California Penal Code 246 PC prohibits shooting at an:
- "inhabited" house,
- occupied building, OR
- occupied vehicle
This offense is a felony, subjecting you to substantial jail or prison time, a lifetime ban on your California gun rights, and a strike under California Three Strikes Law.
But don't despair. Just because you've been charged with this California firearms offense doesn't mean that you'll be convicted of it. As former cops and prosecutors, our law firm has the insider knowledge essential to building the most comprehensive defense possible.
False accusations, insufficient evidence, and self-defense are just some of the legal defenses that are available to fighting a Penal Code 246 PC charge.
Below, our California criminal defense attorneys1 will address the following:
If, after reading this article, you would like more information, we invite you to contact us at Shouse Law Group.
You may also find helpful information in our related articles on California Firearm Offenses; Penal Code 417 PC "Brandishing a Firearm / Weapon"; Penal Code 29800 PC Felon with a Firearm; Penal Code 25850 PC Carrying a Loaded Firearm; Penal Code 16590 PC Possessing Dangerous Weapons; Penal Code 30600 Assault Weapons; California's Gun-Free School Zone Act; Restoring Your California Gun Rights; 10-20-Life -- Use a Gun and You're Done; California's Street Gang Sentencing Enhancement; Legal Defenses; Self-Defense Laws; Accident as a Legal Defense; and California's Three Strikes Law.
California Penal Code 246 PC reads, in pertinent part:
"Any person who shall maliciously and willfully discharge a firearm at an inhabited dwelling house, occupied building, occupied motor vehicle, occupied aircraft, inhabited housecar.or inhabited camper.is guilty of a felony."2
In order to prove that you are guilty, the prosecutor must prove the following two facts (otherwise known as "elements" of the crime):
- that you discharged a firearm at one of these targets, and
- that you did so willfully and maliciously.3
Let's take a closer look at some of these terms to gain a better understanding of their legal definitions.
You act willfully when you commit an act on purpose. Keep in mind that the prosecutor does not have to prove that you had the purpose of breaking the law, just that you had the purpose of committing a certain act.
You act maliciously when you commit an act with the intent to defraud, annoy, or injure another person or property.4
Of course, you know what the word "at" means. But Penal Code 246 uses "at" in a legal way that may include more than you think. That is, shooting at an inhabited dwelling, etc. includes more than shooting directly at the object. But it also includes shooting in such close proximity to the object that it is likely one or more bullets will hit the object or persons in or around it.5, 6
Another distinction to keep in mind is that shooting while already inside a single family house.or even shooting from inside an attached garage into the house.will not meet the "at" requirement under this section.7 On the other hand, shooting from one unit into another unit while inside a multi-family housing complex will.8
Inhabited / occupied
A "dwelling" (more commonly referred to as a house) is "inhabited" if a person lives in it. However, it doesn't matter whether or not anyone was home at the time of the shooting.9
A house, building, etc. is not "inhabited" or "occupied" if the occupants have moved out or vacated and don't intend to return.even if they left some personal property behind.10
And the courts construe these terms rather loosely in order to secure as many convictions as possible. For example, even though shooting at an attached garage doesn't constitute a dwelling house, courts have held that it does qualify as an occupied building.11
Beware-the full force of Penal Code 246 PC applies to enablers, not just "shooters"
One of the most important points to note about California's "shooting at an inhabited dwelling" law is the fact that prosecutors can charge you with this offense even if you didn't personally discharge the firearm. Specifically, criminal liability under Penal Code 246 PC extends to anyone who "aids and abets" the shooter.12
Example: You drive your friend, Rick, to John's house to "send him a message" because he's having an affair with Rick's girlfriend. After Rick fires three shots into John's house, you drive him home. Given these facts, you face the same penalties and punishment as Rick even though he's the one who personally fired the gun.
Fortunately, there are a variety of legal defenses that a California criminal defense attorney could present on your behalf. The following are some examples.
Self-defense / defense of others
California's self-defense laws excuse otherwise criminal conduct when you reasonably act to protect yourself or another person from suffering imminent bodily harm.
