California’s firearm laws are among the most restrictive in the country. Even improperly storing a legally-owned firearm in your home can result in criminal charges. If you’ve been charged with unlawful storage of a firearm in Los Angeles County, you likely have several questions. Here is a basic overview of what California firearms laws say and what steps you should take as soon as you’ve been charged.
How Does California Law Define Criminal Storage of Firearm?
Under California Penal Code 25100, the crime of “criminal storage of a firearm in the first degree” occurs when the following three conditions are met:
- The individual keeps a firearm within any premises that are under the person’s custody or control.
- The individual knows (or reasonably should know) that a child could gain access to the firearm.
- The child accesses the firearm and causes death or great bodily injury to the child or any other person.
Criminal storage of a firearm in the second degree occurs when a child gains access to the gun and takes it to a public place or commits the crime of brandishing a weapon. If a person negligently stores their firearm in a location where they knew a child could easily access it, they may be charged with criminal storage of a firearm in the third degree.
Penalties for Criminal Storage of a Firearm in Los Angeles County
Criminal storage of a firearm in the second and third-degree are considered misdemeanor offenses. If convicted, you could face up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. California considers the criminal storage of a firearm in the first degree a wobbler offense, meaning the prosecutor may determine whether to pursue misdemeanor or felony charges. A felony conviction can lead to a prison sentence of up to three years and a fine of up to $10,000. Other long-term impacts of a conviction include barriers to employment, housing, and immigration status.
How a Skilled Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help
As soon as you are charged with criminal storage of a firearm, you should contact a trusted Los Angeles criminal defense attorney who can help you understand your legal options. You may have been subjected to unlawful search and seizure, so your attorney will work hard to determine the best defensive strategy given the specifics of your case. Don’t leave your future up to chance—call an attorney right away to ensure your rights are protected.
Contact Wegman & Levin at (818) 980-4000 to discuss your situation with an experienced Los Angeles County criminal defense attorney today.