Orange County Gun Possession Lawyer
Gun laws across the country are always up for debate, with many questioning what the most favorable solutions are to keep our communities safe. That’s exactly the intent of gun law. To keep society safe and protect those who are not capable of protecting themselves. However, sometimes, individuals find themselves being questioned if they have violated gun laws to the point of facing criminal charges. This is where the role of an Orange County gun possession lawyer comes into play. These are trained professionals equipped with knowledge and experience to guide individuals through the legal system to ensure their rights are protected.What Does Gun Possession Law Cover?
Gun possession laws are designed to regulate how weapons are owned, used, and transported to keep the public safe. Its intent is to reduce the potential for gun crimes while also ensuring every citizen’s right to bear arms is not violated. Gun laws can be better understood by breaking them down into different categories:
Eligibility and ownership: Laws establish who is allowed to own and use firearms. They also restrict specific segments of the population from accessing them, such as those with criminal histories, mental health concerns, anyone under the age of 18, and in some instances where individuals have been served a restraining order. These restrictions are especially strict in California, where background checks and eligibility verification are mandated.
Licensing and registration: Many states require their residents to participate in background checks, safety training, and, in some cases, waiting periods to obtain a gun license and firearm. California requires a 10-day waiting period and various safety certificates.
Carrying firearms: Carry laws are designed to dictate how an individual can transport their gun. In California, you are not allowed to carry your firearm around in public. However, you do have the right to conceal your loaded weapon and bring it with you. In order to have this privilege, you must obtain a permit and still be respectful of any identified gun-free zones throughout the state.
Storage requirements: There are specific rules for how gun owners should store their weapons when not in use. This is important, as it can prevent someone who is not permitted to handle the firearm from having access to it. Unfortunately, there have been incidents of accidental discharges from someone other than the owner handling the gun who should not have had access. In some cases, this could be deadly. California has designed its own set of rules to mandate all owners to use their gun’s safety features and stow them away when not in use.
Sales and transfer: Once you own a firearm, you do not have the unsupervised authority to just sell it to anyone. Just like a car or a home, there is a legal process that needs to be followed. California requires specific documentation, background checks, and a 10-day waiting period to check on any individual you may wish to sell or transfer your weapon to. This is intended to prevent any instances where someone who knows they cannot legally purchase a gun tries to obtain one illegally through a friend.
Type of firearm: Every state will have its own laws on what type of weapons are allowed to be owned. California has its own list of banned weapons. This includes assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Anyone caught violating this law in California will be subject to investigation and criminal weapons charges.
Use of firearms: Aside from recreational use, there are laws that govern when someone is able to use their gun for self-defense and what penalties one might face if they were to use it while committing a crime. In California, an individual is only allowed to defend themself or someone nearby if they believe there is an immediate threat that could result in injury or death. The state also has a “stand your ground” law, which means there is no legal requirement that would force someone to have to retreat from a threat before being able to use force. If an individual defending themself kills the perceived threat, the state will take the investigation extremely seriously to ensure it was a justified form of defense.
Ammunition regulation: The reason why ammunition is carved out as its own category is because California imposes strict guidelines pertaining to the type, caliber, and quantity of ammunition that can be purchased. The state does not allow anyone to possess or sell large-capacity magazines that can hold more than ten rounds. California also requires that all ammunition be purchased through a licensed vendor so that a background check will be looked into before any transactions are allowed.
Reporting any lost or stolen guns: If you have a registered firearm in California and believe it has been lost or stolen, you only have five days to report the incident without repercussions. This helps the state look into potential thefts of such powerful weapons before too much time has passed to conduct an investigation.
While all these laws are seemingly clear, there is a ton of nuance in gun law that only a seasoned gun defense attorney can comprehend. If anyone were to question your actions, connect with a defense lawyer immediately to look into the accusations.What Are Common Repercussions for Gun Crimes in Orange County?
Orange County and the rest of California take guilty gun crime verdicts very seriously to deter the behavior from happening again. Some of the most common repercussions one could face include:
Various fines and fees: Fines can be expected no matter how light or severe the rest of the punishment is. These fines can often require thousands of dollars to be paid as a penalty, but also as a motivator to not have to pay that sum of money again in the future by following the law.
Incarceration: Severe gun crimes will likely require some time spent in prison. For first-time offenders with a lighter offense, it could be as short as a few months. For someone who has been caught making the same mistake repeatedly, the length of the sentence will increase each time. If there were any aggravating circumstances in the gun crime, such as trying to harm someone, one could face several years behind bars.
Probation: Anyone convicted of a gun crime may be placed on probation, which is a predetermined period of time where they have to abide by certain conditions. This could include regular check-ins from a probation officer and community service as a balance between supervision and freedom before being set completely free.
Firearm forfeiture: While you may be able to reenter society, there is a high chance you will not be able to with your guns. California has a 10-year gun prohibition law that prevents people with misdemeanors and felonies from owning and using a gun in both their personal and public lives.
Restraining orders: If the crime committed was against a specific individual, it is not unreasonable for a restraining order to be issued against you. This is to help the victim feel safe and protected as they advance in their daily life and try to move on from the incident.
Education programs: Sometimes, there are required education programs that need to be finished before or immediately after spending time in jail. These are often recommended by the court and are custom suggestions based on the nature of the crime. For example, a gun safety course could be recommended to someone who accidentally harmed someone by not operating their firearm correctly. Anger management is another common education program required in instances where uncontrolled anger leads to a crime, like domestic violence.
Criminal record: Because background checks are so prevalent in California, a gun conviction will be permanently added to the individual’s criminal record. This is to ensure anyone who has committed a crime with a gun cannot legally purchase one and potentially inflict more harm in the community.