This means that if you shoot at an inhabited dwelling or occupied car, building, etc..but only do so because you are reasonably protecting yourself or another person.then you aren't guilty under Penal Code 246 PC. This is the case whether you injure or even kill another person.13
But as Burbank criminal defense attorney Darrell York14 explains, "People should understand that reasonable self-protection doesn't just mean you honestly believed certain conduct was necessary. That honest belief must also be reasonable. If a court decides you had an honest-- but unreasonable-- belief certain conduct was necessary, it will say you engaged in 'imperfect self-defense.' That's important because imperfect self-defense cannot excuse a violation of California's 'shooting at an inhabited dwelling' law."15
Example: Bill is standing on Tom's front porch. Tom is inside his home, arguing with Bill through the screen door. Bill honestly believes that Tom is reaching for a gun when he reaches into his back pocket, so Bill shoots at Tom first. It turns out Tom was only reaching into his back pocket for some gum.
Under these circumstances, Bill's belief was honest. But was it reasonable? The underlying facts and circumstances that led Bill to his belief must be examined more deeply. Different underlying facts and circumstances will lead a court to different conclusions. Different attorneys have varying levels of ability to present these underlying facts successfully.
In order to convict you of violating California's law against shooting at an inhabited dwelling, the prosecution must prove that you willfully and maliciously fired a gun. This means that if you accidentally discharged the gun, "accident" serves as a valid legal defense.
But accident only serves as a valid legal defense if you were engaged in otherwise lawful conduct at the time of the alleged offense.16
Example: "Accident" would excuse your conduct if you accidentally fire your lawfully possessed gun while cleaning it. But.
Let's say that you're waiving your gun at another person while threatening to shoot him.in violation of Penal Code 417 PC California's law against brandishing a weapon.17 While doing so, you accidentally fire the gun into that person's house.
Because you were engaged in illegal conduct (that is, "brandishing"), the fact that the shooting was "accidental" will not excuse you from violating California's law against shooting at an inhabited dwelling.
Mistaken identity / false accusations
Shooting at an inhabited dwelling or occupied vehicle is a common charge involving gangs. Since gang shootings frequently involve "drive-bys," identifying the culprit can be difficult sometimes.
This difficulty may therefore lead to mistaken identifications of suspects, false accusations, and subsequent wrongful arrests.
Police may arrest you based on a mistaken identification because you:
- have a similar physical description or automobile as the real cuprit,
- are affiliated with the gang who did the shooting, or
- simply happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Plea bargaining for a lesser charge
Sometimes the evidence against you is simply too strong to dispute. But your California criminal defense attorney can still try to negotiate a plea bargain for a lesser charge. This still allows the prosecution to obtain a conviction. On the other hand, your conviction will be for a less serious charge carrying less severe penalties.
Some of the offenses you can plead "down" to include (but are not limited to):
If you can reduce your charge to negligently discharging a firearm, there is no mandatory incarceration18 (unlike a Penal Code 246 PC charge which subjects you to a mandatory six-month jail sentence).
Note: even if you don't plea bargain your case and therefore go all the way to trial, a verdict against you could be for this lesser charge. This would be the case if the prosecutor did not successfully prove you shot the weapon willfully and maliciously, just that you did so negligently.19
Penal Code 247 PC California's law against shooting at an uninhabited dwelling or unoccupied car, building, etc.
Like Penal Code 246.3 above, "shooting at an uninhabited dwelling or unoccupied car, building, etc." under Penal Code 247 PC does not subject you to a mandatory period of incarceration.20
Penal Code 602 PC California's trespass law / Penal Code 415 PC California's "disturbing the peace" law
In this context, two of the most commonly sought plea bargains are for Penal Code 602 PC and Penal Code 415 PC. Penal Code 602 PC California's trespass law prohibits entering another person's property without permission.21Penal Code 415 PC California's "disturbing the peace" law prohibits, among other things, fighting another person in public.22
At first glance, these charges only appear to relate to Penal Code 246 PC indirectly, if at all. Nonetheless, both have grown to be used often and offer the following benefits:
- both subject you to lesser sentences than California firearms offenses (including less probation, less incarceration and no prohibition on owning or acquiring firearms if charged as a misdemeanor), and
- both put less stigma on your criminal record than a firearms offense.
