Penal Code 29800 (formerly PC 12021)

PC 29800 – Felon with a Firearm

PC 12021, 29800- Felon with a Firearm

Felon with a Firearm – Table of Contents

Felon with a Firearm Charges

Felon with a Firearm in California, there are three specific groups of people who are not allowed to carry a felon with a firearm. These three groups include:

  1. Anyone who has been convicted of a felony
  2. Anyone who has been convicted of a specific list of misdemeanors
  3. Anyone who is addicted to narcotics

In order to be convicted of felon with a firearm CA PC 29800 the prosecutor must prove the three elements of the crime:

  1. That you can be categorized into one of the groups mentioned above
  2. That you owned, purchased, received, or possessed a felon with a firearm
  3. That you knew the felon with a firearm was in your possession

If the prosecutor cannot prove these three elements of the crime then you will not be convicted of felon with a firearm CA PC 29800.

Penalties for Felon with a Firearm

However, if the prosecutor can prove the elements of the crime and you are convicted, then you will face:

  • Up to three years in state prison
  • Fines up to $10,000
  • You will have to give the weapon to the police

Some related offenses include:

CA PC 29800(c) states that if you are caught with a firearm and have been convicted of either:

Then you will face up to three years in state prison and fines up to $1,000

CA PC 29800(e) states that if you were convicted for any of the following, as a minor, and are caught with a gun before you turn 30 years old:

Then you will face up to three years in state prison and fines up to $1,000

Felon with a Firearm CA PC 29800(g) states that if you are caught with a gun in violation of a restraining order then you will face up to three years in state prison and fines up to $1,000

Prosecuting for Felon with a Firearm CA PC 29800

As previously mentioned, in order to convicted of CA PC 29800 the prosecutor must prove the following elements of the crime:

  1. That you can be categorized into one of the groups mentioned above
  2. That you owned, purchased, received, or possessed a felon with a firearm
  3. That you knew the felon with a firearm was in your possession

The first element of the crime is that you fall into one of the groups mentioned above, the first group is that you are a felon with a firearm. In order to be considered a felon with a firearm in California you must have had a prior felony conviction that resulted in felony punishment, or that you had a prior felony conviction that resulted in 30 or more days in a federal correctional facility and/or more than $1,000 in fines.

The third group categorizes all people who are addicted to narcotics. Addicted is defined as being both emotionally and physically dependent on a drug and have an increased tolerance to its effects.

The second element of the crime is that you owned, purchased, received or possessed a firearm. California defines a firearm as, “any device, designed to be used as a weapon, from which is expelled through a barrel, a protective by the force of any explosion or other form of combustion.

The final element of the crime that the prosecutor must prove is that you knew of the felon with a firearm that was in your possession. Possession in California is defined broadly and falls into two different categories: actual possession and constructive possession. Actual possession means that you have physical control of the firearm, meaning if you are holding a firearm then you have actual possession of it. Comparatively, constructive possession means that you know have access to the firearm or the right to control it. In other words, you have constructive possession of a firearm if you are not near the firearm but you know where it is.

These varying definitions of possession are important because in order to be convicted of the crime the prosecutor must prove that you knew you possessed the firearm. If you were in actual possession of the firearm then it’s not difficult to prove; however, if the firearm was in constructive possession then it becomes increasingly difficult.

Defending CA PC 29800

Use a Gun Vault

Intent

There are a myriad of defenses that your criminal defense can employ to prove your innocence. Firstly, your criminal defense attorney will see if you were in possession of the gun, either actual possession or constructive possession. If your attorney can prove that you were not in possession of the gun then you cannot be found guilty of felon with a firearm.

Next, your criminal defense attorney will investigate whether or not you knew about the presence of the gun. If your attorney can prove that you were unaware of the guns presence then you cannot be found guilty of felon with a firearm. Your attorney will look into the police report and analyze the details of the arrest, perhaps you were in a friend’s car or a friend’s apartment and was unaware of the gun’s presence.

Your attorney will also see if you were in immediate danger. California protects its citizens from being punished from having a gun if:

You reasonably believe that you are in imminent danger of death or suffering great bodily injury, and

  • You didn’t act with a preconceived plan, and
  • The firearm became available to you, and
  • You only used the gun to defend yourself, and
  • There was not an alternative way to protect yourself

Self Defense

If you used the gun in accordance to California’s self-defense law then you are not guilty of felon with a firearm.

A viable defense is if you only had temporary possession of the firearm. There are three scenarios that exempt you from felon with a firearm CA PC 29800 conviction:

  1. That you only possessed the firearm momentarily
  2. That you possessed the firearm for the sole purpose of abandonment, disposal, or destruction
  3. That your possession wasn’t for the purpose of preventing the firearm from being seized by law enforcement

If your attorney can prove that any of the above scenarios pertain to your case then you will not convicted of CA PC 29800.

Another viable defense that your criminal defense attorney can employ is to prove that your possession of the gun was justifiable. In order for a felon with a firearm to have a justifiable possession of a felony, it must fall under one of the following scenarios:

  1. That you took the firearm from a person who was committing a crime against you
  2. That you possessed the gun only long enough for you to deliver it to a law enforcement agency
  3. Prior to leaving to deliver the firearm, you contacted the appropriate law enforcement agency

If any of the aforementioned scenarios pertain to your case then you will not be convicted of CA PC 29800.

One defense that is not viable is to claim that you were practicing your Second Amendment right to bear arms. California practices strong gun regulations, so if you act in such a manner as to appear as a threat then you no longer have the right to bear arms.

We Want to Help

If you or a loved one is being charged with PC 29800, Possession of a Firearm, we invite you to contact us immediately for a free case review. Schedule an appointment to meet with us in person, or feel free to submit an evaluation online and we will get in contact with you ASAP. We can provide a free consultation in our office, or by phone. Our experienced and assiduous Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyers will be sure to fight until the end to reduce or drop your charges completely.

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How to Win Your Case

We cannot stress enough that you read, understand and follow these 10 basic rules if you are criminally charged or under investigation:

  1. Don’t ever talk to the police
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  4. Tell police you need to contact your attorney
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  6. If the police knock on your door, don't answer!
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