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Possession of a Firearm by a Felon Laws (PC 29800(a)(1)) in California - IE Criminal Defense

California Penal Code 29800(a)(1): Possession of a Firearm by a Prohibited Person

Legal Definition: Any person who has a prior felony conviction, who owns, purchases, receives, or has in possession or under custody or control any firearm is guilty of a felony.For a person to be convicted of a violation of PC 29800(a)(1), the prosecution must prove the following:

1. You had purchased, received, or possessed a firearm
2. You knew that you received or possessed that firearm

3. You had previously been convicted of a felony, or two brandishing firearm offenses.

What does this mean?

A firearm refers to any device designed as a weapon that expels or discharges a projectile through a barrel by means of an explosion or combustion. It is not necessary for a firearm to be in working order as long as it was designed to shoot and appears capable of doing so.

Possession of something can be established even without physically holding or touching it. It is sufficient if a person has control over it or the right to control it, either personally or through another individual. For instance, if a gun is found in the glove box of a car registered to you, it can be considered constructive possession. This concept differentiates between actual possession and constructive possession. Actual possession entails physically holding the firearm, while constructive possession refers to having the right to control the firearm or the person in possession of it.

Examples of firearms include guns, handguns, rifles, shotguns, pellet guns, BB guns, and paintball guns. It’s important to note that toy guns are specifically excluded from this section.


A conviction under this section is not a wobbler but instead is a straight felony offense. If you are convicted under this section, you could be sentenced to upwards of 16 months, two or three years in State Prison. You would be required to serve 50% of that sentence.
You could also face stiff fines and fees for any conviction under this charge. However, this is not a Strike offense under the Three Strike Laws. Although not a strike, this is another new felony, in addition to the one that lead to you being a convicted felon in the first place.

Common Defenses

  1. Statute of Limitations
  2. Insufficient Evidence
  3. Violation of your Rights

The lack of convincing evidence is the most common defense to challenge the possession of a firearm. Merely being present in a room with a firearm does not necessarily imply possession. Generally, it necessitates knowledge of the firearm’s presence from your part. Moreover, if you briefly possessed the firearm in a situation such as defending oneself during a mugging, the commission of a crime remains unproven. It would be unreasonable for the law to require you, as a convicted felon, to allow harm to be inflicted upon you. Thus, momentarily possessing the firearm to prevent an attack is more than justified. Furthermore, if your prior felony conviction has been downgraded to a misdemeanor charge under PC 17(b), you no longer hold felon status for all practical purposes. Therefore, you cannot be convicted under this section.

Call Today

Facing charges for Possession of a Firearm by a Felon under PC 29800(a)(1) can be a harrowing experience. But with the right legal counsel, there is hope. My reputation as a seasoned, trusted, and authoritative attorney speaks volumes. Over the years, I have championed the causes of countless individuals who were unjustly charged or faced daunting sentences due to prior felonies.

Through a meticulous understanding of the law and a deep commitment to my clients, I have managed to significantly reduce custody time and, in some instances, secured complete freedom for those I represent. Each case serves as a testament to my dedication and expertise in this field.

Should you or someone you hold dear find themselves entangled in such legal challenges, remember that early intervention with a seasoned attorney can significantly alter the course of the case. Secure your defense and avail a free initial consultation. Contact the Inland Empire Criminal Defense team at 909-281-0456. We remain accessible around the clock, ready to stand with you. Conveniently located in Ontario, CA, we’re just a call away from championing your cause.

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Yes, understanding the financial pressures that can come with legal representation, our attorney offers flexible payment plans. This approach ensures that quality legal defense is accessible for all our clients in Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties.

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Yes, Inland Empire Criminal Defense offers free consultations. This is part of our commitment to providing accessible and transparent legal services to residents of Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties.

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We offer both in-person and over-the-phone consultations to accommodate your preferences and needs. Whether you’re in Riverside, San Bernardino, or Los Angeles County, we ensure that you can access our legal services in the way that suits you best.

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Our office is typically closed on weekends. However, we do make exceptions for meetings by special arrangement. Our commitment is to be as accommodating as possible to meet the unique needs of our clients in Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties.

Does the attorney serve all of California?

Our legal services are specifically tailored to residents of Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties. For cases outside these areas, we recommend consulting avvo.com to find appropriate legal assistance. Our focused approach allows us to provide specialized defense catering to the unique legal landscape of these counties.

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