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Carrying a Loaded Firearm

Carrying a Loaded Firearm

Carrying a Loaded Firearm

Penal Code Section: 25850

 

If you or someone you love is being investigated for, arrested for, or has been charged with violating Penal Code 25850 (Carrying a Loaded Firearm) time is not on your side. Every second that passes is vital.  Likely, the Prosecutor’s Office has already engaged their professional team to begin building their case against you.  And, depending on when you’re reading this, they could be working against you as you’re reviewing this information. We strongly recommend that you contact an attorney immediately after learning about these charges, to help you build a strong, successful defense.

 

Carrying a Loaded Weapon – Definition

Carrying a Loaded Firearm involves carrying a loaded firearm on your person in a vehicle in a public place, on a public street, or in prohibited area. This is considered different from carrying a concealed firearm, where the firearm is obscured from clear view.

 

In the State of California, Carrying a Loaded Firearm is governed by Penal Code §25850, which states:

 

A person is guilty of carrying a loaded firearm when the person carries a loaded firearm on the person or in a vehicle while in any public place or on any public street in an incorporated city or in any public place or on any public street in a prohibited area of unincorporated territory.

California Penal Code §25850

 

Exemptions

California State Law has provided a few groups of people with exemptions to conviction under this law. Any person fitting one of the descriptions below cannot be charged under California Penal Code §25850:

 

  • Peace Officer (police, federal agent, corrections office, etc.)
  • Honorably retired peace officer
  • Active military
  • Authorized security guard or money transporter
  • Hunter lawfully carrying the firearm for hunting or using at a firing range (provided that the weapon is in a locked container)
  • Concealed Weapon Permit holder.

 

Carrying a Loaded Weapon – Elements

In law, every charge carries with it a set of “elements” that the Prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt. All of the elements must be proven in order to convict someone of a given crime.

 

The four elements to Carrying a Loaded Firearm in California are:

  1. You had a firearm on your person or in a vehicle in public;
  2. You knew you were carrying a firearm;
  3. You were carrying that firearm in a public place or on a public street;
  4. The public place or street was in an incorporated city or in a prohibited area in an unincorporated area.

 

Our office is experienced at finding which elements the prosecution cannot meet, or which elements are weak points in the prosecution’s case against you and may keep the prosecution from being able to prove you guilty of Carrying a Loaded Firearm under California Penal Code 25850.

 

Possible Penalties

California law allows charges under Penal Code 25850 to be charged as either a felony or misdemeanor, depending on the circumstances. As such, the severity of the penalties are commensurate on the circumstances.

 

  • 25850(c)(1) If you have a prior felony conviction of any kind, violations under Penal Code §25850 are automatically considered felonies and may be sentenced up to 16 months, two (2) years, or three (3) years in state prison.

 

  • 25850(c)(2) If the firearm was stolen and you had reason to believe that it was stolen, violations under Penal Code §25850 are automatically considered felonies and may be sentenced up to 16 months, two (2) years, or three (3) years in state prison.

 

  • 25850(c)(3) If you are an active participant in a criminal street gang, violations under Penal Code §25850 are automatically considered felonies and may be sentenced up to 16 months, two (2) years, or three (3) years in state prison.

 

  • 25850(c)(4) If you unlawfully possess the firearm or are in a class of people prohibited from owning a firearm, violations under Penal Code §25850 are automatically considered felonies and may be sentenced up to 16 months, two (2) years, or three (3) years in state prison.

 

  • 25850(c)(5) If you have been convicted of a crime against a person or property or drug-related offenses, the charge will be a misdemeanor punishable by up to one (1) year in county jail, a fine up to $1000, or both.

 

  • 25850(c)(6) If the firearm is not registered to you, the charge will be a misdemeanor punishable by up to one (1) year in county jail, a fine up to $1000, or both.

 

  • 25850(c)(7) In all other situations, the charge will be a misdemeanor punishable by up to one (1) year in county jail, a fine up to $1000, or both.

 

Violations of California Penal Code §25850 are often complicated. There are various exceptions to the law and special circumstances in which a penalty may be made more or less severe. Please give us a call so we can understand your situation and determine if any of these may apply.

 

Defenses

The sooner you call our office the sooner we can hear the truth about what took place.  Depending on the facts of the situation, and whether you’ve called our office soon enough, we may be able to take the facts you share with us and meet with the District Attorney to keep charges from being formally filed against you.

If charges have already been filed against you, our office is experienced at going through all of the evidence line-by-line to find discrepancies and discover all possible defenses for your case.  As with all criminal cases, most defenses target at least one of the elements stated above.  Examples of defenses in a Carrying a Loaded Firearm case that we may be able to find in your favor include (but are not limited to):

 

  • ACCIDENT: You didn’t know you were carrying a firearm
  • NOT LOADED: The firearm was not loaded
  • SELF-DEFENSE: You reasonably believe that you are in immediate, grave danger
  • IMPROPER STOP: The police lacked reasonable suspicion to stop you
  • IMPROPER ARREST: You were improperly arrested

 

Each case unique and may be better suited to one particular defense over another. Always speak to an attorney about all of your options when deciding the defense that may be best for you.  Call the Law Office of James L. Hassey at (858) 373-8201 to schedule your FREE Consultation.