime attorney present, otherwise you may end up accidentally offering a confession rather than a defense.
If you have been accused of breaking a weapons law in California, please call a Vista weapons charge lawyer like Peter M. Liss at (760) 643-4050 as soon as possible.
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