How to Avoid Harsh Punishment for Gun Charges

Posted by Ronald D. HeddingOct 31, 2022

I think people are starting to realize more and more that the California legislature, police, prosecutors, and judges are sick and tired of dealing with guns in Los Angeles. 

This is a hot political issue right now, and in every single aspect of the government, guns are at the top of the list for prosecuting, arresting, and punishing.

How to Avoid Harsh Punishment for Gun Charges

There is a strict policy at the District Attorney's office, which prosecutes felony cases, and at the City Attorney's office, which prosecutes misdemeanor gun-related cases.   

The City Attorney has special gun prosecutors who only prosecute cases involving guns.  This gives you some idea of how seriously they take the use of firearms in criminal cases.

Even at the felony level, if somebody is charged with possessing a gun, I'm seeing now in Los Angeles County almost all gun possession cases being booked and filed as a felony. Before, these same cases would have been straight misdemeanors.

It's just surprising politically how aggressive, especially the police, have gotten because they are concerned that gun use will cause their officers to be hurt or killed.  This is the environment you are facing.

Let's say somebody uses a gun to commit a Penal Code 211 PC robbery.  There is a 10-year sentencing enhancement in LA county for firearms that are used during a robbery. 

This means the perpetrator is looking at ten years for using the gun plus whatever penalty they get for the robbery, which includes a high term of six years in prison.   So, they would face 16 years in prison served at 85% because that's a violent felony.  Our California criminal defense lawyers will look at this topic in more detail below.

What Are the Common Laws Related to Weapons in California?

  • Penal Code 12022 PC – armed with a firearm during a felony,
  • Penal Code 12022.5 PC – use of a firearm in a felony,
  • Penal Code 12022.53 PC – use a gun and you're done law,
  • Penal Code 12022.55 PC – discharge firearm during a felony,
  • Penal Code 171(b) PC – weapon possession in public buildings,
  • Penal Code 171.5 PC – weapons at California airports,
  • Penal Code 186.22 PC – street gang enhancement,
  • Penal Code 245(a)(1) PC – assault with a deadly weapon,
  • Penal Code 246 PC – shooting at an inhabited dwelling,
  • Penal Code 25400 PC – carrying a concealed firearm,
  • Penal Code 25850 PC – carrying a loaded firearm,
  • Penal Code 26100 PC – drive-by shooting law,
  • Penal Code 26350 PC – open carry of an unloaded firearm,
  • Penal Code 29800 PC – felon in possession of a firearm,
  • Penal Code 417 PC – brandishing a weapon,
  • Penal Code 626.9 PC – gun-free school zone,

Why You Need a Criminal Attorney in Gun Cases

So, if you or a loved one has a gun case, you need to get an attorney who knows how to deal with this harsh political climate.  People are being shot all over the country.  There's gun violence in Los Angeles.

Why You Need a Criminal Attorney in Gun Cases

California Penal Code 187 PC murders are up to one of the highest percentages ever, and the police, prosecutors, and judges feel it's their job to try to turn to tide.  So, they will take it out on anybody with a gun-related offense.

The way that we can best try to defend you is to try to take you out of the category of a dangerous person with a gun.  We need to show the other side of you:

  • Do you have a job?
  • Do you have a family?
  • Why were you messing around with the gun?

These are the questions that prosecutors and judges are asking.  What was that person doing with a gun?  Why did they do that – whether it's a road-rage situation, someone is brandishing a bun, or a weapon is found on the person in their vehicle?

Many times, the police are cutting corners and bending the law to get these guns.  Then they lie about it, and now we're trying to file a motion to suppress, saying it was an illegal search, which is not easy to win because these judges don't want to grant it.  They want to get rid of the guns.  They want to stop people from getting shot.

Preparing a Mitigation Package for the Best Outcome

We must decide whether or not we will fight the gun case. The Los Angeles District Attorney has backed off on some gun allegations, and prosecutors are not currently using the 10-year mandatory minimum. 

So, your best angle is to show the other side of you, and your champion, your attorney, is the one who has to do that.  We're going to have to put together a mitigation package to:

  • show what type of a job you have;
  • show the type of character you have;
  • the people who know and love you can write letters about you, and
  • the type of person you are so we can put a different spin on you and your circumstances.

Trust me, the police, when they write up the police report in a gun case, will write it up badly.  They often claim that people are gang members when they're not.

California Criminal Defense Attorney

They're trying to claim that people were up to no good and would use the gun to commit some crime.  Trust me; it's a whole new world out there as it relates to guns.

You can be a gun advocate or not.  You've got to acknowledge that they're coming after you if you own, use, or possess a gun in any unlawful manner.

So, suppose you need the best attorney because you have a gun case. In that case, you're in trouble; you're looking at a misdemeanor, a felony, jail/prison time, whatever the case may be; put my 30 years of experience handling gun-related offenses to work for you.

I worked for the District Attorney's office in east Los Angeles, where there was a lot of gun violence in the 1990s when I worked there. 

I've worked for a superior court judge as his right-hand man figuring out how to deal with issues that the judge had, helping him solve the issues, and helping him justify his ruling in a case; I've worked for the state Bar assisting select judges to as part of the JNE Commission, and I've been a criminal defense attorney since 1994 representing people just like you.