A prosecution that involves charges for a concealed weapon can often be very intimidating and confusing, and you may feel that your arrest was mishandled. However, a skilled Fresno weapons defense attorney can fight for your rights from immediately after your arrest and throughout the entire court process. In an effort to be tough on crime and improve public safety, California law can be very harsh when dealing with someone accused of a weapon offense. If you are stopped and arrested for carrying a concealed weapon without the proper permit, you can face a very difficult legal process that may end in large fines and a long prison sentence.
Michael McKneely, Criminal Defense Lawyer has years of experience helping our clients build successful defenses against serious criminal charges, and we can help you clear your name and keep your freedom after being arrested for a weapon offense. Call Fresno weapons defense attorney Mike McKneely today at (559) 443-7442.
What is a Concealed Weapon According to California Law?
To be convicted of a concealed weapon charge, it must be shown that you knowingly had a weapon on your person, the weapon was substantially concealed, and you did not have a concealed carry permit. Police and prosecutors will make the case that your weapon was concealed if they believe that someone would not immediately notice it when they looked at you. Under California Penal Code section 25400, a concealed weapon is defined as “pistol, revolver, or another firearm capable of being concealed upon the person.”
Furthermore, California Penal Code 16520 (a) defines “firearm” as a “device, designed to be used as a weapon, from which is expelled through a barrel, a projectile by the force of an explosion or other form of combustion. This means that under California law, you could be charged with carrying a concealed weapon for having the following on your person:
Penalties for Carrying a Concealed Weapon in California
If you are caught illegally carrying a concealed weapon, you can be charged with either a misdemeanor or felony. Your defense attorney should be able to understand whether the details of your case may include a felony charge and if it’s possible to seek a reduction of your charges or even a dismissal of your case.
If you are charged with a misdemeanor for carrying a concealed weapon, you face up to one year in jail, a probation sentence, and fines reaching $1,000. However, a felony conviction can result in up to three years in county jail, probation, and a fine up to $10,000. Circumstances that may lead to your charges being filed as a felony include:
- You didn’t have any license or permit to possess the firearm at all
- You are a convicted felon
- You already have a previous firearm or concealed weapon conviction
- You were previously prohibited from possessing the weapon in question due to an earlier conviction or court ruling
- You knew, or at least should have known, that the weapon in your possession was stolen
Possible Defenses to a Concealed Weapon Charge
If you are charged with a serious weapons violation, you may feel that there is little you can do. However, a skilled lawyer can help your defense by demanding that the prosecutor prove every detail of the charges against you beyond a reasonable doubt. In addition to showing that you had a weapon, it must be shown that you intended to be in possession of the object and that you intended to conceal it.
There are many defenses that can successfully defeat, or greatly reduce, a concealed weapon charge. Depending on the details of your case, one or several of the arguments used in your defense include:
- You did not know that the weapon was there. People often leave a firearm or other weapon in someone else’s car or coat without telling that person.
- You had proper documentation to have the weapon on your person, but you were unable to show that document at the time of your arrest.
- The firearm or other weapon was actually properly locked away.
- You were subjected to an illegal search and seizure by the police.
- The weapon was discovered at your home, and therefore possessed in accordance with your right to bear arms.
Michael McKneely, Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help You if You Have Been Arrested
Being arrested for a weapons charge can result in years of incarceration, large fines, and a permanent criminal record. If you have been charged with carrying a concealed weapon, you need an experienced weapons defense lawyer who understands how to protect your rights. Attorney Mike McKneely has years of experience defending those charged with weapon offenses.
As a former prosecutor, he understands how your case will proceed, and how your charges can be reduced or dismissed altogether. In order to best defend yourself against serious criminal charges, it’s important to seek experienced legal counsel as soon as possible after an arrest. Contact us today to speak with an experienced Fresno criminal defense attorney about your case. Call Michael McKneely, Criminal Defense Lawyer at (559) 443-7442.