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Felon in Possession of Ammunition

Violation of California Penal Code § 30305(a)(1) PC

California Penal Code § 30305(a)(1) PC criminalizes the possession of ammunition by individuals who are prohibited from owning firearms. This offense can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, with potential penalties of up to 3 years in jail or prison. In this article, we will explore the definition of a "prohibited person in possession of ammunition," discuss the best defenses to this charge, explain the penalties for violating PC 30305(a)(1), and address related crimes. Additionally, we will touch upon federal law implications for convicted felons in possession of ammunition.

Section 1: Definition of "Prohibited Person in Possession of Ammunition"

To secure a conviction under this statute, the prosecution must establish the following elements:

  1. The defendant owned, possessed, or had custody of ammunition.
  2. The defendant was aware of their ownership, possession, or custody of the ammunition.
  3. The defendant was prohibited from owning or possessing ammunition under Chapter 2 or Chapter 3 of Division 9 of the California Penal Code, or Section 8100 or 8103 of the Welfare and Institutions Code.

The term "ammunition" encompasses various items such as bullets, cartridges, magazines, clips, speed loaders, autoloaders, and projectiles capable of being fired from a firearm with deadly consequences. This definition applies to all types of ammunition, regardless of the firearm it is intended for.

Section 2: Best Defenses to the Charge

Based on our extensive experience handling cases involving guns and ammunition, we have identified three effective defenses:

2.1 Justification for Possession:

If we can demonstrate that the defendant was justified in possessing the ammunition, we may challenge the charge. To establish this defense, we must prove that the defendant acquired the ammunition while defending themselves against a crime and possessed it only for the necessary period to deliver it to a law enforcement agency for disposal. Evidence such as surveillance video and eyewitness accounts can support this defense.

2.2 Lack of Ownership:

It is a valid defense to show that the defendant did not own, possess, or have custody of the ammunition. For example, someone may have planted the ammunition in the defendant's belongings without their knowledge. Surveillance video, eyewitness testimony, and expert witnesses can play a crucial role in proving this defense.

2.3 Unlawful Search and Seizure:

Law enforcement officers must possess a valid search warrant or a lawful reason to conduct a search and seize property. If the defendant was arrested under this statute following an unlawful search and seizure, we can argue that the evidence obtained should be suppressed. A successful motion to suppress the evidence may result in a weakened case or even dismissal of the charges.

Section 3: Penalties for Violating PC 30305(a)(1)

Violating California Penal Code Section 30305(a)(1) is considered a "wobbler" offense, meaning it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony:

  • Misdemeanor Possession: Up to 1 year in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000.
  • Felony Possession: Imprisonment for 16 months, 2 years, or 3 years, and a fine of up to $1,000.

To minimize penalties, we proactively engage with the prosecutor before charges are filed to advocate for either no charges or misdemeanor charges. During the sentencing hearing, we present mitigating circumstances to seek the most lenient sentence possible. Factors such as the defendant's lack of knowledge about the ammunition, compliance with firearm possession restrictions, and strong community ties can be persuasive in this regard.

Section 4: Expungement of Convictions

If the defendant is convicted of a misdemeanor under PC 30305(a)(1), they may be eligible to have the conviction expunged upon successful completion of their jail sentence or probation period. However, felony convictions under this law cannot be expunged due to California's restrictions on expunging crimes resulting in prison sentences.

Section 5: Related Crimes

Several offenses are closely related to the possession of ammunition by prohibited individuals:

5.1 Possession of Armor-Piercing Bullets (PC 30315):

Penal Code 30315 PC criminalizes the possession of armor-piercing bullets and ammunition. If a prohibited person possesses such bullets, they can be charged under both PC 30315 and PC 30305(a)(1).

5.2 Possession of Bullets Containing an Explosive Agent (PC 30210):

Penal Code 30210 PC makes it a crime to manufacture, import, sell, give, or possess certain ammunition or bullets containing a dart or an explosive agent. Violating this statute is also a wobbler offense, similar to PC 30305(a)(1).

Certainly! Here are a few more related crimes to the possession of ammunition by prohibited individuals:

5.3 Possession of Large-Capacity Magazines (PC 32310):

California Penal Code 32310 PC prohibits the possession of large-capacity magazines, which are magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition. Possessing such magazines is a crime in California, and a prohibited person found in possession of a large-capacity magazine can be charged under this statute.

5.4 Possession of Firearms by Felons (PC 29800):

California Penal Code 29800 PC makes it illegal for individuals who have been convicted of certain crimes, including felonies, to possess firearms. Possessing both firearms and ammunition is strictly prohibited for convicted felons, and they can face separate charges for each offense.

5.5 Possession of Ammunition on School Grounds (PC 30310):

California Penal Code 30310 PC prohibits the possession of ammunition on school grounds. This includes any public or private school, from kindergarten through college campuses. Individuals who possess ammunition on school grounds, whether they are prohibited persons or not, can face criminal charges under this statute.

If you or a loved one stand accused of being a felon in possession of ammunition or being in violation of any other California firearms offenses, we invite you to contact Second Chances Law Group for a complimentary assessment of your case and to discuss potential strategies which our firearms charges dismissal-oriented attorneys can enlist in service of a complete dismissal of the charges against you or your loved one.

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