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Home » Gun Charges Lawyer » Possession Of A Stolen Firearm Lawyer

California Possession Of A Stolen Firearm Attorney – Penal Code 487(d)(2)

How Can My Rights Law’s Gun Charges Lawyer Help You With A Possession Of A Stolen Firearm Charge?

Let’s face it: no one wants to go to prison. Unfortunately, if an officer finds you to be in possession of a stolen firearm, you just might wind up behind bars. To reduce the risk of this happening, you’ll need a California criminal defense attorney who knows the law on your side. Continue reading if you’d like to learn more about this California law and how we can help you.

California Gun Charges Defense Lawyer

If you have been charged with carrying a stolen firearm, you should promptly retain an experienced criminal defense lawyer. You will want someone working hard to protect your rights and place you in the best position possible, given the facts of your case. There is a lot at stake, considering the severity of these charges. Remember, an experienced gun crime defense attorney can help you understand your legal rights and the possible defenses that apply in your case. My Rights Law has extensive experience protecting the rights of the accused in California criminal offenses. We are here to defend you against your charges. To learn more, call the skilled gun charges lawyer from My Rights Law at (888) 702-8882 or contact us through our secure web form today.

Penal Code 496 PC Possessing Or Carrying A Stolen Firearm Under Prop 47

California prohibits you from taking ownership of a stolen firearm and prohibits you from carrying a stolen gun. Until several years ago, it was a felony offense to have possession of a stolen gun. Then, in 2014, California passed Prop 47, which reduced certain felonies to misdemeanor crimes or made them wobbler offenses.[1] Wobbler offenses are offenses that the state may charge as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the circumstances. Possession of a stolen firearm is a wobbler offense.

It’s still a felony to carry a stolen firearm.

But, in general, you’re violating state laws if you steal a gun, buy a stolen gun, or carry a stolen gun. Thus, you might ask yourself, “What must the state prove for a jury to find me guilty?” Well, the state only has to prove that you knew or had reasonable cause to believe that the gun you carried was stolen, or you knew it was stolen as it was in your possession.

What Are The Penalties For Possession Of A Stolen Firearm?

As previously stated, a prosecutor has the discretion to charge you with a misdemeanor or felony crime if you receive a stolen firearm. It’s a misdemeanor offense if the stolen firearm is worth less than $950 and you don’t have any prior convictions.[2] If, however, the gun is worth $950, then it’s a felony.[3] If a judge or jury convicts you of this offense as a misdemeanor, then you’re looking at serving up to one year in county jail. If a judge or jury convicts you of it as a felony, you can serve up to three years in prison. Because it’s automatically a felony for carrying a stolen firearm, you’ll likely serve three years.[4]

Bear in mind that, thankfully, if you’re the one who stole the gun, a prosecutor won’t charge you with theft and possession of a stolen firearm for the same piece of property. The prosecutor can, however, charge you with both receiving a stolen firearm and carrying a stolen gun. If so, the judge may sentence you to serve your time concurrently or consecutively. You’ll be incarcerated for less time if you serve your time concurrently because the sentences run together. If a judge orders you to serve them consecutively, then they’ll run back-to-back so that you may serve four years total.

In either situation, serving time is taxing. It takes you from your family and friends. It hinders your career and education goals, making it less likely for you to become gainfully employed upon release. Furthermore, it can take years to get a conviction sealed or expunged. This means anyone can look you up and see what’s on your criminal background. The effects are often haunting.

What Are Viable Defenses To Possession Of A Stolen Firearm?

Now that you’re aware of the penalties for this offense, surely, the next thing on your mind is how to defend yourself against this charge. Fortunately, you shouldn’t have to worry about defending yourself. The knowledgeable criminal defense attorneys at My Rights Law have more than enough years of experience to craft strategic legal arguments on your behalf. But we also understand that every person accused of committing a crime likes to have a general idea of what to expect. Therefore, we’ve included some defenses below. Of course, we should know about your specific case, so we’ll have a clearer picture of which arguments are best for you.

Lack Of Knowledge

Remember that this California law requires you to know or have reasonably known that the gun in your possession was stolen. Thus, the first defense that probably comes to mind is to say that you had no idea the gun was stolen. Suppose your close friend knows that you’ve been looking to buy a gun. That friend calls you up and says they have a gun for you and will give it to you for free. Naturally, you jump at the chance and take it. A prosecutor may say you should’ve reasonably known the gun was stolen because people don’t give away guns for free. Yet, a wise attorney would counter that you genuinely believed your close friend was just that—a great friend.

On the other hand, if your firearm doesn’t have a serial number or if there are posters of a stolen firearm posted around where you live, it’s harder to argue that nothing gave you reasonable cause to know your firearm was stolen.

Lack Of Possession

Considering that the law also requires you to have actual possession of the stolen property, your attorney can argue that you didn’t. Let’s say you knew the gun was stolen, but you wanted it anyway. Let’s say you even told the seller you’d arrive by a specific time and date to pick it up. But then you had a change of heart, and you never actually went to get the weapon. Under these circumstances, you never had possession of the gun, so an essential element is missing. This defense may not hold up if you had a change of heart after getting possession of it, however.

Innocent Intent

Another defense is to argue that you sincerely intended to return the stolen property to its rightful owner. This defense is known as innocent intent.[5] In this case, it must’ve been your original plan to return the firearm when you went to retrieve it. Also, you must’ve followed through with your plan or made legitimate attempts to return it. If, however, you decided to keep it for yourself, then your original plan no longer matters. You can no longer use this defense, and you’ll likely be found guilty of possession of a stolen firearm.

Call My Rights Law’s California Gun Charges Lawyer Today

Whenever you’re faced with a felony charge, you’ll want to consult California criminal defense attorneys who are experts in gun laws. You’ll want defense attorneys who are well-informed so that they can fight aggressively on your behalf. What’s more, you’ll want attorneys who have the time to devote efficient energy and effort to your case. Public defenders are enthusiastic and passionate lawyers, but they’re usually too bogged down with heavy caseloads to give your serious matter the attention it deserves.

That’s why we at My Rights Law are here to help you. So, don’t wait. Call us today at (888) 702-8882 or fill out our secure web form for a free consultation.

Other gun charges crimes we defend include: Carrying A Concealed Weapon, Unlawful Transport Of A Firearm

FOOTNOTES
[1] Refer to Proposition 47: The Safe Neighborhoods And Schools Act.
[2] Refer to CA Penal Code 487.
[3] Refer to CA Penal Code 487(3)(c).
[4] Refer to CA Penal Code 489.
[5] Refer to People v. Tufunga (1999) 21 Cal.4th 935, where the Court found that a good faith belief negated the perpetrator’s felonious intent.

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