Violating California's law against shooting at an inhabited dwelling is a felony, punishable by six months to one year in the county jail or by three, five, or seven years in the California State Prison.23
But if the prosecutor additionally proves that you caused another person to suffer great bodily injury or death as the result of the shooting, then you face an additional and consecutive 25 years to life under California's 10-20-life "use a gun and you're done" law.24
This is one of California's sentencing enhancements for personally using a gun. Some of these enhancements only apply to an individual who personally uses or fires a gun. Others extend liability to "aiders and abettors" as well.25
And if the shooting is done for the benefit of a criminal street gang, you could potentially be sentenced under California's 10-20-life law and California's street gang sentencing enhancement, Penal Code 186.22 PC.26
This is just one of the many reasons why it is vital to consult with a criminal defense attorney who specializes in California firearms offenses. An attorney with this knowledge will ensure that an overzealous or uneducated prosecutor doesn't inappropriately apply one of these sentencing enhancements.
California firearms offenses and gun rights
In addition to the above penalties, a conviction under Penal Code 246 PC necessarily triggers a lifetime firearms ban under Penal Code 29800 PC California's "felon with a firearm" law. Under this law, you will lose your right to own, possess, purchase, or receive a firearm for life.27
That said, there are ways that you could potentially lift this ban. For more information, please review our article on Restoring Your California Gun Rights.
California firearm offenses and aliens
If you are a legal alien or legal immigrant, a Penal Code 246 PC conviction subjects you to removal, since firearm offenses are California crimes that can lead to deportation.28
California's Three Strikes Law
California's "shooting at an inhabited dwelling" law is what's known as a "serious felony."29 This means that in addition to the above penalties, a Penal Code 246 PC conviction will result in a "strike" on your criminal record pursuant to California's Three Strike's Law.30
If you are subsequently charged with any felony and have a prior "strike" on your record, you will be referred to as a "second striker," and your sentence will be twice the term otherwise required by law.31
If you get convicted of a felony and you have two prior strikes, you will be referred to as a "third striker" and will serve a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years-to-life in California state prison.32
Because Penal Code 246 PC necessarily involves using a gun, there are a variety of additional California firearms offenses that prosecutors may charge in connection with this offense. Some of these include:
- Penal Code 25850 PC California's law against carrying a loaded firearm,33
- Penal Code 16590 PC California's law against carrying specific "dangerous" firearms,34
- Penal Code 30600 California's ban on assault weapons and rifles,35 and
- Penal Code 626.9 California's Gun-Free School Zone Act (if the target inhabited dwelling or occupied car, building, etc., is located within a school zone).36
Shooting at an inhabited dwelling and its connection to attempted murder
In addition to the above offenses, it's not uncommon for prosecutors to charge you with attempted murder in connection with your Penal Code 246 PC charges. But before prosecutors can convict you of attempted murder, they must prove that you had the "specific intent to kill."
Shooting at someone, by itself, isn't enough to qualify as a specific intent to kill. More facts and circumstances demonstrating purpose are required. On the other hand, prosecutors have been successful in proving specific intent to kill just by establishing that that multiple gun shots were fired at the upper half of the alleged victim's body.
Because shooting at an inhabited dwelling or occupied building, car, etc. isn't the same as shooting directly at a person, intent to kill may be quite difficult to prove. This is one reason why both the prosecution and defense may agree on a plea bargain to California's "shooting at an inhabited dwelling or occupied car" law instead of an attempted murder charge.
Unlike the maximum seven-year sentence imposed in connection with Penal Code 246 PC.that is, absent any sentencing enhancements.an attempted murder conviction subjects you to a life sentence with the possibility of parole.37
Call us for help.
If you or loved one is charged with Penal Code 246 PC shooting at an inhabited dwelling/vehicle and you are looking to hire an attorney for representation, we invite you to contact us at Shouse Law Group. We can provide a free consultation in office or by phone. We have local offices in Los Angeles, the San Fernando Valley, Pasadena, Long Beach, Orange County, Ventura, San Bernardino, Rancho Cucamonga, Riverside, San Diego, Sacramento, Oakland, San Francisco, San Jose and throughout California.
