Carrying a concealed firearm in California is a criminal act under Penal Code 25400. This article will explain the elements of the crime, the penalties for a conviction, and possible legal defenses that a Riverside County criminal defense lawyer can use to fight the charges.
What is Carrying a Concealed Firearm?
Under Penal Code 25400, it is a crime to carry a concealed firearm on your person or in a vehicle. The law defines a “concealed firearm” as a handgun or other firearm that is not openly visible to the public. This includes firearms hidden in a backpack, purse, briefcase, or glove box. The only exception to this rule is if the firearm is being transported in a locked container.
California law further defines a “firearm” as any device designed to be used as a weapon, from which a projectile is expelled or discharged through the force of an explosion or other means. This includes handguns, rifles, shotguns, and other firearms.
What Are the Elements of the Crime?
In order to convict someone of carrying a concealed firearm, the prosecution must prove certain elements beyond a reasonable doubt. These elements are:
• The defendant carried a firearm on their person or in a vehicle
• The firearm was substantially concealed
• The defendant knew that they were carrying a firearm
• The defendant knew that the firearm was substantially concealed
The prosecution must prove all of these elements beyond a reasonable doubt in order to convict the defendant.
What Are the Penalties for a Conviction?
Carrying a concealed firearm is a “wobbler” offense, meaning it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the facts of the case. If charged as a misdemeanor, the defendant faces up to one year in county jail, a maximum fine of $1,000, or both. If charged as a felony, the defendant faces 16 months, two years, or three years in state prison, a maximum fine of $10,000, or both.
What Legal Defenses Can a Riverside County Criminal Defense Lawyer Use?
There are a number of possible legal defenses that a criminal defense lawyer can use to fight charges of carrying a concealed firearm. These include:
• Lack of knowledge: The defendant must have known they were carrying a firearm and that it was substantially concealed in order to be convicted of the crime. If the defendant did not know they were carrying a firearm or that it was substantially concealed, they cannot be convicted.
• Constitutional violations: If the police violated the defendant’s constitutional rights at any point during the investigation or arrest, the case may be dismissed.
• Self-defense: In very limited situations, it may not be a crime to carry a concealed firearm for self-defense, provided the defendant had a legal right to possess the firearm in the first place.
If you have been charged with Carrying a Concealed Firearm (Penal Code 25400) in Murrieta, Temecula, Menifee, Lake Elsinore, Wildomar, Winchester or Hemet, it is important that you seek the assistance of an experienced Riverside County criminal defense lawyer right away. The consequences of a conviction for this offense can include significant fines, jail time, and a permanent criminal record. An experienced attorney from the Law Office of Nic Cocis can help you determine your best possible defense strategies and work to get the charges against you reduced or dismissed altogether. Don't wait—contact us today to discuss your case and learn your legal rights and options.