Carrying Concealed Firearm Within Vehicle
As one of the states with the strictest firearm control laws in the country, it's all too easy for you to be charged with carrying a concealed firearm within your own vehicle if you live in California. If you've found yourself on the wrong side of the law in such an instance, use this page to learn what to expect and how you might defend yourself from conviction.
Being Charged with Carrying a Concealed Firearm Within a Vehicle
California qualifies all cases of illegally carrying a concealed firearm with Penal Code 25400. Section (a)(1) handles aspects where the firearm is stored within your vehicle, and it outlines the burden of proof the prosecution must reach to convict you of the crime.
- The defendant has to carry the firearm within a vehicle
- The firearm must be capable of being concealed
- The defendant must know that the firearm was in the vehicle
- The firearm must actually be concealed, not merely capable of it
- The vehicle must be under the control of the defendant
In legal terms, any firearm capable of being concealed is:
- A firearm or device that may be used as a firearm
- That has a barrel of 16 inches or less in length
All of these stipulations offer multiple defensive strategies that your legal counsel can employ.
Penalties for These Charges
The penalties for carrying a concealed firearm within your vehicle depend on whether you are charged with a misdemeanor or felony. Misdemeanors are normally charged for first offenses and may include penalties like:
- Up to one year in county jail
- Up to $1000 in fines
However, if you have prior offenses or if extenuating circumstances make the situation surrounding your arrest more violent, you may be charged with a felony. In such a case, penalties can include:
- Up to three years in county jail
- Up to $10,000 in fines
- Probation for one year after jail
Defenses for These Charges
There are multiple ways your legal counsel can defend you against these charges with the right preparation.
Lack of Knowledge
If the firearm was in your vehicle without your knowledge, you cannot legally be held liable for having it. This may be the case, for example, if the firearm was stashed in your trunk before you got into the car.
You Have the Right License
In such cases where you have a legal and non-expired concealed carry license, you cannot be charged with this crime.
Illegal Search and Seizure
If the police illegally searched or seized your vehicle and found the weapon, your charges will be thrown out. Your defense counsel may recommend attempting to poke holes in the activities of the police officers who arrested you, possibly pointing to things like bias.
Contact a California Criminal Defense Attorney Today
No matter what the exact circumstances of your case, you should contact the law offices of Peter James Chambers right away. With years of legal expertise and experience helping regular folks just like you, we're well-equipped and more ready than ever to help you avoid conviction. Contact us today and we'll get started with a free consultation.