Posted on July 10, 2015

California Penal Code § 25800: Armed Criminal Action

Armed criminal action is a common crime charged because it’s filed against someone in conjunction with other charges. For instance, one usually faces, burglary, robbery, and possession of a firearm on top of armed criminal action. The most critical component for a prosecutor to prove is “intent to commit a felony,” to find someone guilty under this charge. If a suspect elects to remain silent and not make a statement, the burden imposed on the prosecutor increases substantially. In other words, how is the prosecutor to prove one harbored the intentions to commit a felony with the firearm if someone remains silent? Although possible to prove circumstantially, the process is much more tedious than most would think. The moral to anyone suspected of committing a crime is to remain silent and demand the presence of an attorney. Because this charges contains the use of a firearm along with the intentions of committing a felony offense, prosecutors treat this charge seriously and often require mandatory jail time as a preventative measure to stop future crimes involving firearms.

Armed Criminal Action Defined

In California, armed criminal action is governed under Penal Code § 25800(a) which provides, “Every person who carries a loaded firearm with the intent to commit a felony is guilty of armed criminal action.”

Elements of the Crime

According to CALCRIM 2590, in order for someone to be found guilty of armed criminal action in California, the prosecutor must prove each element beyond a reasonable doubt:

1. Defendant carried a firearm
2. Defendant knew that the they were carrying a firearm
3. Defendant carried the firearm with the intent to commit a felony
4. The firearm was loaded
5. Defendant knew the firearm was loaded

Legal Defenses

• You were not “carrying” a firearm within the meaning of the law

• The firearm was not loaded as required under this statute

• You did not have the intent to commit a felony

• You did not know you were carrying a loaded firearm

• The police officers violated your Miranda rights

• The police officers committed an unreasonable search in violation of your Fourth Amendment right

Penalties for Armed Criminal Action

As mentioned above, one can be convicted of armed criminal action as either a misdemeanor or felony. If convicted of a misdemeanor, one faces up to one year in the county jail. Whereas, if one is convicted of armed criminal action as to a felony, then the sentencing range is 16, 2, or 3 years in California state prison. On top of custody time, the court usually imposes probation with fines and fees. Consequently one may, permanently lose their firearm rights, face adverse immigration consequences, and temporary lose their Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable searches and seizure.

Reduction to a Misdemeanor

Fortunately, if you were convicted of armed criminal action as to a felony and you did not serve time in California state prison, then you may be eligible to reduce your conviction to a misdemeanor pursuant to Penal Code § 17(b). Reducing your conviction requires a specified petition and usually a legitimate reason for seeking reduction. Most importantly, the judge will want to know whether you violated your probation at any time. In the event the court grants a reduction motion, the conviction is reduced for “all purposes” and the state of California will no longer recognize someone to be convicted of a felony. Reduction under P.C. § 17(b) additional restores firearm rights in an individual. For more information, or to discuss your eligibility, contact the Law Offices of John D. Rogers.


Armed criminal action is a conviction that is eligible to be expunged in California. To expunge your conviction, Penal Code § 1203.4 governs in which a petition is submitted to the court. Upon proper petition, the court withdraws it’s finding of guilt, and the case is then dismissed permitting someone to be “released from all penalties and liabilities” as a result of the conviction. There are limitations for seeking an expungement. For instance, if you suffered a probation violation, the chances of expunging your conviction decrease. Most importantly, if you served any time in California state prison as a result of the offense or you are currently on probation or parole for another offense, then you cannot expunge your conviction. For more information, contact the Law Offices of John D. Rogers to discuss your eligibility in expunging your conviction.

Examples of Armed Criminal Action

Dan was walking down a Los Angeles street. A police officer observed Dan carrying a firearm around his waist and detained Dan pending a criminal investigation. When questioned by the police officer, Dan revealed that he was going to walk into the local bank in an attempt to steal money from the tellers. The police officer searches Dan and recovers the firearm. After inspecting the firearm, the police officers discovers that the firearm is not loaded. The police officer arrests Dan for armed criminal action. In this case, Dan would not be guilty of armed criminal action because although he harbored the intentions of using the firearm to commit a robbery, nonetheless, the firearm was not loaded as required to be guilty under this statute. Therefore, Dan would not be guilty of armed criminal action.

Dan was leaving his friend’s house after a party. While leaving, Dan placed his firearm in his pocket for protection. Prior to entering his vehicle to go home, a police officer stops and questions Dan. He asked Dan “what he was doing.” Dan stated that he was driving home after a party. The officer observed Dan portraying objective symptoms of intoxication. After blowing into the officer’s breathalyzer, the device revealed that Dan was over the legal limit to drive. The police officer began searching Dan which revealed the firearm located in Dan’s pocket. After inspecting the firearm, the officer found that it was fully loaded. The police officer arrested Dan for armed criminal action. In this case, Dan would not be guilty of armed criminal action because although he was attempting to drive home – a DUI is not a felony offense. Additionally, Dan was not going to “use” the firearm in any manner towards the commission of the DUI. Therefore, Dan would be successful in defeating the charges.

Related Offense

P.C. § 25850(c)(6): Carrying Loaded Firearm Not Registered Owner

Contact Us for a Free Consultation

If you have been arrested or charged with armed criminal action, contact Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney John Rogers at the Law Offices of John D. Rogers. Call 877-888-9820 for a free confidential consultation concerning your rights and defenses.

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