Additionally, our Las Vegas Nevada criminal defense attorneys are available to answer any questions relating to Nevada's firearms laws. For more information, we invite you to contact our local attorneys at one of our Nevada law offices, located in Reno and Las Vegas.38
1Our California criminal defense attorneys have local Los Angeles law offices in Beverly Hills, Burbank, Glendale, Lancaster, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Pasadena, Pomona, Torrance, Van Nuys, West Covina, and Whittier. We have additional law offices conveniently located throughout the state in Orange County, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, San Jose, Oakland, the San Francisco Bay area, and several nearby cities.
2California Penal Code 246 PC -- Shooting at an inhabited dwelling. ("Any person who shall maliciously and willfully discharge a firearm at an inhabited dwelling house, occupied building, occupied motor vehicle, occupied aircraft, inhabited housecar, as defined in Section 362 of the Vehicle Code, or inhabited camper, as defined in Section 243 of the Vehicle Code, is guilty of a felony, and upon conviction shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for three, five, or seven years, or by imprisonment in the county jail for a term of not less than six months and not exceeding one year. As used in this section, "inhabited" means currently being used for dwelling purposes, whether occupied or not.")
3California Jury Instructions, Criminal (CALJIC 9.03) -- Shooting at an inhabited dwelling. ("In order to prove this crime, each of the following elements must be proved:  A person [unlawfully] discharged a firearm at an [inhabited dwelling house] [ ]; and  The discharge of the firearm was willful and malicious.")
4CALJIC 1.22 -- Maliciously. ("The words "malice" and "maliciously" mean a wish to vex, [defraud,] annoy or injure another person, or an intent to do a wrongful act.")
5CALJIC 9.03 -- Shooting at an inhabited dwelling. ("Shooting at a particular object is not limited to shooting directly "at" that object. It also includes shooting in such close proximity to the target that a probable consequence of the shooting is that one or more bullets either will strike the target or persons in or around it, and the shooter acted with a conscious disregard for this probable consequence.")
6People v. Overman (2005) 126 Cal.App.4th 1344, 1355. ("As we explain, [California Penal Code] section 246 is not limited to shooting directly at an inhabited or occupied target. Rather, it proscribes shooting either directly at or in close proximity to an inhabited or occupied target under circumstances showing a conscious disregard for the probability that one or more bullets will strike the target or persons in or around it.")
7People v. Stepney (1981) 120 Cal.App.3d 1016, 1021. ("We conclude that the firing of a pistol within a dwelling house does not constitute a violation of Penal Code section 246 [California's "shooting at an inhabited dwelling" law]. The most that can be said for appellant's conduct was that he intentionally discharged a pistol within a dwelling.FN5 Because that conduct was not proscribed by the statute under which he was prosecuted, his conviction must be reversed. We carefully note, however, that a different question would be presented if a person fired a weapon from one apartment into an adjoining apartment, either through the common wall, or through the floor or ceiling. A different question would also be presented if an individual discharged a firearm in a hallway of a multiple family dwelling. We make these references to emphasize that our decision here is limited to the discharge of a firearm within a dwelling.")
See also People v. Morales (2008) 168 Cal.App.4th 1075, 1081. ("Defendant fired shots into the kitchen from an attached garage. The authorities we have discussed establish that he was not firing at an inhabited dwelling house or occupied building, but instead was firing within an inhabited dwelling, from one room of it into another. Following Stepney's holding that "the firing of a[gun] within a dwelling house does not constitute a violation of Penal Code section 246" ( Stepney, supra, 120 Cal.App.3d at p. 1021, 175 Cal.Rptr. 102), we conclude that defendant's actions do not meet the elements of section 246.")
8People v. Jischke (1996) 51 Cal.App.4th 552, 556. ("Here, although defendant fired the gun while standing inside his own apartment, he also fired it in the direction of the apartment below. Defendant's floor was Betty Fry's ceiling. In shooting through his own floor, defendant necessarily shot into and "at" the adjacent dwelling unit. We conclude that defendant was properly convicted of violating Penal Code section 246.")
