Carrying a Concealed Weapon Law – California Penal Code 25400
The state of California has a complex set of firearm laws and restrictions. For example, California Penal Code 25400 prohibits carrying concealed firearm, either on your person, or in a vehicle. PC 25400 describes a firearm is any device designed to be used as a weapon, including revolvers, handguns, or other devices capable of being concealed on the person.
It should be noted that Penal Code 25400 only criminalizes the act of carrying a “concealed” firearm. This means if you carry a firearm in plain view, you would be charged with California penal Code 26350, which makes it a crime to openly carry an unloaded firearm in a public place.
The term “concealed” seems pretty obvious, but it should be noted it also applies in a situation where the weapon is just partially concealed and can be identified. For example, let's say police pulled you over on a routine traffic stop and then ask you to exit the vehicle.
When you are exiting, the police officer observes a small portion of a gun handle sticking out of your waistband. You could be charged with Penal Code 25400 carrying a concealed weapon even though it was only partially concealed.
The term “carry on your person” also seem obvious and of course includes physical possession of a concealed weapon. This commonly includes carrying a weapon in your pocket or waistband, but also includes concealing a weapon in any item you are holding, such as purse or briefcase.
In order to be convicted of carrying a concealed weapon in violation of Penal Code 25400, prosecutor has to prove you knew about the presence of the weapon.
To give readers a better understanding on the law on carrying a concealed weapon, our criminal defense attorneys are providing an overview below.
Definition of Penal Code 25400 – Carrying a Concealed Weapon
California Penal Code 25400 defines carrying a concealed firearm as:
- A person is guilty of carrying a concealed firearm when they do any of the following: Carries concealed on their person or within a vehicle under their control or direction any pistol, revolver, or other firearm that can be concealed on their person. Causes to be carried concealed within a vehicle where they are an occupant.
In other words, the definition makes it a crime of carrying a concealed weapon if you:
- Carry a firearm concealed upon your person, or
- Carry a firearm concealed in a vehicle under your control
- Cause a firearm to be carried concealed in a vehicle where you are an occupant
Under California law, a firearm is any device that can be used a weapon where a projectile is expelled through a barrel by the force of an explosion, including a revolver, pistol, shotgun, rifle, and more.
What Must a Prosecutor Prove?
In order to be convicted of PC 25400 carrying a concealed firearm on person or vehicle, the prosecutor must prove all the elements of the crime listed under CALCRIM 2520 Jury Instructions:
- You carried a firearm capable of being concealed on your person, or within a vehicle under your control
- You knew you were carrying the firearm, or it was in vehicle
- The firearm was concealed upon your person, or within the vehicle
It should be noted that if you are accused of PC 25400 carrying a concealed weapon, you might also be charged with carrying a loaded firearm or brandishing a weapon.
Penalties for Penal Code 25400 Carrying a Concealed Weapon
If convicted of PC 25400 carrying a concealed weapon, it's normally a misdemeanor crime. Penalties are up to 1 year in a county jail, fine up to $1,000, and summary probation.
It should be noted there are situations where a PC 25400 is a “wobbler” or a felony crime. For example, you could be charged with a felony if:
- You have previous felony conviction or California firearm offense
- The firearm was stolen and you knew it was stolen
- You are an active participant in a criminal street gang
- You are a felon in possession of a firearm (Penal Code 29800)
- You are prohibited from firearm possession for committing violent crime, such as kidnapping, murder, rape, carjacking, and more.
If convicted of PC 25400 carrying a concealed firearm as a felony crime, the penalties are up to three years in county jail, fine up to $10,000, and formal probation. Additionally, if convicted of a felony crime of carrying a concealed weapon, it could result in a lifetime ban from owning or possessing a gun in California.
Fighting Carrying a Concealed Firearm Charges
If you were arrested for Penal Code 25400 carrying a concealed firearm, our Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers can develop a wide range of strategies in an effort to obtain the best possible outcome on the case:
Lack of knowledge you were in possession of a firearm
Recall the key element of the crime that it must be proven you were in possession of a firearm. We might be able to make a reasonable argument you didn't know you were in possession and can't be guilty. Perhaps a friend left their firearm in your vehicle without your knowledge.
Illegal search and seizure
The Fourth Amendment gives you constitutional rights against unreasonable searches and seizures. Frequently, police will discover a firearm after a traffic stop or other type of contact. We might be able to make an argument the search or seizure was illegal, such as lack of probable cause by police. If successful, the prosecutor won't be able to use the firearm as evidence against you and will likely drop the case.
If you are facing allegations of carrying a concealed weapon that violated California Penal Code 25400, call our criminal defense attorneys to review the details and options moving forward.
A solid strategy will always depend on the specific circumstances and details of the case. Early involvement into your case through prefiling intervention can potentially avoid the filing of formal charges.
Cron, Israels & Stark is a criminal defense law firm with a track record of success. We are located at 11755 Wilshire Blvd, 15th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90025. We also have an office located at 401 Wilshire Blvd #1200, Santa Monica, CA 90401. Contact us for a free case evaluation at (424) 372-3112.