California has complex firearms laws and restrictions. A person carrying a concealed firearm faces charges described under Penal Code 25400 PC. The law specifies that carrying a concealed firearm on you or a vehicle is a criminal offense. Per California law, a firearm refers to any device used as a weapon, for example, a revolver and a handgun.
The term "concealed" means the firearm is partially hidden but can be identified. You must have physical possession of the concealed firearm for you to be charged under this crime. Therefore, if a police officer arrests you in Los Angeles for carrying a concealed firearm in your pocket or waistband, contact The LA Criminal Defense Law Firm. Our experienced lawyers will offer you legal counsel and help build a strong defense. Involving us early in your case through pre-filing intervention can potentially prevent the filing of formal charges.
Definition Of Penal Code Section 24500 - Carrying A concealed Firearm
The second amendment to the United States on guns guarantees a right to own firearms. There are numerous restrictions on this right and are constitutionally valid. One of the primary limitations is reflected in Penal Code 25400 PC. The restriction makes carrying a concealed firearm on you or in your vehicle a crime.
The Ninth Circuit Court approved the legislation in Peruta vs. San Diego County. The court determined that the right of California's citizens are not protected by the Second Amendment to bear concealed firearms. The Supreme Court did not challenge the ruling, hence upholding the ban of a concealed firearm in California.
It is a crime to carry a concealed firearm with a barrel that is less than 16 inches in length. You are also prohibited from concealing firearms with interchangeable barrels. The firearm will be considered concealed if it is partially hidden or out of sight, although there are exceptions to this rule. For instance, a weapon is not determined as concealed if the firearm was carried in belt holsters when the weapon was on the person. Another exception applies when a firearm inside a vehicle is kept in a locked container or the trunk.
For you to be convicted under this crime, the prosecutor must prove the following crime elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
That you possessed a firearm or explosive material that you intended to use as a weapon. The firearm could be a handgun, pistol, shotgun, revolver, rifle, or taser.
That you partially concealed an identifiable firearm. However, you can be exempted from these criminal charges if you carried the firearm in plain view.
That you physically possessed the concealed firearm. The law does not need you to own the firearm to get charged. You get charged under Penal Code 25400 if the law enforcers find a firearm on you.
That you knew you were carrying a concealed firearm. You will only be exempted if you were not aware of the weapon and that it was concealed.
A concealed weapon is harmful. The law is aimed at protecting the public from any possible injuries and damages. That is why a prosecutor will charge you for carrying a firearm even if you never opened fire. If you face accusations of this crime, you might also get charged with brandishing a weapon or carrying a loaded firearm.
Application Procedures For A Concealed Carry Permit
First, not everyone is eligible to apply for a concealed firearm permit. You must meet certain qualifications, including good moral character, complete a firearms training course, and a genuine reason to obtain a permit. Finally, you must be a resident, or you are running a business in Los Angeles.
The applications differ per area since the permits are given by local authorities who have the power to issue the licenses. They include county sheriffs, police, and chiefs. You are required to pass a standardized application exam and pay license fees. Later, you will be scheduled for an interview and fingerprint collection. The agency issuing you with the license may demand another interview and a psychological assessment.
Your criminal history records may make you get denied the license even after meeting all the requirements. For example, you could be disqualified for a concealed carry permit (CCP) after getting charged with certain misdemeanors, felonies, or a domestic violence offense. You will also not get the permit if you are diagnosed with a mental illness or addicted to drugs.
Besides, there are other statutes that you are bound to obey even if you have permission to carry a concealed firearm. Some laws in California ban specific types of weapons and explosives. Some will not also allow you to take firearms outside your home. The gun laws apply to everyone, including non-residents.
Persons Exempted From Conviction Under Penal Code 25400
Like exemptions in prosecution to carry a concealed weapon crime, some people are exempted from conviction. For example, the gun should only be used for specific activities related to the exemptions or remain unloaded. These exempted people include:
A peace officer who is active or retired honorably
The United States military personnel
Licensed firearm dealers
Licensed fishers and hunters to use the firearms for their activities or transporting
Target shooting members, organizations, or clubs
The law allows people to apply for a concealed carry permit (CCP). The licenses can only be issued to individuals by sheriffs under California Penal Code 26150. If you live in an incorporated city, you must apply for the permit in your local police department under California Penal Code Section 26155. The licensing is only given to people who have good cause for requiring permission.