A weapons crime defense attorney understands all of these repercussions and will try to find opportunities to reduce or remove some of these punishments in their defense strategy.Why Would Someone Be Mistakenly Accused of a Gun Crime?
Everyone is granted the right of innocence unless proven otherwise in court. Not all alleged incidents of gun crimes end up being proven true. Some of the most common reasons why these accusations fall flat include:
Mistaken identity: One of the most frequent reasons why an allegation might be dropped is due to a mistaken identity. Witnesses and victims are not always correct in identifying their attacker, especially in high-stress instances where there is a gun. This can make ordinary observations unreliable, which is why a defense attorney will cross-examine all of the prosecution’s witnesses to see if there is any possible doubt in their minds about who committed the crime.
False accusations: While there are genuine instances of mistaken identity, there are also crime cases where someone has been falsely accused on purpose. Personal vendettas or unresolved disputes are some common reasons to blame for these occurrences. If you believe to be innocent and are suspicious of past events in your relationship with the accuser that could be driving this behavior, share that with your defense lawyer.
Misinterpretation of intent: Sometimes, an individual is mistakenly accused if their actions or intentions were not fully understood. This happens often in gun cases, especially when someone may have been carrying a firearm legally for protection, but someone else perceived the presence of that gun as a threat.
Errors in the collection of forensic data: While forensic evidence is typically the most compelling, there is also room for error. There could be inaccuracies found in hindsight, like gunshot residue tests or ballistic matching. A criminal defense attorney will request another look into how any forensic evidence was collected to ensure any human error is not inaccurately linking the wrong person to a gun crime.
Lack of alibi: This can be one of the most frustrating aspects of a defense trial. If only the prosecutor’s client and the defendant were at the scene of the crime, there wouldn’t be any direct, non-biased witnesses to also give their account of what happened. Sometimes a defendant knows they were not at the crime scene, but they also know they were home alone and don’t have anyone in their life who can attest to that moment. Because of this, it could cause suspicion. The prosecution will lean into that suspicion to their advantage.
Circumstantial evidence: Sometimes the only form of evidence the prosecution has is circumstantial, such as saying the defendant was near the crime scene or is suspected of having a motive. In these situations, it is easier for a defense attorney to cast doubt in the jury’s mind that there is not enough evidence on the table to link their client to the alleged crime.
Bias and stereotypes: Unfortunately, racial and socioeconomic biases can find their way into the courtroom. Sometimes, people accuse the wrong individual based on their own personal stereotypes or prejudices. If a defense attorney is suspicious of this, they will look into other areas of the accuser's life to see if they can connect any other evidence to their unjust bias.What Defense Strategies Can Win Against an Unjust Gun Crime Accusation?
There are a ton of different strategies that have worked in the past for victims of inaccurate gun crime accusations. Some that a defense lawyer may choose to pursue include:
Challenging the prosecution’s evidence: First, all evidence needs to be collected legally to be used in court. This is one of the first things a good defense attorney will check on, as being able to throw out illegally collected evidence could disrupt the prosecution’s entire legal strategy. If the evidence is legitimate, then an attorney will be hyper-focused on identifying any irregularities or inconsistencies in it. For example, they may spot a gap in the evidence, such as inconsistent witness statements, that could help.
Questioning the credibility of a witness: Good witnesses for a prosecutor are those who have no prior connection or bias towards either party in the case. Unfortunately for them, that is not always the case. In these instances, a defense attorney will hone in on any area of the witnesses’ life that they believe could raise doubts to the jury about the quality of their testimony.
Self-defense: A defendant may acknowledge that a firearm was used as self-defense in the incident. This opens up the possibility of enacting a self-defense claim. This puts the ounce on the defendant’s legal team to demonstrate they were in danger and had to use force to protect their own life. Surveillance footage of the scene or medical reports of any injuries they sustained can help support this strategy.
Lack of knowledge: If the defendant was unaware they had a firearm in their unlawful possession, it could allow room for a lack of knowledge defense strategy. For example, a defense attorney will argue that it is not fair for their client to accept blame and repercussions for illegally possessing the firearm if there is evidence someone else placed it in their belongings without their knowledge or consent.
These are some of the most frequently leveraged defense strategies against an unjust gun crime accusation. To ensure a defense lawyer can deploy the most effective plan possible, it is highly recommended that no details are left out during consultations. Even if there are parts of the story that are difficult to share, a defense attorney will not be strong in court if the prosecution presents information they were not warned about.What Makes a Strong Plea Deal Negotiation for a Gun Crime?
Understanding the strength of the prosecution’s case: While defense attorneys support their clients, they also keep a close pulse on their opinion of the prosecution’s strategy. If they believe their case is strong with clear evidence, they will have a conversation with the defendant about a plea deal. In instances where an attorney is struggling to find any holes in opposing counsel’s claims, it is likely the next route to try and reduce punishment rather than avoiding it. If a decision is made to not try and negotiate a plea deal, then the fate of the case will rest in the jury’s decision. There is no changing a plea deal once the judge has made their ruling.
Evaluating the defendant’s circumstances: Those who have never faced criminal charges before have a stronger chance of obtaining a plea deal. The court is generally more lenient toward first-time offenders as long as the crime is not too severe. Coupling a clean background with strong community ties can help secure the lesser sentence.
Proposing alternative sentencing: If the defendant is a non-violent offender, the prosecution could be open to discussions on alternative sentencing. In exchange for spending time in prison, they may agree to offer community service, probation, or mandatory rehab. To receive this plea deal, the defendant may have to admit guilt.Get the Criminal Defense Strategy You Need Today
If you believe to be a victim of an unjust gun crime allegation, connect with the defense attorneys at Power Trial Lawyers today. We have spent years refining how we approach different defense strategies and will be honored to work with you and for you throughout your case.