Carrying a Loaded Firearm Law & Defense
PC 25850 Crimes
Information on the crime of carrying a loaded firearm is found at California penal code sections 25850(a) - 25850(c)(6).
PC 25850 Law (Abbr.)
25850(a): A person is guilty of carrying a loaded firearm when the person carries a loaded firearm on the person or in a vehicle while in any public place or on any public street in an incorporated city or in any public place or on any public street in a prohibited area of an unincorporated territory.
PC 25850(b): In order to determine whether or not a firearm is loaded for the purpose of enforcing this section, peace officers are authorized to examine any firearm carried by anyone on a person or in a vehicle while in any public place or on any public street in an incorporated city or prohibited area of an unincorporated territory. Refusal to allow a peace officer to inspect a firearm constitutes probable cause for arrest for violation of this section.
To prove that the defendant is guilty of the crime of carrying a loaded firearm the district attorney must prove that:
- The defendant carried a loaded firearm on his or her person that was substantially concealed, and
- The defendant knew that the firearm was loaded, and
- The defendant was in a public place.
Loaded defined: Per PC 25850, a firearm is loaded if "there is an unexpended cartridge, or shell, in the firing chamber, or in either a magazine, or clip attached to the firearm. An unexpended cartridge or shell consists of a case that holds a charge of powder and a bullet or shot."
Firearm defined: PC 25850 defines a firearm as: "just about any device designed to be used as a weapon, from which a projectile is expelled or discharged through a barrel by the force of any explosion or other form of combustion.." A firearm includes flare guns, handguns, rockets, rifles, shotguns, zip guns, and assault rifles.
Substantially Concealed defined: Substantially concealed means that the firearm is not readily apparent by another person without further inspection or significantly concealed or hidden on the defendant.
Note: A defendant may be charged with carrying a loaded firearm even if the firearm is not in working order, so long as the firearm appears to be in working order, the firearm was originally designed to be a working firearm, and the firearm was loaded.
Sentences for PC 25850 Crimes
Carrying a loaded firearm is charged as a misdemeanor under PC 25850(a). If found guilty, the defendant could face up to one year in the county jail.
Carrying a loaded firearm by a convicted felon is charged as a felony under PC 25850(a) or PC 25850(c)(1). If found guilty, the defendant could face up to three years in prison.
Carrying a loaded stolen firearm is charged as a felony under PC 25850(a) or PC 25850(c)(2). If found guilty, the defendant could face up to three years in prison.
Carrying a loaded firearm by a gang member is charged as a felony under PC 25850(a) or PC 25850(c)(3). If found guilty, the defendant could face up to three years in prison.
Carrying a loaded firearm by a non registered person is charged as a misdemeanor or as a felony under PC 25850(a) or PC 25850(c)(6). If found guilty of a misdemeanor, the defendant could face up to one year in jail. If found guilty of a felony, the defendant could face up to three years in prison.
Whether or not the district attorney charges felony or misdemeanor criminal charges in PC 25850(a) or 25850(c)(6) depends on many factors, including the defendant's criminal history and the facts of the defendant's case.
Good Time Credit: If found guilty of misdemeanor or felony PC 25850 charges the defendant may earn up to fifty percent (50%) credit off his or her sentence for good behavior while in jail or prison (assuming the defendant does not have prior strike convictions).
Probation Sentence: Probation is period of supervision instead of Jail or Prison. Probation sentences come with probation terms that must be followed to avoid further punishment, including actual jail or prison. Probation for felony PC 25850 charges is called formal probation where the defendant is monitored by a probation officer. Probation for misdemeanor PC 25850 charges is called informal (or summary) probation where the defendant is not monitored by a probation officer. Probation sentences are available in misdemeanor and felony PC 25850 cases, but every case is decided on a case by case basis and whether or not a probation sentence is available in a carrying a loaded firearm case depends largely on the facts of the case and the defendant's criminal history.
Suspended Prison Sentence: Felony charges of carrying a loaded firearm do not qualify for suspended or split prison sentences. This means that if the defendant is found guilty of felony PC 25850 charges, and the defendant is not granted a probation sentence, then the defendant must serve his or her sentence in prison, and no part of his or her prison sentence may be served out of prison, such as on work release or house arrest (See PC 1170(h)).
Three Strikes Law: PC 25850(a) is not considered a serious felony, a violent felony, or a strike offense, under California's Three Strike's Law.
Immigration Consequences: Almost every conviction relating to a firearm will cause a permanent resident to be deportable, including a conviction for the crime of carrying a loaded firearm. Carrying a loaded firearm may also be considered an aggravated felony if the defendant is sentenced to more than a year in jail or prison. The crime is not considered a crime involving moral turpitude because it does not involve dishonesty, but that is of little benefit to a non U.S. citizen as the crime is deportable as a firearm offense. To learn more about firearm convictions, aggravated felonies, and crimes involving moral turpitude as they relate to non U.S. citizens see immigration consequences for criminal convictions.
In addition to a possible jail or prison sentence, if found guilty of carrying a loaded firearm under PC 25850, the defendant may face professional licensing restrictions, loss of civil rights (including the right to own firearms for felony PC 25850), court fees and fines, probation or parole terms, enhanced penalties for future offenses, restitution, restraining orders, and more.
Defenses to PC 25850 Crimes
Common defenses to a charge of carrying a loaded firearm include: insufficient evidence, statute of limitations, mistake of fact, self defense, temporary possession, coerced confessions, illegal search and seizure, intoxication, insanity, duress, and more.
Note: Some defenses are unique to the particular charge. For example, PC 25850(c)(3) carrying a loaded firearm by a member of a criminal street gang, is charged as a felony; however, if the district attorney can not prove that the defendant is a member of a criminal street gang, then the charge might be lowered to PC 25850(a), carrying a loaded firearm (with no criminal street gang allegation), which is a lesser crime that is classified as a misdemeanor.
For more information on defenses, including defenses to the crime of carrying a loaded firearm (PC 25850(a) through 25850(c)(6)), please visit defenses.
If you are charged with carrying a loaded firearm, or PC 25850, contact our criminal defense attorneys today for a free consultation. Our experienced criminal defense attorneys will patiently review your case and defense options. We have successfully defended hundreds of misdemeanor and felony crimes, including PC 25850 crimes. Call today!
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PC 25850: Carrying a Loaded Firearm
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PC 25850 Related Crimes
- PC 25850(a) & 25850(c)(3): Carrying a loaded firearm by gang member
- PC 25850(a) & 25850(c)(4): Carrying a loaded firearm by prohibited person
- PC 25850(a) & 25850(c)(6): Carrying a loaded firearm by an unregistered person
- PC 25850(a) & 25850(c)(7): carrying loaded firearm