Given the long history and pervasive nature of gun violence and gun-related deaths in Los Angeles, particularly relating to street gangs and inner city homicides, the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office aggressively, thoroughly and zealously prosecutes gun and weapons cases. With the California Penal Code (CPC) in it’s arsenal, the prosecution will do everything in it’s power to meet every element of the offense codified in the CPC to secure your conviction.
In the Penal Code, guns are referred to as firearms. A firearm is any device designed to be used as a weapon, from which a projectile is discharged or expelled through a barrel by the force of an explosion or other form of combustion. These include handguns, short-barreled shotguns, short-barreled rifles, undetectable firearms, a firearm that is not immediately recognizable as a firearm, unconventional pistol, cane gun, wallet gun, or zip guns.
It is also illegal to use or unlawfully carry non-projectile weapons, such as ballistic knives, belt buckle knives, lipstick case knives, cane swords, air gauge knives, writing pen knives, nunchaks, brass knuckles, leaded canes, metal military practice hand-grenades or metal replica hand-grenades, slingshots, billy-clubs. However, weapons can also be “objects capable of innocent use” if they were used or carried to be used as weapons.
California has strict regulations in place as to who can lawfully own and operate a firearm. For example, it is illegal for any private citizen to own automatic weapons. And for certain citizens, such as convicted felons or mental patients, or persons against whom a protective or “stay-away” order is in place, it is prohibited to own a firearm at all.
If you committed a crime with a gun or firearm, you will probably be subject to incarceration in county jail or state prison. Additionally, you may to pay exorbitant fines and your criminal record will reflect the conviction(s).
Robert Ernenwein knows what’s at stake when you are facing firearms or weapons charges. As a “Super Lawyer” and former Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney, he has aggressively and successfully defended persons charged with gun or weapons cases. For many years, we have achieved the acquittal, dismissal or reduction of charges in hundreds of cases, even for those that were seemingly impossible to beat.
Let’s go into some of the nuances of California law relating to guns and weapons charges.
I’m being charged with personal use of a weapon. I never once fired it.
What most people don’t know is that it’s not very hard to violate weapons statutes and laws in California. For example, state law defines “personal use” of a deadly weapon or firearm as intentionally displaying a weapon or firearm in a “menacing” manner, hitting someone with the weapon or firing it. Therefore, even if you only decided to scare someone with a firearm, even if it was a toy or imitation gun, you may still be charged with a crime. You can also be charged with assault with a deadly weapon.
How does the presence of a firearm in a crime enhance the penalty for it?
The problem with the use of a firearm in the commission of a crime is that it raises the seriousness of the offense. For example, if you discharged a firearm from a vehicle, intending to kill a person outside of that vehicle, special circumstances will attach to your case by virtue of the gun use. Special circumstances can result in a harsher penalties, such as the death penalty or life without the possibility of parole.
I was pulled over and the police found a baseball bat in my car. I never meant to hurt anyone with it; It’s sports equipment. Why am I being charged with possession of a weapon?
You can be charged with carrying a weapon even if it was designed for uses other than violence.
However, to be convicted on weapons possession charge, a defendant must know that the object is a weapon. If the alleged weapon is capable of innocent uses (in other words, the object is not a weapon “per se” or “on it’s face”), the prosecution must prove you possessed it “as a weapon.” In those cases, the prosecution may try to use the location of the alleged weapon (in your car, beneath the driver’s seat, on the front passenger seat, glove box, other places where it was easily reachable) to show that you possessed it to be used as a weapon. The prosecution may also show whether the object was changed from it’s standard form or introduce any other evidence that the object would be used for a dangerous purpose rather than a harmless one.
Robert Ernenwein continues to successfully represent defendants against any and all weapons-related charges, including possession, shooting a firearm, personal use, firearm enhancements, assault with a deadly weapon, and cases where special circumstances apply due to the use of a weapon or firearm.
Do I need an attorney?
Yes! Firearms and weapons laws in California are among the most complicated set of laws in the state. If you have been accused of a firearm charge, you need a criminal defense attorney that is highly knowledgeable in the field of firearm and weapons law. This knowledge and experience can be essential in forming a defense in your case.
For instance, under California Penal Code section 12301(j), a person who “reasonably believes” that his or her property is in immediate danger is permitted to carry a loaded firearm. Also, under Penal Code section 12301(l), any person is permitted to carry a loaded firearm at their place of residence, which includes “any temporary residence.” You are also generally permitted to carry a firearm from a gun shop, or to and from a gun range.
There are a number of other important exceptions to the firearms laws in California, and if you have been charged under these laws, it is always in your best interest to consult an experienced attorney about your rights. At the Law Offices of Robert Ernenwein, your first consultation with an attorney is always free.
Can you help me fight these charges?
Considering the severity of the penalties, which include imprisonment, substantial fines and community service, we urge you to contact us and make an appointment immediately.
Whether it is charged as a misdemeanor or as a felony, a firearm or weapons conviction will go on your criminal record. This may cause you to lose your job or prevent you from getting another one. It can also impact your future employment opportunities and consequently jeopardize your family’s financial future.
As a Former Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney, Robert Ernenwein knows the criminal process inside out, giving him a distinct edge when he represents you in court. He is well respected and well known by Los Angeles prosecutors and Judges. In 2009, Los Angeles Magazine selected him as a Super Lawyer, a distinguished honor and a mark of excellence. Robert Ernenwein is Certified by the California State Bar as a Certified Specialist in Criminal Law and has been a legal commentator for FOX News.
Since 1987, he has represented clients in over ten thousand (10,000!) criminal cases in Los Angeles Courts (including LAX, Inglewood, Torrance, Long Beach and Compton). He has over 30 years of experience and 100% of his practice is devoted to criminal law.
That’s over 30 years of nothing but criminal defense! There are defenses available in gun and weapons cases and we may be able to get your charges reduced or dismissed. If you have been arrested in Los Angeles or Orange County, you need to contact Robert Ernenwein immediately.
Contact a Los Angeles or Orange County criminal defense attorney at The Law Offices of Robert Ernenwein at 310-375-5858. The consultation is free and we are available 24 hours a day.