Why You Need a Berkeley Gun Charge Lawyer

You could face severe penalties when you’re arrested on firearm charges in Berkeley, CA. A gun charge lawyer benefits you in several ways.

They’ll Defend Your Rights

You have rights as a US citizen. You deserve to have someone stand up for those rights and ensure you’re treated fairly in court. Whether guns were recovered during an unlawful search, or you were acting well within your rights to bear arms, Seth Morris will examine the facts of your case and present a compelling defense.

They’ll Fight to Reduce or Dismiss Charges

Your case may not be as cut-and-dry as it seems. Weak evidence can be challenged, and plea negotiations can be made to either reduce or dismiss your charges. Your attorney will assess your case and determine the best course of action.

They Have Access to Expert Witness Testimony

To create reasonable doubt in your case, your gun charge lawyer can recruit the help of expert witnesses. These valuable assets can provide compelling evidence that discredits the prosecution’s claims.

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Morris Law Defends Against All Gun Charges

No matter what you’re charged with, Seth Morris will provide unmatched representation.

Here are some common types of gun charges you may face:

Local Police Departments & Courthouses

When you are arrested on gun charges in Berkeley, CA, you could be taken to a police station or required to appear in court at the following locations:

Alameda County Berkeley Courthouse
2120 Martin Luther King Jr Way
Berkeley, CA 94704

University of California Police Department, Berkeley
1 Sproul Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720

Berkeley Police Department
2100 Martin Luther King Jr Way
Berkeley, CA 94704

California Gun Laws You Need to Know

California has strict gun laws. The specific details of your case impact your charges. For example, there are locations in which individuals cannot be in possession of firearms or other weapons; such as being within a certain proximity to a school.

When is a Gun Crime Charged as a Felony?

Most gun charges are taken seriously in the state of California. Although there may be some instances in which you could face misdemeanor charges, you can expect felony gun charges to apply in the following circumstances:

  • If the gun in question was stolen
  • If you knew the gun in question was stolen
  • If you have prior felony convictions
  • If you are not legally allowed to own a gun
  • If you have prior California firearms convictions on your record
  • You are a gang member

Who is Prohibited from Possessing a Weapon in CA?

California law prohibits specific individuals from possessing, owning, receiving, purchasing, or otherwise controlling firearms. Under California Penal Code § 29800, the following parties are prohibited from weapon or firearm possession:

  • People who have prior felony convictions, at either of the state or federal level, across the country
  • People who are addicted to narcotics
  • People who have been convicted of certain types of misdemeanors, such as domestic violence, stalking, or sexual battery

Penalties For Berkeley, CA Gun Charge Convictions

The penalties you can face for these gun charges can vary widely depending on which type of gun crime you have been charged with. Some crimes are considered wobbler offenses and can be charged as either misdemeanors or felonies. The facts of your case ultimately decide your charges. Here are some of the criminal penalties associated with the common gun charges in Berkeley, CA:

  • Felon in possession of a firearm – Felony offense, punishable by up to three years in state prison and fines as high as $10,000.
  • Assault with a deadly weapon – Felony offense, punishable by up to four years in state prison; fines as high as $10,000.
  • Carrying a concealed weapon (or ccw) – Misdemeanors result in up to one year in county jail; fines up to $1000. Felonies result in up to three years in county jail; fines as high as $10,000.
  • Brandishing a weapon – Misdemeanors result in up to one year in county jail; fines as high as $1000. Felonies result in up to three years in prison; fines as high as $10,000.
  • Carrying a loaded firearm in public or vehicle – Misdemeanors result in up to one year in county jail; fines as high as $1000. Felonies result in up to three years in county jail; fines up to $10,000.
  • Use of a firearm in the commission of a crime (assault with a firearm) – Up to 12 years in state prison; fines as high as $10,000.
  • Unlawful sale of a firearm – up to six months in county jail; fines as high as $1000.
  • Unlawful possession of assault weapons – Misdemeanors result in up to one year in county jail; fines as high as $1000. Felonies result in up to three years in state prison; fines as high as $10,000.
  • Shooting at an inhabited house or occupied motor vehicle – Up to seven years in state prison; fines as high as $10,000.
  • Assault with a stun gun or taser weapon – Up to four years in state prison and fines as high as $10,000.
  • Possessing a deadly weapon with intent to commit an assault – Up to one year in county jail; fines as high as $1000.
  • Supplying, selling, or giving firearms to a person for participation in a criminal street gang – Misdemeanors result in up to one year in county jail; fines as high as $1000. Felonies result in up to three years in state prison; fines as high as $10,000.

Collateral Consequences

Many of these crimes also come with severe collateral consequences. The fallout of a gun charge conviction includes:

  • Child custody issues
  • Trouble finding a good job
  • Difficulty finding safe housing
  • Suspension of your driver's license
  • Revocation of professional licenses
  • Loss of firearm rights
  • Citizenship or immigration issues
  • Community service
  • Random drug or alcohol testing
  • Parole or probation requirements

What Is California’s “Use a Gun and You’re Done” Law?

California Penal Code § 12022.53 is California’s “10-20-life – use a gun and you’re done” law. Here, you could receive 10, 20, or 25 years to life in addition to your initial sentence for certain types of felony offenses that use a gun or weapon in the commission of a crime.

Use of a gun will add 10 years to your sentence. Firing a gun will add 20 years to your sentence. Seriously injuring or killing someone with a gun will add 25 years to life to your sentence. These additional sentence enhancements will be consecutive.

Challenging Gun Charges in Berkeley, CA

If you hope to avoid a devastating conviction, you need to prepare a compelling gun charge defense strategy. Depending on the details of your case, your attorney may attempt to negotiate with the state’s prosecutor to get your charges reduced or dismissed entirely.

Illegal Search and Seizure

Police only have the authority to search you, your home, your vehicle, or your property when they have a warrant or your consent to do so. Any evidence obtained during an illegal search and seizure should be dismissed and inadmissible at trial.

Self-Defense

To prove self-defense, your gun charge lawyer will need to show that you had reasonable belief that you or someone else was at risk for severe injury or death. Further, the amount of force you used to defend yourself or someone else must be appropriate given the threat in question.

Unaware of Gun Possession

Actual possession means a firearm or gun was physically on your person at the time of your arrest. Constructive possession means you may have had access to a firearm or weapon at the time of your arrest. If you did not know that a gun was in your home, vehicle, or car, and someone else, such as a roommate or a partner had access to these areas, you should not be convicted.