Newport Beach Weapons Defense Lawyer
Law enforcement and prosecutors treat weapon charges very seriously, but also have a reputation to exaggerate the circumstances. Additionally, weapon offenses can carry severe consequences often requiring one to serve time in county jail or state prison. However, there are numerous defenses available to one accused of weapons charges and the burden imposed on the prosecutor to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt is more challenging than most think.
There are certain degrees of weapon offenses from simple possession – e.g., possession of a loaded firearm – to the use of a weapon during the commission of a felony – e.g., use of a firearm to carry out a robbery. Furthermore, those arrested for a weapons charge alleged to have been used in connection with a criminal street gang can face an additional five to ten years in California state prison.
California Weapon Offenses
- Assault with a Firearm
- Brandishing a Weapon
- Carrying a Firearm Not Registered Owner
- Carrying Loaded Firearm in Public or Vehicle
- Carrying a Switchblade
- Negligent Discharge of a Firearm
- Possession of Assault Weapon
- Possession of Ammunition
- Possession of a Dirk or Dagger
What Constitutes a Weapon in California?
Contrary to popular belief, a “weapon” need not be a firearm. Instead, a bat, stick, rock, knife, or other sorts of instruments may constitute a weapon. Moreover, the main concern among prosecutors and law enforcement is what the device was used for or the manner in which it was used versus simple possession of the instrument. Common examples of weapons include:
- Gun / Firearm / Rifle / Shot Gun
- Knives, Dirk or Daggers, Swords
- Baseball Bats / Batons
- Brass Knuckles
- Sticks, Rocks, Bricks
- Other Instruments that can cause Great Bodily Harm
Legal Defenses to Weapons Charges
- Unlawful Search & Seizure: Unless someone consents to a detention or search of their persons, vehicle, or home, police officers must be armed with probable cause or a warrant to conduct an intrusive search. Weapon charges can be defeated by alleging the Police Officers were not lawfully permitted to seize an individual or search their persons. If the court orders the weapon suppressed as a violation of someone’s Fourth Amendment rights, the weapon cannot be used as evidence and the prosecution will be unable to proceed with their case.
- “Possession”: Establishing possession can be more burdensome than some would think. There are two types of “possession” – actual and constructive possession. The challenge of prosecuting someone if the weapon was not discovered on their person becomes burdensome because the prosecutor must find additional evidence to connect the accused to the weapon. For instance, a gun was found within a drawer in a shared bedroom.
- Self-Defense: Some circumstances justify one being in possession of a weapon. A common reason for some is a self-defense claim. If one is acting in self-defense and located a weapon to use to prevent immediate death of great bodily injury, they may defend the charge claiming self-defense.
- Lack of Knowledge: If someone does not know they’re in possession of a weapon, then they are not guilty of a weapon offense. For instance, a friend left a knife in the backseat of your vehicle without your knowledge that the knife was even their and or your friend was even carrying a knife in the first place.
Punishment & Sentencing
- Serve Time in Custody in the County Jail or California State Prison
- Formal Supervised Probation or Parole
- Lifetime restriction of owning or possessing a firearm
- Potentially having a “Strike” on your Criminal Record
- Temporary Loss of Unlawful Search & Seizure Rights
- Immigration Consequences
- State Licensing Issues
Contact an Experienced Newport Beach Weapons Defense Lawyer
For more information or if you have been arrested or charged with a weapons offense – e.g., firearm, knife, or other instrument, contact an experienced Newport Beach Criminal Defense Lawyer at the Law Offices of John D. Rogers for a free and confidential consultation.