California Penal Code 12022.55 PC imposes an additional prison term of five, six, or 10 years when a person 1) shoots a gun from a car in the commission of a felony, and 2) causes great bodily injury or death. But if the shooter had no intention to kill or severely injure, then the court cannot impose this firearms sentencing enhancement.
The full text of the statute reads as follows:
12022.55 PC. Notwithstanding Section 12022.5, any person who, with the intent to inflict great bodily injury or death, inflicts great bodily injury, as defined in Section 12022.7, or causes the death of a person, other than an occupant of a motor vehicle, as a result of discharging a firearm from a motor vehicle in the commission of a felony or attempted felony, shall be punished by an additional and consecutive term of imprisonment in the state prison for 5, 6, or 10 years.
California Penal Code 12022.55 PC enhances the criminal sentence in cases where all of the following are true:
- A person discharges a gun from an automobile;
- The shooter is committing a felony (or trying to commit a felony);
- The shooter intends the shooting to kill or severely injure another person outside of the car; and
- The shooter does kill or severely injure another person outside of the car.
If all these conditions are true, the California court can impose an additional prison term of either:
- five years,
- six years, or
- ten years.1
And this additional prison term runs consecutively – not concurrently – with the sentence for the underlying felony. Common defenses in these cases are that:
- The defendant had no intent to severely injure or kill;
- Someone other than the defendant shot the firearm; or
- The defendant was outside of the automobile when the gun went off.
See our related article on drive-by shootings (PC 26100).
- California Penal Code 12022.55 PC – Additional punishment for discharging firearm from vehicle. People v. Ramirez (Cal. App. 2d Dist. May 25, 2010), 184 Cal. App. 4th 1233, 109 Cal. Rptr. 3d 474. People v. Myers (Cal. App. 2d Dist. Dec. 17, 1997), 59 Cal. App. 4th 1523, 69 Cal. Rptr. 2d 889.