At The Law Offices of Michael Berg our San Diego criminal defense attorney understands the seriousness of criminal charges. If you are facing a misdemeanor, felony or federal charge we will fight for your rights.
401 W A St #2600
San Diego
United States
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Michael Berg

San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney | DUI, Federal Crimes

Illegal Weapons

California Illegal Weapons Attorney


Guns and weapons charges are aggressively prosecuted in California. The penalties for gun crimes are very tough and are becoming more severe. Most offenses carry the prospect of time in jail or state prison, expensive fines, and a criminal record that will follow you for the rest of your life. If you or a loved one has been arrested and charged with a gun or weapons offense, you should contact an gun crimes defense attorney as soon as possible. At the Law Offices of Michael S. Berg, our experienced gun crime attorneys can handle the complexities of a weapons offense and will make sure that your constitutional rights are protected. We will aggressively defend you and determine whether the evidence against you was legally obtained.

California Gun Restrictions

Under California law, a person is not required to obtain a license to purchase, receive, own, or possess a gun. Essentially anyone can own a firearm in the state, unless they are specifically prohibited. There are five categories of individuals who are banned from possessing a gun:

  • Felons: Anyone convicted of any felony offense in any jurisdiction is banned for life from exercising their gun rights. The lifetime ban also applies to people with two or more misdemeanor convictions for brandishing a weapon, or one misdemeanor conviction for assault with an assault weapon, assault with a firearm on a peace officer, or shooting at an inhabited dwelling or car.
  • Persons convicted of certain misdemeanor offenses: California law imposes a ten-year firearms ban on approximately 40 different misdemeanor convictions, including battery, sexual battery, corporal injury on a spouse/mate, spousal battery, criminal threats, stalking, etc.
  • Persons addicted to narcotics: If one is addicted (emotionally and physically dependent) to a narcotic drug, her or she is banned from exercising gun rights.
  • Persons who suffer from mental illness: Generally, if a court has declared someone to be dangerous to themselves or others due to a mental disorder or illness, that person is prohibited from purchasing, receiving, owning, or possessing firearms until they are certified as no longer posing a threat.
  • Minors: Anyone under the age of 18 is prohibited from exercising gun rights (and under 21 if the firearm is a handgun).


California Gun Offenses

Some gun crimes are stand-alone charges, while others are an enhancement to a separate charge, such as assault. Sometimes, carrying a gun can turn a misdemeanor into a felony charge. Some common gun charges include the following:

  • assault with a deadly weapon
  • carrying a concealed weapon (without a license)
  • possession of an assault weapon
  • possession of a large capacity ammunition feeding device (such as a magazine holding more than 10 rounds)
  • illegal sale of firearms
  • brandishing a firearm
  • unlawful discharge of a weapon
  • carrying a concealed and loaded firearm in a vehicle
  • federal firearms violations, such as possession of a silencer
  • shooting at an inhabited dwelling or occupied car


Gun Crime Penalties

In general, a gun offense is a felony under California law, however possession can be charged as a misdemeanor in some cases. Penalties will vary depending upon the circumstances, such as:

  • the type of weapon involved
  • what the weapon was being used for
  • if the weapon was loaded or concealed
  • the person’s criminal record
  • any other factors that might affect the sentence

Felony weapons convictions usually carry a prison term of four to twelve years, depending upon the circumstances. For a misdemeanor, the maximum allowable sentence is a fine and up to one year in the county jail.

California Gun Crimes Attorney

Although most Californians have a constitutional right to possess firearms, violation of a gun law can bring very serious consequences. These laws can be very complex and if you have been charged with a firearm or gun crime, it is essential that you retain the help of an experienced gun law attorney. At the Law Offices of Michael S. Berg, our attorneys have the experience and skill to aggressively defend you. Depending upon your circumstances, there are even several ways to petition for dismissal of the charges, including self-defense (of person or property), accident (lack of intent), or on constitutional grounds (illegal search and seizures). Call today for a free case evaluation.