9CALJIC 9.03 -- Shooting at an inhabited dwelling. ("The word "inhabited" means currently being used for dwelling purposes, whether occupied or not.")
10CALCRIM 965 -- Shooting at an inhabited dwelling. ("A [house/house car/camper] is not inhabited if the former residents have moved out and do not intend to return, even if some personal property remains inside.")
11People v. Adams (1982) 137 Cal.App.3d 346, 354. ("Adams next contends his conviction for discharging a firearm at an occupied building must be reversed because "shooting into Taylor's garage was not shooting into an inhabited dwelling house" within the meaning of Penal Code section 246. This argument is without merit. Section 246 by its express language does not limit itself to an inhabited dwelling house, but rather includes any "occupied building." The term "building" is a generic term meaning any edifice or structure built by man. ( People v. Chase, 117 Cal.App.Supp. 775, 778, 1 P.2d 60.) A "building" is "A structure ... inclosing a space within its walls ...." (Black's Law Dict. (4th ed.) p. 244.) The term "building" would include such structures as outhouses, barns, garages, and an occupied building includes areas controlled by the occupants, such as a garage. ( People v. Atwood, 223 Cal.App.2d 316, 323, 35 Cal.Rptr. 831.)")
12People v. Blackburn (1999) 72 Cal.App.4th 1520, 1531. ("The offense of shooting at an occupied motor vehicle can be committed without personally using a firearm - e.g., when the defendant has aided and abetted the shooter. (People v. Piper, supra, 42 Cal.3d at pp. 475-476, 229 Cal.Rptr. 125, 722 P.2d 899.)")
13California's Self-defense Laws. Judicial Council of California Criminal Jury Instruction 505 -- Justifiable Homicide: Self-Defense or Defense of Another. ("The defendant acted in lawful (self-defense/ [or] defense of another) if:  The defendant reasonably believed that (he/she/ [or] someone else/ [or] <insert name or description of third party<) was in imminent danger of being killed or suffering great bodily injury [or was in imminent danger of being (raped/maimed/robbed/ <insert other forcible and atrocious crime<)];  The defendant reasonably believed that the immediate use of deadly force was necessary to defend against that danger; AND  The defendant used no more force than was reasonably necessary to defend against that danger.")
See also Judicial Council of California Criminal Jury Instruction 3470 -- Right to Self-Defense or Defense of Another (Non-Homicide). ("The defendant acted in lawful (self-defense/ [or] defense of another) if:  The defendant reasonably believed that (he/she/ [or] someone else/ [or] <insert name of third party<) was in imminent danger of suffering bodily injury [or was in imminent danger of being touched unlawfully];  The defendant reasonably believed that the immediate use of force was necessary to defend against that danger; AND  The defendant used no more force than was reasonably necessary to defend against that danger.")
14Burbank criminal defense attorney Darrell York uses his former experience as a Glendale Police Officer to represents clients accused of child endangerment at the Ventura Hall of Justice, the Van Nuys courthouse, the Pasadena courthouse, the Burbank courthouse, the Glendale courthouse, the Lancaster courthouse, the San Fernando courthouse, and the Criminal Courts Building.
15People v. Watie (2002) 100 Cal.App.4th 866, 882. ("At the time of trial, as now, no authority suggests that the nondefense of imperfect, or unreasonable, self-defense could apply in a prosecution for violation of [Penal Code] section 246 [California's "shooting at an inhabited dwelling" law]. Such a legal theory would be at odds with Barton's characterization of unreasonable self-defense as a species of voluntary") manslaughter.
16California Penal Code 26 PC -- Persons capable of committing crime; exceptions. ("All persons are capable of committing crimes except those belonging to the following classes.Five--Persons who committed the act or made the omission charged through misfortune or by accident, when it appears that there was no evil design, intention, or culpable negligence.")
