10-20-Life Gun Laws
Simply put, CA Penal Code 12022.53 is used to enhance state prison sentences when using a gun while committing a serious felony. A very simple rule of thumb goes as follows:
- An additional 10-year sentence for using a gun
- An additional 20-year sentence for firing a gun
- An additional 25-years-to-life sentence for killing someone or causing serious bodily injury
The serious felonies that CA Penal Code 12022.53 pertains to are:
- CA Penal Code 187 – Murder
- CA Penal Codes 203 and 205 – Mayhem laws
- CA Penal Codes 207, 209, and 209.5 – Kidnapping
- CA Penal Code 211 – Robbery
- Some California sex crimes
Furthermore, if convicted of CA Penal Code 12022.53 you will go prison. A conviction of this penal code does not offer probation.
Using a firearm is basically the same crime as Brandishing a Weapon, CA Penal Code 417 – for a full understanding of the what using a weapon entails read the Prosecuting CA Penal Code 417.
A 20-year enhancement requires that you fired, or discharged, the gun. Simply put, if during the execution of a serious felony you fired a gun you will receive 20-years in a state prison.
A 25-years-to-life sentence enhancement requires that you discharge the gun and cause the victim great bodily injury or death. What’s interesting is that the serious bodily injury or death does not need to be caused by the bullet itself, only that the gunshot caused the injury.
Defending CA Penal Code 122022.53
There are several valid legal defenses that can prevent you from being found guilty of CA Penal Code 122022.53, the first being that you did not commit the underlying felony that would subjugate you to a penalty enhancement. If your criminal defense attorney can prove that you are innocent of the underlying offense then you are not longer vulnerable to the enhancement because it is exactly that, an enhancement and not a separate crime in itself.
Furthermore, if your criminal defense lawyer can prove that you did not use the firearm then you will not be found guilty of the crime. Because of the nature of the crime, it not uncommon for people to be wrongfully accused of using a firearm. It’s been proven that when people have a gun pointed at them they become fixated on the firearm and not the person holding the firearm. If your attorney can prove that you were not the one who fired the gun, or cast doubt that it was you who fired the gun, then you will not be convicted.
The next legal defense that your criminal defense attorney will explore is whether or not you were acting in self-defense. In California there are laws to protect citizens from be prosecuted for acting in self-defense. However, it’s important to note that you are only protected under California self-defense laws when you:
- Reasonably believe that you or another person is in imminent harm, and
- You don’t use excessive force to defend yourself when you fight back
If your attorney can prove that you were acting in self-defense then you will not be convicted of CA Penal Code 122022.53.
If you are facing California’s 10-20-Life gun laws then it’s imperative to seek counsel from a skilled criminal defense lawyer with experience. A conviction of this offense carries extreme sentence enhancements that will drastically change the course of your life. Seppi Esfandi is an effective criminal defense attorney who is a Certified Specialist in Criminal Law with over 13-years of experience representing clients for a myriad of criminal matters, including CA Penal Code 122022.53. When facing penalty enhancements of 10, 20 and 25 years it pays to have a Certified Specialist.