Gun owners residing in California need to ensure they follow the letter of the law when it comes to gun safety and management. Why? Because California features some of the strictest gun laws in the United States. This is why it is so important for anyone confronting criminal charges related to alleged illegal gun possession to retain a skilled and seasoned criminal defense lawyer in San Francisco.
Overview of California Gun Possession Laws
For California residents who are over the age of 18, you have the right to purchase and own a firearm. However, it is important to note that some people are legally prohibited from owning a firearm in the Golden State, including:
- Individuals convicted of a felony offense
- Individuals with two or more convictions related to brandishing a weapon
- Individuals diagnosed with certain mental conditions
- Individuals convicted of certain misdemeanors or other crimes, including criminal offenses associated with acts of domestic violence and/or physical abuse.
California Residents Can Obtain a Concealed Firearms Permit
California Penal Code Sections 26150 and 26155 established that residents have the ability to obtain a permit that enables them to carry a concealed pistol, revolver, or other firearm. In order to carry a concealed firearm, an individual must have their CCW (Carry Concealed Weapons) license issued by a county sheriff or city police department on them to ensure they can show the licensure to members of law enforcement, if necessary.
How to Obtain a Concealed Carry Permit in California
To qualify for the concealed carry permit, you need to show the following:
- You are of good moral character;
- There is good cause for the license to be issued
- You are a resident of the locality in which you've applied for the license, and
- You completed the required firearms training.
Understanding Your Legal Rights When Arrested for Alleged Illegal Gun Possession
When members of law enforcement take a suspect into custody after placing them under arrest, the person who is being arrested maintains certain rights that must be observed and respected. Among these rights includes the Miranda warning, generally known as the right to remain silent.
The Miranda warning means that police officers must inform you, with possible variations in wording, that you have the right to remain silent, anything you say can be used against you in court, and that you have the right to have an attorney present during any interrogation.
If you were placed under arrest and not read these legal rights, your San Francisco criminal defense lawyer should take action and file a motion with the court requesting that any statements you made be ignored by the court and stricken from the record.
When it comes to questioning by police, it is important to understand that you are obligated to assert your right to remain silent. Basically, this means if you decide to volunteer information to the police, it can be used against you in court.
Possible Defenses for a Gun Possession Criminal Charge
There are numerous arguments that your San Francisco gun possession defense attorney can make to contest or weaken the charges filed against you. Some of those possible defenses include:
- Self-defense – You believed your life or the lives of others were in imminent danger.
- Accidental firing of the weapon – You were not acting negligently, and the gun went off anyway.
- Lack of ownership or knowledge of the weapon in your possession – someone else left a weapon in your vehicle or planted it on you.
- Arguing that the firearm was identified by law enforcement via an illegal search and seizure.
- Failure to follow required procedure by law enforcement, such as the police failing to read you your Miranda rights.
Please understand that the best defense for your gun possession case will depend largely on the unique facts and circumstances of your situation. This is why it is important to schedule a time to speak with an attorney so they can provide you with guidance on what steps need to be taken to protect your rights and freedom.
Why It is Important to Retain the Services of a San Francisco Criminal Defense Lawyer for a Gun Possession Charge
Many people consider federal and state gun laws to be quite complex and difficult to navigate. If that was not bad enough, the penalties for gun possession crimes vary significantly depending on your location when arrested, as well as whether you were in possession of illegal or stolen goods, or under the influence of alcohol or narcotics. An experienced gun possession defense attorney will go to work to make sure that you are afforded all the protections you are entitled to under the law. Your criminal defense attorney can investigate the scene of the arrest, speak with witnesses, and negotiate with government lawyers to create a solid case for leniency or dismissal of the charges.
Speak with an Experienced San Francisco Gun Possession Defense Lawyer with the Geller Firm Today
If you or a family member was arrested and charged with a gun possession crime, now is not the time to throw your hands up in despair. Now is the time for action. Contact The Geller Firm today to schedule a time to speak with an experienced and respected San Francisco criminal defense attorney. Whether the charges are considered to be a misdemeanor offense or are related to a more serious felony charge, The Geller Firm can help.
We are available for virtual and in-person consultations. We serve San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland, Walnut Creek, Pleasanton, San Rafael, Palo Alto, and the surrounding cities. Call us today at 415-840-0570 to schedule an appointment.