Sentencing And Punishment For Penal Code 25400
Penal Code 25400 defines the penalties for carrying a concealed weapon. The crime is separated into different categories. The less severe crimes are misdemeanors, while serious ones are felonies. Some offenses are treated as wobblers depending on the facts surrounding your case.
A Conviction for a Misdemeanor Offense
The absence of aggravating factors of carrying a concealed firearm is usually a misdemeanor. If convicted, you face the following penalties:
A maximum jail term of one year in the county jail
A maximum fine of $1000
A misdemeanor probation
If the judge grants you summary probation, you may serve less or no time in jail. However, the court cannot sentence you to probation if you have an abusive criminal background, resisted arrest, or the prosecution has substantial evidence that you had the intent to use the firearm. Even though the judge cannot grant you probation for these reasons, you could receive other misdemeanor sentences.
A Conviction for a Felony Crime
The presence of aggravating circumstances makes the crime of carrying a concealed firearm a felony. You are charged with a felony offense if you have been convicted before as a felon, lack a firearm permit, possess a stolen weapon, have a prior firearm conviction, and are restricted from obtaining a firearm. For a felony violation, you are charged with the following penalties:
About 16 months to 3 years in prison
A maximum of one-year felony summary probation in county jail
Up to $10,000 in fine
If you have a prior felony conviction, the court will impose a minimum prison term of three months in county jail. Your crime might also lead to a permanent ban on owning or acquiring a weapon.
A Conviction for a Wobbler Offense
In California, violation of carrying a concealed firearm law is a wobbler. The prosecutor has the jurisdiction to charge your case as a misdemeanor or a felony. Before deciding on the wobbler charge to prefer against you, the jury will establish if you have a previous misdemeanor or drug record, if the gun was loaded at the time of your arrest, or the firearm in question was registered with the Justice Department.
A misdemeanor conviction carries a one-year maximum sentence in county jail or a maximum fine of $1,000. The potential penalty for a prison conviction is three years in prison or a maximum fine of $10,000.
If you've had a previous felony conviction, the court imposes a minimum mandatory jail sentence. You will also face a compulsory enhanced minimum prison term of between three and six months in prison if you had a prior conviction of the following:
Assaulting someone with a dangerous tool - Penal Code (CPC)24(a)(1)
Shooting at a vehicle or an occupied dwelling - Penal Code 246
Brandishing a firearm - Penal Code 417
In California, certain criminal offenses have mandatory premiums. In this case, a conviction of carrying a concealed firearm will require a mandatory minimum punishment of at least three months. You must have a prior conviction for any other felony or a previous assault conviction with a deadly weapon for the mandatory premiums to apply.
In addition to the standard penalties, you might also face collateral consequences which include:
Losing the right to own a firearm
You may be deported if you're an undocumented immigrant
The law on the deportation of immigrants does not matter how long you have been in the country or how well you have established yourself. All non-citizens are subject to deportation if they have been convicted with criminal offenses. Not even the legal permanent residents, refugees who are granted asylum, or visa holders are spared. If you did not get deported, your possibilities of ever being a citizen or being naturalized are lessened.
Losing The Right To Bear Weapons Following a 25400 PC Conviction
If you are convicted with a misdemeanor for violating against penal code 25400, the firearm license cannot be revoked. However, you are barred from possessing a gun until you turn 30 and are adjudicated, depending on the felony conviction in juvenile court.
If you are convicted with a felony after violating PC 25400, you are permanently banned from possessing a firearm. The rule applies to convicted adults and minors who are prosecuted as adults. If you face wobbler charges, you must take two steps to regain your firearm license. First, you need to file a petition in court and have the charges lowered from felony to misdemeanor. Second, you also need to defend yourself and have your charges dismissed.
After filing and winning the petition, you will be granted back your firearm rights. The safest way to recover your firearms privileges is to get California Governor's pardon. If you complete rehabilitation school and obtain a certificate, the application for a pardon will be automatic. Governor's pardon is available to bother California and non-California residents.
Note that the Governor's pardon may not restore your firearm rights if you were found guilty of a crime involving a deadly weapon usage. A dangerous weapon refers to any tool, object, or instrument that can cause death or injury. Examples of deadly weapons are pistols, rifles, and revolvers.
Expungement For Carrying a Concealed Firearm
A person may petition the court under the California Penal Code 1203.4 to expel his or her misdemeanor and several felony convictions. In cases where the accused is charged under section 25400 PC, the defendant is entitled to an expungement. There is also an expungement for a felony conviction, as PC 25400 conviction doesn't always equate to a prison sentence.
