Carrying a Concealed Weapon

Carrying a concealed weapon is a crime in California under Penal Code 12025. This includes the following:

  • Carrying a weapon that is concealed and capable of being concealed on your person in your motor vehicle
  • Carrying a weapon that is concealed and capable of being concealed on your person
  • Causes to be carried a weapon that is concealed and capable of being concealed in any vehicle in which you are an occupant

If you either concealed or were aware of the presence of the concealed weapon, you could be held liable under the law.

Definition of Concealed

Concealed refers to being hidden, but even if the firearm is partially hidden or concealed, it could be construed as concealed for purposes of violating the law. A police officer who notices a bulge or outline of a gun on your person can arrest you for carrying a concealed weapon.

The firearm is also considered on your person if it is within your control such as in your handbag or briefcase.

What is a Firearm Under California Law?

Any device designed to be expel a projectile through a barrel by force or any form of combustion is a firearm. This includes such weapons that may be inoperable since it has the potential to cause harm and could be seen as a threat by a third person. Firearms include:

  • Revolvers
  • Shotguns
  • Rifles
  • Tasers
  • Handguns

A BB or pellet gun is not considered a firearm.

Defenses to Carrying a Concealed Weapon

There are a number of available defenses to this crime:

  • You have a license
  • The weapon was in a secure place

If your firearm was in a locked container or trunk (not the glove compartment) and you were legally entitled to possess the weapon, you have a defense.

  • Private residence or business

You are legally entitled to have a concealed weapon in your home or place of business if you are otherwise entitled to possess that firearm. For example, cab drivers may keep firearms in their cabs.

  • Self-Defense

If you reasonably believed your life was in grave danger, you may have a defense to having a concealed weapon in your car or on your person.

  • Invalid search and seizure

This is a constitutional defense. Many times, a police officer who otherwise lawfully detains your vehicle for a traffic or equipment violation may order you to open your glove compartment, or if you are stopped on the street and patted down.

Law enforcement personnel cannot search you unless they have probable cause to believe you were engaged in illegal or criminal activity or were posing a threat to the officer, or you consented to the search.

It is not a defense that the weapon was in plain sight since open carry is no longer a defense.

Penalties for Carrying a Concealed Weapon


Carrying a concealed weapon is generally charged as a misdemeanor and carries up to one year in county jail and a fine up to $1,000.


You could be charged with a felony, however, if the following circumstances are present:

  • The firearm was loaded or there is ammo readily available or in close proximity to you and you are not the registered owner of the gun
  • You have a prior misdemeanor conviction against a person or property or one involving narcotics, or a previous felony or firearm offense

If convicted of a felony, you face from 16-months, 2 or 3 years in state prison and a fine up to $10,000.

A previous firearm conviction subjects you to a minimum sentence of 3 to 6 months in county jail. A felony conviction also revokes your right to own or possess a firearm.

Immigration Consequences

For non-citizens, carrying a concealed weapon could have severe consequences. It is possible in many cases to have these charges reduced or dismissed. Otherwise, you face the real risk of deportation since most gun offenses are crimes of moral turpitude.

Call the Law Offices of Ramiro J. Lluis

Any gun crime conviction can result in serious prison time and have long range or permanent adverse consequences on your life. If you have been charged with a gun crime, call the Law Offices of Ramiro J. Lluis today for a free, confidential initial consultation at (213) 687-4412.