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I. PC 12022.2: Possessing Ammunition Designed to Penetrate Metal or Armor


Legal Definition:

PC 12022.2: ” (a) A person who, while armed with a firearm in the commission or attempted commission of any felony, has in his or her immediate possession ammunition for the firearm designed primarily to penetrate metal or armor, shall, upon conviction of that felony or attempted felony, in addition, and consecutive to the punishment prescribed for the felony or attempted felony, be punished by an additional term of 3, 4, or 10 years. The court shall select the sentence enhancement that, in the court’s discretion, best serves the interests of justice and shall state the reasons for its choice on the record at the time of the sentence in accordance with subdivision (d) of Section 1170.1.

(b) A person who wears a body vest in the commission or attempted to commission of a violent offense, as defined in Section 29905, shall, upon conviction of that felony or attempted felony, in addition, and consecutive to the punishment prescribed for the felony or attempted felony of which he or she has been convicted, be punished by an additional term of one, two, or five years. The court shall select the sentence enhancement that, in the court’s discretion, best serves the interests of justice and shall state the reasons for its choice on the record at the time of the sentence in accordance with subdivision (d) of Section 1170.1.

II. What does this mean?


Body vest means any bullet-resistant material intended to provide ballistic and trauma protection for the wearer. This charge requires that during the commission of a felony offense when you are armed with a firearm, and in that firearm, you have ammunition that has the capability to penetrate metal or armor. In addition, this enhancement punishes people who wear a body vest during the commission of a felony.

This is an enhancement that is separate from a felony offense. In other words, this enhancement attaches to an underlying felony, that increases your possible punishment if convicted.

III. Penalties


As state above, a violation of PC 12022.2 is an enhancement, not a stand-alone crime. Therefore, you would never be charged with enhancement by itself, it has to be added to a felony offense you are already charged with. The enhancement under PC 12022.2(a), can add an additional 3, 4, or 10 years added to your underlying offense, to be run consecutively. You would have to serve at least 85% of that time in custody. The enhancement for wearing body armor under PC 12022.2(b), can add an additional one, two, or five years, to be run consecutively to your felony charge.

PC 12022.2 is a not strike offense under the Three Strikes Law and is not a charge requiring Sex Registration under PC 290. You would likely face a loss, suspension, or revocation of your professional license. You could also face immigration consequences if you are a non-US Citizen living in the United States, since this may be considered an aggravated felony under Federal Law since it involves a firearm. There are also firearm restrictions with this enhancement that can remove your ability to own or possess a firearm.

IV. Common Defenses


  1. Statute of Limitations
  2. Insufficient Evidence
  3. Violation of Rights
  4. Coerced Confession

The defenses to enhancements are quite a bit different than regular criminal charges. Here, a common defense can be that you were not, for example, in the commission of a felony offense. It is required that the charge must be a felony to have this enhancement, if, for example, you use a used firearm upon committing a misdemeanor offense, then this enhancement would not apply to your case. If you possessed armor-piercing bullets or a vest but were driving a suspended license, a misdemeanor, you would not be facing these enhancement sections.

Another issue could be a violation of your Fourth Amendment rights. This is commonly attacked in California under PC 1538.5, which is a motion filed and argued in Court. A common example of this is during a DUI stop. Police have to have Probable Cause to pull you over, or else everything else that comes after that would not be admissible against you in Court. If you leave a bar and police see you, decided to follow you, then stop you because you left a bar – then that would be an illegal stop. Here, if police make an illegal stop of your vehicle, or go through your home without a search warrant or probable cause, then any ammunition or vests found, could be surprised as evidence against you by your Ontario Criminal Defense attorney.

V.  Call Today


A criminal conviction can have a devastating impact on your life and your future. A conviction here adds up to 10 years to your sentence if you have armor-piercing ammunition, making the likelihood of coming home one day further and further away and less likely. In addition, a body vest could add 5 years to your sentence, also making your Prison visit extremely lengthy. Our PC 12022.2 Ontario attorney has successfully defended thousands of people charged with criminal offenses in the Inland Empire. You, or your loved one, cannot take a chance on such a serious enhancement. The initial consultation is free and we are available to answer your questions 24/7. Call the Inland Empire Criminal Defense today at 909-939-7126! Located in Ontario, CA.

Disclaimer: The legal information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice, nor should it be considered the formation of a lawyer or attorney-client relationship. If you would like to find out more information about your particular legal matter, contact our office for a consultation.

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