Illegal Possession of Weapons in San Diego
People are not allowed to freely own, possess, and manufacture any weapon or object that can be used as a weapon.
Laws Regulating People
California Penal Code section 29800 prohibits drug addicts, convicted felons, and certain misdemeanor conviction from acquiring or owning a gun.
In addition to the regulations by the state of California, the federal government further prohibits gun ownership if you are an illegal alien, have a protective court order against you, have been dishonorably discharged from military service, or are under indictment for an offense that carries imprisonment.
Laws Regulating Weapons
California Penal Code section 12020 prohibits manufacturing, selling, and/or possessing certain firearms, explosives, or other weapons absent very specific circumstances.
Understanding Penal Code Section 12020
In consideration of the seriousness of illegal possession of weapons, California has criminalized it under Penal Code section 12020. Penal Code section 12020 punishes two types of crimes: First, Penal Code section 12020(a)(1) prohibits the manufacturing, selling, or possessing of over 20 different types of weapons. Second, Penal Code section 12020(a)(2) prohibits the carrying of concealed explosive devices, dirks, or daggers.
Basically, to convict someone of PC 12020, the prosecutor must prove each of the following elements:
1) The defendant possessed, manufactured, caused to be manufactured;
2) Imported into California, kept for sale, or offered, or exposed for sale, gave, or lent weapon;
3) The defendant knew possessed, manufactured, caused to be manufactured, imported, kept for sale, offered, or exposed for sale, gave, or lent weapon
Illegal Possession of Weapons May Be Filed As a Misdemeanor or a Felony
California Penal Code Section 12020 is a wobbler, which means that the prosecutor can charge the crime as either a misdemeanor or a felony. When deciding on a felony or misdemeanor illegal possession of weapons, a prosecutor will take into consideration the facts of the case and the defendant’s criminal history.
If convicted of illegal possession of weapons as a misdemeanor, you may face the following:
1) A sentence of up to one year in county jail;
2) Informal probation;
3) A fine of up to $1,000.
If convicted of illegal possession of weapons as a felony, you may face the following:
1) A sentence of up to 16 months, 2 or 3 years in California State Prison;
2) Formal probation;
3) A fine up to $10,000.
In addition to all of the above penalties, in San Diego a conviction for this offense may result in the loss of the weapon.
Given the severity of the penalties involved with an illegal possession of weapons charge, your criminal defense attorney will have to determine which legal defense theory will work best in your particular situation. Possible defenses associated with this charge can include:
- You have a valid permit for the type of weapon you are charged with possessing;
- You didn't know the weapon you are charged with possessing had the characteristics of a prohibited weapon;
- The weapon you are charged with possessing is not a legally prohibited weapon;
- The weapon you are charged with possessing was discovered during an illegal search;
- Your arrest resulted from police misconduct.