California Penal Code § 29800 PC – Felon in Possession of a Firearm
Criminal Defense Lawyer Serving Los Angeles
The Second Amendment provides the right to bear arms, but you can lose the right to possess or own a gun. Individuals who lose this right violate CA Penal Code § 29800 PC if law enforcement finds a gun in their possession.
By law, persons who no longer have the right to own or possess a firearm include:
- Individuals convicted of a felony offense
- Anyone who is addicted to narcotic drugs
- Persons convicted of specific misdemeanor crimes
Elements of a California Penal Code § 29800 PC Conviction
To obtain a conviction, prosecutors must demonstrate the defendant falls under one of these three categories and the defendant possessed a firearm.
By law, a person is addicted to a narcotic drug if the following facts exist:
- The individual depends emotionally on the drug and / or uses the drug compulsively
- The individual has developed a high tolerance for the drug and requires larger amounts
- The individual is physically dependent and suffers withdrawals without the narcotic drug
In addition to narcotic addiction, a felony conviction and certain misdemeanor convictions eliminate the right to bear arms.
In order to convict a defendant under this statute, prosecutors must prove:
- The defendant possessed, owned, purchased, or received a firearm with full knowledge of his / her actions, and,
- The defendant’s criminal record reflects at prior felony or qualifying misdemeanor, eliminating his / her gun rights.
Qualifying misdemeanors might include Brandishing a Weapon (CA Penal Code § 417 PC) or Assault with a Deadly Weapon (CA Penal Code § 245 PC).
Defending Felon in Possession of a Firearm Charges
Many Felon in Possession of a Firearm charges are the result of unlawful search and seizure or traffic stops without probable cause. If law enforcement seized or discovered the firearm without following protocol, they cannot convict your possessing the gun. Similarly, if police did not have probable cause to justify questioning or a search, law enforcement will not have grounds for a conviction.
What are the Penalties for Felon in Possession of a Firearm?
Possessing a firearm with a felony conviction is punishable by three years in prison. Depending on your criminal record, certain misdemeanor offenses merit the same sentence, if you are found with a firearm in your possession within 10 years of the initial conviction. This situation makes the crime a “wobbler;” it can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. Qualifying misdemeanor offenses include domestic violence, stalking, and criminal threats.
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