No one in the general public can see your conviction record after expungement, for instance, when searching your criminal background. They include neighbors, private employers, landlords, and dating partners. Unfortunately, an expungement doesn't completely clear your criminal history. It is still open to public employees, representatives of public schools, police officers, and court sentence enhancements if you commit another felony offense.
The expungement will allow you to say that you have never been convicted of the crime even under oath on any non-governmental job or housing application. Only in the following situations should you report your expunged criminal conviction:
When sending a request for public employment or an expert license
If you are a public office CEO
If you apply to the State Lottery Commission for a contract or a license
Legal Defenses To Challenge Carrying A Concealed Firearm Charges
In California, you can defend yourself against any criminal charges you face. If you are arrested for carrying a concealed firearm, seek the assistance of The LA Criminal Defense Law Firm. We will develop robust strategies, including but not limited to the following defenses to obtain the best possible outcome in your case:
Illegal search and seizure. The fourth amendment safeguards your constitutional rights against unlawful searches and seizures. Typically, the police officers will discover a firearm after a routine traffic stop. Our defense lawyers will argue that there was no probable cause by the police, making the search and seizure illegal. If all goes well, the prosecutor will not use the firearm evidence in your case and will likely drop the case.
Lack of knowledge you had a firearm. Remember that one of the key elements for violation of this crime is that you knew you were in possession of a firearm. Our lawyer will argue that you weren't aware you had a firearm and can't be convicted. A friend could have left the firearm in your car without your knowledge.
The firearm can not be concealed. A concealable firearm should have a barrel smaller than 16 inches long. If you were found with a firearm with a barrel that is longer than 16 inches, you could not get convicted of this crime.
You have a valid firearm license. Penal Codes 26150 and 26155 allow qualified California residents to carry a gun with a valid permit. With the license, you cannot be convicted of carrying a concealed firearm crime. However, you must prove that you legally possessed the gun by producing the permit.
You are exempted from the charges. Certain individuals are exempted from facing criminal charges against carrying a concealed firearm based on their profession. For example, law enforcement officers whether or not they are on duty, military personnel, air marshals, and licensed firearms retailers and manufacturers.
You were transporting the firearm in a locked container to or from a vehicle for a lawful purpose. An individual can carry firearms when engaging in specific activities related to the transportation of a firearm. The gun should be transported while locked in a container or in the vehicle's trunk. Under these circumstances, you cannot be charged for carrying a concealed firearm.
You were transporting an unloaded firearm that was not capable of concealment. Certain firearms have a longer barrel that prevents them from being concealed. Therefore you cannot be charged with carrying a concealed firearm crime. However, you could face charges for violating the law that prohibits carrying weapons in public. With our lawyer, we can prevent these other charges and have your penalties reduced, or the case dismissed.
The concealed weapon was inside your residence or business premise. You are free to carry a firearm in your home or business premise if you have a permit. Generally, the law does not extend to people who work or live in their cars. Taxi-drivers, however, are allowed to keep the hidden firearms inside their vehicles without infringing the law of State carry.
You carried the firearm in self-defense. Someone can receive grave danger threats. California's self-defense laws allow one to carry a concealed firearm if they feel their life is in danger. If our lawyer convinces the court that someone else’s conduct endangered your life, and you needed to carry a concealed weapon for your protection, you could have your case dropped.
Dishonest conduct by police. In some instances, a police officer can plant a concealed firearm in your vehicle or on your person. If we suspect there was police misconduct, we will have to run a Pitchess Motion. It will enable us to find out if other people have made similar accusations about the officer. The judge will dismiss your case if we determine that you are a police misconduct victim.
The specific defenses that may be appropriate for your charges will depend on the circumstances and facts surrounding your case. Our attorney will request you to recount the incident that led to your arrest to determine which defenses to build and argue on your behalf.
The more information you give your attorney, the stronger your defense. Give as many details as possible when speaking to our attorney. There are details that you may think are irrelevant but could strengthen your defense. Leave no information untouched, and the lawyer will determine the best defenses.
Contact an LA Criminal Defense Law Firm Near Me
A criminal conviction of carrying a concealed firearm can be devastating. Also, the fines and penalties associated with criminal charges can cripple your savings, not to mention the possibility of losing your firearm privileges. However, all is not lost. If you or your loved one faces charges against carrying a concealed firearm, reach out to a legal counsel with a proven track record. Contact The LA Criminal Defense Law Firm at 310-935-1675 to represent you in the case. We have defended many clients facing gun offenses in Los Angeles, and in most cases, the charges are either dismissed or reduced.