17California Penal Code 417 PC -- Brandishing a weapon. ("(a)(1) Every person who, except in self-defense, in the presence of any other person, draws or exhibits any deadly weapon whatsoever, other than a firearm, in a rude, angry, or threatening manner, or who in any manner, unlawfully uses a deadly weapon other than a firearm in any fight or quarrel is guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for not less than 30 days.")
18California Penal Code 246.3 --Discharging firearm or BB device in grossly negligent manner. ("(a) Except as otherwise authorized by law, any person who willfully discharges a firearm in a grossly negligent manner which could result in injury or death to a person is guilty of a public offense and shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170. (b) Except as otherwise authorized by law, any person who willfully discharges a BB device in a grossly negligent manner which could result in injury or death to a person is guilty of a public offense and shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year. (c) As used in this section, "BB device" means any instrument that expels a projectile, such as a BB or a pellet, through the force of air pressure, gas pressure, or spring action.)
19People v. Ramirez (2009) 45 Cal.4th 980, 990. ("Thus we conclude that section 246.3(a) is a necessarily included lesser offense of section 246 [California's law against shooting at an inhabited dwelling]. Both offenses require that the defendant willfully fire a gun. Although the mens rea requirements are somewhat differently described, both are general intent crimes. The high probability of human death or personal injury in section 246 is similar to, although greater than, the formulation of likelihood in section 246.3(a), which requires that injury or death "could result." The only other difference between the two, and the basis for the more serious treatment of a section 246 offense, is that the greater offense requires that an inhabited dwelling or other specified object be within the defendant's firing range. All the elements of section 246.3(a) are necessarily included in the more stringent requirements of section 246.")
20California Penal Code 247 PC -- Shooting at an uninhabited dwelling or unoccupied building, car, etc. ("(b) Any person who discharges a firearm at an unoccupied motor vehicle or an uninhabited building or dwelling house is guilty of a public offense punishable by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than one year or in the state prison. This subdivision does not apply to shooting at an abandoned vehicle, unoccupied vehicle, uninhabited building, or dwelling house with the permission of the owner.")
21California Penal Code 602 PC -- Trespass. This code lists a variety of ways that trespasses take place, but it is essentially summarized as entering or remaining on another's property without the right to do so.
22California Penal Code 415 PC -- Disturbing the peace. ("Any of the following persons shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail for a period of not more than 90 days, a fine of not more than four hundred dollars ($400), or both such imprisonment and fine: (1) Any person who unlawfully fights in a public place or challenges another person in a public place to fight. (2) Any person who maliciously and willfully disturbs another person by loud and unreasonable noise. (3) Any person who uses offensive words in a public place which are inherently likely to provoke an immediate violent reaction.")
23California Penal Code 246 PC -- Shooting at an inhabited dwelling. ("Any person who shall maliciously and willfully discharge a firearm at an inhabited dwelling house, occupied building, occupied motor vehicle, occupied aircraft, inhabited housecar, as defined in Section 362 of the Vehicle Code, or inhabited camper, as defined in Section 243 of the Vehicle Code, is guilty of a felony, and upon conviction shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for three, five, or seven years, or by imprisonment in the county jail for a term of not less than six months and not exceeding one year.")
24California Penal Code 12022.53 -- "California's 10-20-life use a gun and you're done" law. ("(d) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, any person who, in the commission of a felony specified in subdivision (a), Section 246 [California's "shooting at an inhabited dwelling" law], or subdivision (c) or (d) of Section 26100, personally and intentionally discharges a firearm and proximately causes great bodily injury, as defined in Section 12022.7, or death, to any person other than an accomplice, shall be punished by an additional and consecutive term of imprisonment in the state prison for 25 years to life.")
25See California sentencing enhancements for personally using a gun, Penal Code sections 12022, 12022.5, and 12022.53. Penal Code 12022 PC provides punishment for any principal to the offense. Penal Code 12022.5 only applies to those who personally uses a firearm. Penal Code 12022.53 PC is only applicable to those who personally use or discharge a firearm unless the underlying offense is committed for the benefit of a criminal street gang, in which case principals are also subject to the enhancement.
