Arrested for a Gun Crime in the Bay Area?
Our San Jose Gun Lawyer Can Help
There are numerous federal and state firearm laws that impose strict penalties for violations, such as possessing a gun with a domestic violence conviction or unlawfully possessing a concealed firearm. Both federal and state gun crime convictions can limit your housing and employment opportunities and may lead to fines, probation and time behind bars depending on the circumstances. A conviction can also cost you a professional license or may bar you from obtaining one in the future. If convicted, you could also lose your right to legally own firearms.
There are defense strategies for fighting back against gun crime and weapons charges. For instance, you can lawfully defend yourself and others with a firearm in some cases. You may be able to argue you shot a person because you had reason to believe your life was in imminent and grave danger. It may also be possible to argue that you were unaware you were carrying a firearm. This is a common reason why people are stopped with guns and sometimes charged with a crime. However, these are only two of many possible defense strategies that may be able to help you avoid a conviction.
San Jose gun lawyer Thomas Nicholas Cvietkovich can review your situation and help you determine options for fighting gun crime charges. Our firm takes cases in San Jose and the surrounding areas. If you want to discuss avoiding some of the possible consequences discussed above, we offer free initial consultations.
Common Weapon Charges in California
As we mentioned, there are federal and state gun laws that have different penalties. There is sometimes an overlap between federal and state charges.
However, California has some of the strictest gun laws in the country. Even if you are legally allowed to own a firearm, you can be charged with an offense for many reasons. You can be arrested and charged with a California gun crime if you:
- Carry and/or possess an illegal firearm (assault rifles) or firearm accessory (such as silencers);
- Carry and/or possess a firearm if you are not legally allowed to;
- Improperly transport a loaded, concealed firearm on your person or in your vehicle;
- Commit crimes with a firearm such as assault, grand theft auto, domestic violence, robbery or rape;
- Carry a firearm in public, as you cannot openly carry a firearm, even if it is unloaded, in public;
- Bringing firearms near schools or government buildings;
- Failure to register a firearm;
- Possessing a firearm after receiving a domestic violence conviction;
- Carrying a gun while possessing a controlled substance.
These are a couple of examples of actions where you could run afoul of state or federal laws. Serious gun crimes are often felonies, so the potential consequences are far more serious. Felony convictions can impose significant limitations on your life and should always be taken extremely seriously.
California Weapons Offenses: What Is a Wobbler?
The outcome of a weapons offense depends on the nature of the crime and other factors. Some weapon-related offenses are known as “wobblers”, meaning the prosecution can pursue a misdemeanor or felony conviction.
The weapon involved in the alleged crime and your intent could determine how the judge treats the offense. Prior criminal convictions may also factor into the judge’s decision.
Examples of Consequences for Common California Weapons Offenses
The possible penalties of a conviction may include jail or prison time, fines, probation, loss of gun rights and a criminal record. However, there are more specific examples of consequences for certain offenses listed below.
- Possession of an unregistered firearm or concealed carry violations. Many of these crimes, even misdemeanors, carry a 10-year ban on possession of a firearm.
- Possessing a firearm and a controlled substance. If law enforcement charges you with carrying a gun legally, but while in possession of illegal substances, then you could face stiff penalties and jail time.
- Assault with a deadly weapon. If you receive an assault with a deadly weapon charge, you could be facing 1 to 4 years in prison and a lifetime firearm ban. Depending on the circumstances, prison or jail time for an assault with a deadly weapon charge may exceed 4 years. There are aggravating factors that can increase the possible penalties. If the alleged crime is a misdemeanor, then you could face a maximum of 1 year in jail.
Illegal Weapons in California
In addition to firearms, California has a strict ban on many other types of weapons. Being charged with the manufacture, sale or possession of an illegal weapon can result in serious consequences.
Penal Code 16590 contains a list of illegal weapons in California. A few prohibited weapons include:
- Lipstick case knives
- Large-capacity magazines
- Metal knuckles
Penalties can include a misdemeanor conviction with up to 1 year in jail and a $1,000 fine. For a felony conviction, you could face up to 3 years behind bars and a $10,000 fine.
Defense Strategies for Weapons Charges
The strongest legal strategy will depend on the unique circumstances of your situation. However, some common defense strategies for a gun or weapons charge include:
- You acted defensively to prevent harm to yourself or others;
- You were wrongfully accused of the alleged crime;
- Your actions did not actually involve the use of a deadly weapon or were not capable of causing serious harm.
Our San Jose gun lawyer can review the circumstances of your potential case and help you determine which defense options may be available.
Need Representation After a Gun Crime?
If you have been charged with a weapons offense or gun crime in San Jose or the surrounding areas, we recommend that you speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer about your situation.
At the Law Offices of Thomas Nicholas Cvietkovich, our San Jose criminal defense attorney can help you understand your rights and responsibilities under California law. We help our clients determine the best legal options for building a strong defense. Call us today at (408) 898-9653. We are available 24/7 to answer your questions.