Carrying a Concealed or Loaded Firearm

The carrying of a concealed or loaded firearm is generally unlawful in California unless a person is entitled to a specific exception. One important exception applies to people who have a valid Concealed Carry Weapon (CCW) license. When no specific exception applies, the potential criminal charges for carrying a concealed or loaded firearm range from felony to misdemeanor. The applicable charge depends on the alleged circumstances of the carrying and the alleged background of the accused person. The prosecution always has the burden of proving its charges beyond a reasonable doubt.

As an experienced criminal defense and trial attorney, Richard M. Oberto has defended numerous clients against firearms allegations. A variety of defenses may apply. Some potential defenses are as follows: A person may have been near a firearm, but had no knowledge or control of it; an alleged firearm may not have met the legal requirements for a firearm; a person may have had a lawful justification or reason to carry the firearm. Other defenses also may apply. Mr. Oberto closely evaluates the unique evidence in each case to deliver the best defense for clients.

Carrying a Concealed Firearm

California Penal Code section 25400 defines the crime of carrying a concealed firearm. The proof requirements differ according to whether the accused person was allegedly carrying the firearm on his person or within a vehicle. When the allegation is that the accused person was carrying the firearm on his person, the prosecution must prove that (1) the firearm that was capable of being concealed on the accused person, (2) the accused person knew the firearm was present, and (3) the firearm was substantially concealed on the accused person. When the allegation is that the accused person was carrying the firearm within a vehicle, the prosecution must prove the foregoing three elements and also that (4) the vehicle was under the control or direction of the accused person.

Carrying a Loaded Firearm

California Penal Code section 25850 defines the crime of carrying a loaded firearm. The core requirements of proof are that the accused person (1) was carrying a loaded firearm on his person or in his vehicle, (2) knew he was carrying the firearm, and (3) at the time was in a public place where discharge of a firearm was unlawful.

Punishments

The statutes that criminalize carrying a concealed or loaded firearm include felony and misdemeanor provisions. A felony charge may apply where the accused person (1) had a specified criminal record, (2) knew or had reasonable cause to believe the firearm was stolen, (3) was an active participant in a criminal street gang, (4) did not have permission to possess the firearm from either the lawful owner or a person with apparent authority over the firearm, (5) was prohibited from possessing a firearm due to conviction, juvenile finding, court order, or mental illness, or (6) was not the registered owner and the firearm was also loaded. In all other cases, the crime of carrying a concealed or loaded firearm is punishable as a misdemeanor.

The felony crimes for carrying a concealed or loaded firearm are punishable by imprisonment and fines. The potential term of imprisonment is 16 months or two or three years, and the potential fine is up to $10,000. The conviction does not restrict a person’s eligibility for probation and a suspended sentence. The misdemeanor crimes for carrying a concealed or loaded firearm are punishable by a maximum of one year in jail and a fine of $1,000.

The crime of carrying a concealed or loaded firearm is a “wobbler” offense if the underlying allegation is that the accused person was not the registered owner and the firearm was loaded. The term “wobbler” means the offense can be charged as a felony or misdemeanor. If the offense is charged as a felony, the accused person may apply to the court for reduction to a misdemeanor.

Exceptions to Criminal Provisions

California law provides a number of exceptions to the criminal laws that prohibit carrying a concealed or loaded firearm. The exceptions generally function so that people can exercise their lawful rights to own and use firearms without undue hindrance. A person who has any questions about the criminal provisions that restrict carrying firearms should contact an attorney.

Knowledgeable Legal Representation

Mr. Oberto welcomes people to contact him 24/7 at (559) 221-2557 to request an initial consultation. Se habla Espanol.

People also may contact Mr. Oberto to request an initial consultation using the contact form available on this website. Please do not use the contact form to write down sensitive information. Information communicated over the internet, including through this website, may not be considered confidential or privileged.

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