See also CALJIC 17.15 -- Defendant armed during commission of a felony. ("[A principal in the commission of a felony [or attempted felony] is one who either directly and actively commits or attempts to commit the crime or one who aids and abets the commission or attempted commission of the crime.]")
26California Penal Code 12022.53 PC -- California's 10-20-life law. ("(2) An enhancement for participation in a criminal street gang pursuant to Chapter 11 (commencing with Section 186.20) of Title 7 of Part 1 shall not be imposed on a person in addition to an enhancement imposed pursuant to this subdivision, unless the person personally used or personally discharged a firearm in the commission of the offense.")
See also Penal Code 186.22 PC -- California's street gang sentencing enhancement. ("(4) Any person who is convicted of a felony enumerated in this paragraph committed for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with any criminal street gang, with the specific intent to promote, further, or assist in any criminal conduct by gang members, shall, upon conviction of that felony, be sentenced to an indeterminate term of life imprisonment with a minimum term of the indeterminate sentence calculated as the greater of.(B) Imprisonment in the state prison for 15 years, if the felony is a home invasion robbery, in violation of subparagraph (A) of paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) of Section 213; carjacking, as defined in Section 215; a felony violation of Section 246 [California's "shooting at an inhabited dwelling" law]; or a violation of Section 12022.55.")
27California Penal Code 29800 PC -- Felon with a firearm. ("(a)(1) Any person who has been convicted of a felony under the laws of the United States, the State of California, or any other state, government, or country or of an offense enumerated in subdivision (a), (b), or (d) of Section 12001.6 [which includes violating California's "shooting at an inhabited dwelling" law], or who is addicted to the use of any narcotic drug, and who owns, purchases, receives, or has in his or her possession or under his or her custody or control any firearm is guilty of a felony.")
288 U.S. Code Section 1227 -- Deportable aliens. ("(a) Classes of deportable aliens. Any alien (including an alien crewman) in and admitted to the United States shall, upon the order of the Attorney General, be removed if the alien is within one or more of the following classes of deportable aliens.(2) Criminal offenses.(C) Certain firearm offenses -- Any alien who at any time after admission is convicted under any law of purchasing, selling, offering for sale, exchanging, using, owning, possessing, or carrying, or of attempting or conspiring to purchase, sell, offer for sale, exchange, use, own, possess, or carry, any weapon, part, or accessory which is a firearm or destructive device (as defined in section 921(a) of title 18) in violation of any law is deportable.") Violating California's "shooting at an inhabited dwelling" law is therefore a California crime that can lead to deportation.
29California Penal Code 1192.7(c) PC. ("As used in this section [a California] 'serious felony' means. (33) discharge of a firearm at an inhabited dwelling, vehicle, or aircraft, in violation of [California Penal Code] Section 246.")
30California Penal Code 667 PC -- Habitual criminals; enhancement of sentence; amendment of section (otherwise known as California's Three Strikes Law). ("(b) It is the intent of the Legislature in enacting subdivisions (b) to (i), inclusive, to ensure longer prison sentences and greater punishment for those who commit a felony and have been previously convicted of serious and/or violent felony offenses.")
31California Penal Code 667 -- Habitual criminals; enhancement of sentence; amendment of section -- California Three Strikes law . ("(e) For purposes of subdivisions (b) to (i), inclusive, and in addition to any other enhancement or punishment provisions which may apply, the following shall apply where a defendant has a prior felony conviction: (1) If a defendant has one prior felony conviction that has been pled and proved, the determinate term or minimum term for an indeterminate term shall be twice the term otherwise provided as punishment for the current felony conviction. (2)(A) If a defendant has two or more prior felony convictions as defined in subdivision (d) that have been pled and proved, the term for the current felony conviction shall be an indeterminate term of life imprisonment with a minimum term of the indeterminate sentence calculated as the greater of: (i) Three times the term otherwise provided as punishment for each current felony conviction subsequent to the two or more prior felony convictions. (ii) Imprisonment in the [California] state prison for 25 years.")
33California Penal Code 25850 PC -- Carrying a loaded firearm. ("("(a)(1) A person is guilty of carrying a loaded firearm when he or she carries a loaded firearm on his or her person or in a vehicle while in any public place or on any public street in an incorporated city or in any public place or on any public street in a prohibited area of unincorporated territory.")
