Is PC 25850(a) a Felony or Misdemeanor Under California Law?

March 30, 2023

Penal Code 25850(a) prohibits carrying a loaded firearm in a public place or in a vehicle. Under this code, it is illegal for any person to carry a loaded firearm on their person or in a vehicle. This crime is considered a “wobbler” under California law, which means it can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the circumstances of the case and the discretion of the prosecutor.

When determining whether to charge a violation of PC 25850(a) as a felony or a misdemeanor, the prosecutor will consider several factors. For example, the prosecutor will consider the defendant’s criminal history, the circumstances of the offense, and the safety of the community. If the defendant has a prior criminal history, especially one involving firearms, the prosecutor may be more likely to charge the offense as a felony. Additionally, if the defendant was carrying a loaded firearm in a school zone, the prosecutor may be more likely to charge the offense as a felony.

If convicted as a misdemeanor, the penalties can include up to one year in county jail and a fine of up to $1,000. If convicted of a felony, the penalties can include 16 months, 2 years, or 3 years in the county jail and a fine of up to $10,000.

Fortunately, someone convicted of a felony may be able to reduce their conviction to a misdemeanor after completing probation.

It is important to note that under California law, certain individuals are prohibited from carrying a firearm, even if they have a valid license to carry a concealed weapon. These prohibited individuals include convicted felons, individuals with restraining orders, and individuals who are addicted to drugs or have been diagnosed with certain mental health disorders.

Additionally, certain places are off-limits for carrying a loaded firearm, even with a valid license. These places include schools, government buildings, and airports. Carrying a loaded firearm in these places is considered a separate crime and can result in additional charges and penalties.

Attorney John D. Rogers is an Orange County criminal defense attorney. He is a board-certified criminal law specialist by the State Bar of California. His office is located in Newport Beach, CA and he represents clients throughout Southern California in state and federal matters. If you’re seeking legal representation, give the Law Offices of John D. Rogers a call to schedule a free consultation.

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