Sec 12021 of the California Penal Code prohibits convicted felons from receiving, purchasing, possessing or owning a firearm. This prohibition is quite extensive as it applies to many kinds of prior convictions, be it felonies or misdemeanors.

As defined by the law, the prohibition on gun possession applies to three kinds of individuals:

1. Individuals that have been convicted of a felony offense regardless of the place or venue where conviction was made;
2. Individuals that have been convicted of specific misdemeanors;
3. Individuals addicted to any narcotic drug. Addicted means emotional and physical dependence on drugs together with an increased tolerance to its effects;

In order to gain a conviction, the following elements need to be proven:

• The accused’s description falls within any one of the three aforementioned categories;
• The accused owned, purchased, received or possessed a gun;
• The accused knew of the presence of the gun;

Under the definitions, a felon is an individual that has been convicted of a felony offense in any state or under United States federal law or by any other government or country. Under U.S. law, a felony conviction refers to those convictions that results in a felony penalty with a sentence imposed of more than thirty (30) days in a federal correctional institution and/or fine of more than $1,000.

Despite the general name of the law, there are a number of misdemeanor convictions that fall within the law. These are as follows:

• Misdemeanor convictions for offenses under Secs. 12021(a), 12021(b) or 12021.1 of the California Penal Code;
• The individual convict owns, possesses, purchases or receives a gun;

When these are present, prosecutors could convict you of unlawful possession of a firearm. The other misdemeanor offenses are as follows:

• Violations of Sec 245 of the California Penal Code or Assault with a deadly weapon law;
• Violations of Sec 417 of the California Penal Code or Brandishing a deadly weapon law;
• A number of sex crimes under California law;

Sec 12021 of the California Penal Code is not a violation of the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution or the right to bear arms. The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the police power of the state of California to protect the safety and general welfare of society.

A conviction for this crime would be incarceration in a state penal facility between sixteen (16) months to thirty six (36) months, a maximum fine of $10,000 and forfeiture of the weapon. For legal immigrants or legal aliens, the accessory penalty of deportation would be applicable.

Depending on the factual circumstances and the accused’s criminal history, a crime charged can either be a felony or misdemeanor. The following crimes that have this characteristic are covered under this felon with a firearm law. One such particular crime would be Sec 12021(c) where purchase, receipt, own or possession of a firearm within ten (10) years of a conviction, the imposable penalties would be between twelve (12) months to thirty six (36) months in a state prison and payment of a fine of up to $1,000. The following are the crimes covered under this law are:

• Crimes that involve threats or intimidation such as Sec 422 of the California Penal Code;
• Sec 646.9 of the California Penal Code or Stalking law;
• Crimes falling within domestic violence laws;

The crime of carrying a concealed weapon is a serious matter in California. Should you be or know anyone facing any of these charges, do reach out to the lawyers at the Law Offices of Ramiro J. Lluis for a free consultation today.