34California Penal Code 16590 PC -- Manufacture, import, sale, supply or possession of certain weapons and explosives; punishment; exceptions; definitions. ("(a) Any person in this state who does any of the following is punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year or in the state prison: (1) Manufactures or causes to be manufactured, imports into the state, keeps for sale, or offers or exposes for sale, or who gives, lends, or possesses any cane gun or wallet gun, any undetectable firearm, any firearm which is not immediately recognizable as a firearm, any camouflaging firearm container, any ammunition which contains or consists of any flechette dart, any bullet containing or carrying an explosive agent, any ballistic knife, any multiburst trigger activator, any nunchaku, any short-barreled shotgun, any short-barreled rifle, any metal knuckles, any belt buckle knife, any leaded cane, any zip gun, any shuriken, any unconventional pistol, any lipstick case knife, any cane sword, any shobi-zue, any air gauge knife, any writing pen knife, any metal military practice handgrenade or metal replica handgrenade, or any instrument or weapon of the kind commonly known as a blackjack, slungshot, billy, sandclub, sap, or sandbag. (2) Commencing January 1, 2000, manufactures or causes to be manufactured, imports into the state, keeps for sale, or offers or exposes for sale, or who gives, or lends, any large-capacity magazine." Using one of these prohibited weapons to shoot at a inhabited dwelling or occupied car violates both this law and California's law against shooting at an inhabited dwelling.
35California Penal Code 30600 PC -- Manufacturing, selling, lending, and/or possessing assault weapons or .50 BMG rifles. ("(a) Any person who, within this state, manufactures or causes to be manufactured, distributes, transports, or imports into the state, keeps for sale, or offers or exposes for sale, or who gives or lends any assault weapon or any .50 BMG rifle, except as provided by this chapter, is guilty of a felony, and upon conviction shall be punished by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 for four, six, or eight years. (b) In addition and consecutive to the punishment imposed under subdivision (a), any person who transfers, lends, sells, or gives any assault weapon or any .50 BMG rifle to a minor in violation of subdivision (a) shall receive an enhancement of imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 of one year. (c) Except in the case of a first violation involving not more than two firearms as provided in Sections 30605 and 30610, for purposes of this article, if more than one assault weapon or .50 BMG rifle is involved in any violation of this article, there shall be a distinct and separate offense for each.")
36California Penal Code 626.9 PC -- The Gun-Free School Zone Act. ("(a) This section shall be known, and may be cited, as the Gun-Free School Zone Act of 1995. (b) Any person who possesses a firearm in a place that the person knows, or reasonably should know, is a school zone, as defined in paragraph (1) of subdivision (e), unless it is with the written permission of the school district superintendent, his or her designee, or equivalent school authority, shall be punished as specified in subdivision (f)...(d) Except as provided in subdivision (b), it shall be unlawful for any person, with reckless disregard for the safety of another, to discharge, or attempt to discharge, a firearm [as is also prohibited under Penal Code 246 PC California's "shooting at an inhabited dwelling or occupied car" law] in a school zone, as defined in paragraph (1) of subdivision (e).(e)(1) "School zone" means an area in, or on the grounds of, a public or private school providing instruction in kindergarten or grades 1 to 12, inclusive, or within a distance of 1,000 feet from the grounds of the public or private school.")
37California Penal Code 664 PC -- Attempts. ("Every person who attempts to commit any crime, but fails, or is prevented or intercepted in its perpetration, shall be punished where no provision is made by law for the punishment of those attempts, as follows: (a) If the crime attempted is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison, the person guilty of the attempt shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for one-half the term of imprisonment prescribed upon a conviction of the offense attempted. However, if the crime attempted is willful, deliberate, and premeditated murder, as defined in Section 189, the person guilty of that attempt shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for life with the possibility of parole. ")
38Please feel free to contact our Nevada criminal defense attorneys Michael Becker and Mike Castillo for any questions relating to Nevada's firearm laws. Their Nevada law offices are located in Reno and Las Vegas.