LET’S TALK CRIMINAL GUN ENHANCEMENTS (AB1509)
Under California gun laws, a sentence for a felony case can be “enhanced” if a gun was possessed or used during the commission of a crime. These laws can extend sentences well beyond the maximum punishment for the principal crime itself. If there are multiple enhancements or more than one enhancement, the punishment imposed will be the longest possible sentence.
When the underlying felony offense is a serious drug offense, a serious sex offense, or a violent offense, the firearms sentencing penalty will be increased even further. Having a criminal history or prior felony conviction can complicate things and result in additional time. It all adds up!
For these reasons it is critical to differentiate the type of firearm involved, whether someone else may have used the gun, whether the gun was used or simply present, and if the gun was or was not found during an illegal police search. These points can all lead to varying legal defenses to California firearms sentencing enhancements.
What Does This Mean If A Gun Was Found And Is Being Charged As An Enhancement?
Typically the prosecution will want to charge anything and everything that they believe will “stick”. Whenever a firearm is involved in any way in or around the commission of a crime, you can expect to see a charge filed and enhancement alleged.
While there have been many legal challenges to enhancements – including SB620 which allows judicial discretion not to impose firearm sentencing enhancement after January 1, 2018 – Judges being allowed to “strike” these enhancements may not do so.
AB1509 (Assembly Bill 1509) is a law that would remove or drastically reduce gun enhancements to crimes. This Bill, while currently still in committee, is likely to pass and would eliminate gun enhancements retroactively in California. Of course, a defense team that is on top of the legal opportunities for gun enhancements to be removed will argue aggressively to eliminate the enhancements and prevent any additional sentence from being imposed.
What Do I Do Now?
If you or a relative or friend is currently in custody or charged with a crime; you must seek professional counsel about eliminating enhancements. There is legal research and work to do. It is critical you consult with an experienced and qualified Criminal Defense Lawyer. Our California team has years of experience fighting gun enhancements successfully at every level (preliminary hearing/pretrial/trial/sentencing/post-conviction/appeal). Remember, you cannot have a passive defense. You must be prepared, file worked up, and with your defense team you have the best opportunity to eliminate enhancements and sentence extensions. Contact us now for a Free Consultation.