Carrying a Concealed Firearm
What Does “Carrying a Concealed Firearm” Mean
Carrying a concealed firearm means that you physically possess the firearm, whether it is on your person or in something that you are holding. A firearm is defined as a device designed to be used as a weapon from which a projectile by the force of an explosion or other forms of combustion is expelled through a barrel. This could be a pistol, revolver, handgun, rifle, shotgun, or taser.
Penalties for Carrying a Concealed Firearm
Carrying a concealed firearm is a wobbler, meaning it can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances. This crime is only a felony if there are aggravating factors.
When charged as a misdemeanor the penalties for this crime include:
- Up to one year in a county jail, and/or
- A maximum fine of $1,000.
You may have to serve misdemeanor probation but if you do you will likely not serve any jail time. You are more likely to serve jail time and pay a fine if:
- You have a criminal history.
- You have a history of violence.
- If it is found that you intended to use the concealed gun.
- You failed to cooperate with the police during your arrest.
Carrying a concealed firearm will be charged as a felony if:
- You have been convicted of a felony in the past or any other California firearm offense,
- The firearm was stolen, which you knew, or had reasonable cause to believe that it was stolen,
- You are an active participant in a criminal street gang,
- You are not in lawful possession of the firearm,
- You are prohibited from owning a firearm under California’s felon with a firearm law,
- You are prohibited from owning a firearm because you attempted to commit murder, rape, lewd acts on a child, robbery, kidnapping, or carjacking.
The penalties of this crime as a felony include:
- Probation with up to one year in a county jail, or
- Sixteen months, two or three years in a county jail, and/or
- A maximum fine of $10,000.
Legal Defenses for Carrying a Concealed Firearm
There are a variety of ways to fight a concealed firearm charge with an experienced California criminal defense lawyer. Some of the most common legal defenses include:
You didn’t know you were carrying the firearm
If you did not know or realize that you were carrying a firearm then you are not guilty. It’s possible that someone else could have put the firearm in your jacket or bag without you knowing.
The firearm was in the trunk or in a locked container in your vehicle
In order for this legal defense to be valid, the firearm has to be in the trunk of your car or in a locked container in your car (not the glovebox) and you are legally entitled to own or possess a firearm.
You have a license to carry a concealed weapon
If you have a license to carry a concealed weapon then you are not guilty of this crime. You do have to prove that you have a valid license.
The concealed firearm was in your home or place of business
As long as you are entitled to own or possess a firearm, you can carry a concealed firearm in your own home or in your own business. You have to own the business, not just work there. This rule doesn’t usually include those who live or work in their cars. It does, however, allow taxi cab drivers to carry a concealed firearm in their vehicle without violating the law.
The firearm was obtained through an illegal search and seizure
If an officer “pats you down” without a valid California search warrant or probable cause then he or she is violating the Fourth Amendment. If your concealed firearm is found during this unlawful search, then it becomes inadmissible in court.
You carried the firearm in self-defense
It’s possible to fight charges of carrying a concealed firearm under California’s self-defense laws. These only apply if you believed your life was in grave danger because of another person’s specific threats or conduct against you justifiable for a court-ordered restraining order.
A police officer is guilty of police misconduct if:
- He or she plants a weapon on your person or in your car,
- Lies in his or her police report about the details of your case,
- Testifies falsely about the facts of your case,
- Obtains your confession through force or threats,
- Violates your civil rights in any way.
If it is found that the same police officer has had misconduct reports against him or her, then the judge may dismiss the carrying a concealed firearm charge or a jury may not find you guilty.
Hire an experienced California criminal defense lawyer to fight the carrying a concealed firearm charges.