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How Much Jail Time for a Gun Charge

Posted in Criminal Defense,Sentencing on September 17, 2018

California has some of the strictest gun regulations in the country – and violating these laws can come with substantial consequences. As gun violations can be anywhere from a misdemeanor up to a felony, the specific penalty will vary depending on the severity of the crime. Often, such punishments involve fines, and restrictions on firearms licenses.

Selling Guns

Anyone who sells, leases, or otherwise transfers a gun must have proper license to do so. Failing to meet these requirements is a misdemeanor and can lead up to a maximum fine of $1,000 and/or up to one year in county jail.

Felons With Firearms

California law prevents gun ownership for convicted felons, those convicted of certain misdemeanors, and narcotic drug addicts from owning or acquiring guns. These categories are in addition to already existing federal restrictions. Owning, possessing, purchasing, or receiving a gun does not involve jail time, but it can lead to revocation of your gun rights for at least ten years, if not your lifetime. Minors guilty of this offense will have their gun rights restricted until they are at least 30 years old.

Carrying a Concealed Firearm

Carrying a concealed firearm on your person or in your vehicle is a misdemeanor so long as there are not any additional aggravating circumstances. If convicted, you can face up to a year in jail and/or a maximum fine of $1,000.

However, concealing a firearm when you have a prior felony or California firearm offense, have knowledge that the firearm is stolen, are an active member of a criminal street gang, do not lawfully possess the firearm, or have any other restrictions on legally possessing the firearm, the crime then becomes a felony. You can face sixteen months to three years in county jail and a maximum fine of $10,000.

For those who have previously violated the concealed firearm code and are on a repeat offense, there is a minimum three-month county jail sentence, but can last up to six months.

Possession of Firearms at Specific Locations

Various parts of California’s penal codes relate to possession of guns in specific locations:

  • Possessing or discharging a firearm on or near school grounds can result in up to seven years in county jail.
  • Possessing firearms in government buildings can be a misdemeanor or a felony, leading to up to three years in county jail.
  • Likewise, bringing a loaded firearm on or near the grounds of the Governor’s mansion or residence of any other Legislative official can be a misdemeanor or a felony, punishable by one to three years in county jail.
  • Bringing a real, partial, or replica firearm or any ammunition to an airport, passenger vessel terminal, or other form of public transportation can result in up to six months in county jail.
  • Additional violations can occur depending on the type of firearm possessed. For example, some prohibited firearms can lead to up to eight years in jail.

Use of a Firearm

Penalties also exist for use of a firearm, in these cases:

  • Brandishing a firearm: three months to one-year jail sentence, or longer for violations in prohibited areas
  • Inflicting bodily injury while brandishing a firearm: one year in county jail to three years in state prison
  • Drive-by shooting: up to one year in country jail or three years in state prison for the driver; one year in county jail or seven years in state prison for the shooter
  • Assault: up to twelve years, depending on the firearm
  • Assault of a school employee: six months in county jail to eight years in state prison
  • Shooting at dwellings or vehicles: one year in county jail to three years in state prison if dwelling is uninhabited; three to seven years in state prison if dwelling is inhabited

Because of the severe consequences of firearm offenses in California, it is in your best interest to have a skilled Riverside criminal attorney to support your case.