Penal Code 12022.2 PC - Possessing Ammunition Designed to Penetrate Metal or Armor

Penal Code 12022.2 PC is the California statute that creates a firearm sentencing enhancement for anyone who either:

  1. commits a felony while armed with a firearm and in immediate possession of ammunition designed to penetrate metal or armor, or
  2. wears a body vest during the commission of a violent felony.

The enhancements under this statute subject a defendant to a number of years in California state prison. This time period is in addition and consecutive to the punishment that the accused receives for the underlying felony offense.

According to this code section:

  • a person who commits a felony while armed with a gun, and in possession of metal piercing ammo, will be punished by an additional and consecutive prison term of three, four or ten years.
  • a defendant who wears a body vest, in the commission of a violent felony, will be punished by an additional and consecutive prison term of one, two, or five years.

Examples of when enhanced sentences will be applied under this code section include:

Defenses

Luckily, there are several legal defenses that a person can raise to challenge enhanced penalties under this statute. These include showing that the defendant:

Our California criminal defense attorneys will highlight the following in this article:

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FN 5.7×28mm Armor Piercing Bullets

1. What is the law under Penal Code 12022.2?

Penal Code 12022.2 PC is the California statute that creates a firearm sentencing enhancement for anyone who either:

  1. commits a felony while armed with a firearm and in immediate possession of ammunition designed primarily to penetrate metal or armor, or
  2. wears a body vest during the commission of a violent felony.1

"Body vest" means any bullet-resistant material intended to provide ballistic and trauma protection for the wearer.2

2. What are the sentencing enhancements for committing a felony with metal piercing ammo?

If a defendant possess metal- or armor-piercing ammunition during the commission of a felony, he will receive a sentence of:

  • three,
  • four, or
  • ten years.3

This sentence is in addition and consecutive to the punishment for the underlying crime.4

Note that absent circumstances in aggravation or mitigation, the judge must sentence a defendant to four years under this statute. Otherwise, the judge will use his or her discretion in deciding what penalty to impose.5

The judge must state the reasons for his or her choice on the record at the time of the sentence.6

3. What are the sentencing enhancements for committing a felony while wearing a body vest?

If a defendant wore a body vest during the commission or attempted commission of a violent felony, he will be punished by an additional and consecutive prison term of:

  • one,
  • two, or
  • five years.7

The court must sentence the defendant to the minimum one-year enhancement unless there are circumstances in aggravation or mitigation. And again, the court must state the reasons for its enhancement choice on the record at the time of the sentence.8

attorney speaking with judge

4. Are there legal defenses to challenge PC 12022.2 charges?

If a person is accused of violating this statute, then he can challenge the accusation by raising a legal defense. A good defense can often get a charge reduced or even dismissed.

Three common defenses to accusations under this code section are:

  1. no felony,
  2. coerced confession, and/or
  3. falsely accused.

4.1. No felony

PC 12022.2 only applies if a defendant committed a felony. It is always a defense, therefore, for an accused to show that there was no underlying felony offense. For example, maybe the defendant committed a California misdemeanor or an infraction.

4.2. Coerced confession

California law states that police may not use overbearing measures to coerce a confession.

If a party can show that the police coerced him into a confession, then:

  • the judge may exclude the confession from evidence, or
  • the case could get dropped altogether if the party got pressured into confessing to a crime he didn't commit.

4.3. Falsely accused

Unfortunately, it is not at all uncommon for people to get prosecuted based on false allegations. People get falsely accused out of

  • jealousy,
  • revenge, and
  • anger.

Thus, it is a valid defense for a defendant to say that a party falsely accused him of violating Penal Code 12022.2.

5. Related Offenses

There are three crimes related to possessing metal piercing ammo while committing a felony. These are:

  1. being armed with a firearm during the commission of a felony – PC 12022,
  2. personally using firearms during the commission of a felony – PC 12022.5, and
  3. using a firearm in the commission of a sex crime – PC 12022.3.

5.1. Being armed with a firearm during the commission of a felony – PC 12022

Penal Code 12022 PC is the California statute that says a defendant will face enhanced prison time for felony crimes, if during the commission of the crime, either:

  1. the defendant was armed with a firearm, or
  2. the defendant used a dangerous or deadly weapon.9

According to PC 12022:

  • a person who is armed with a firearm in the commission of a felony, or in an attempted felony, will be punished by an additional and consecutive prison term of one year.
  • a defendant who, in the commission of a felony, is armed with an assault weapon, a machine gun, or a .50 BMG rifle will be punished by an additional and consecutive prison term of three years.
  • an accused who personally uses a deadly or dangerous weapon in the commission of a felony will be punished by an additional and consecutive prison term of one year.
  • a defendant that uses a deadly or dangerous weapon in the commission of a felony carjacking will be punished by an additional and consecutive prison term of one, two, or three years.
  • a person who, in the commission of certain felony drug offenses, is armed with a firearm, will be punished by an additional and consecutive prison term of three, four, or five years.10

5.2. Personally using firearms during the commission of a felony – PC 12022.5

California Penal Code 12022.5 creates a sentencing enhancement of between three to ten years for defendants that personally use a firearm during the commission or attempted commission of a felony.11

5.3. Using a firearm in the commission of a sex crime – PC 12022.3

Penal Code 12022.3 PC imposes sentencing enhancements if a defendant used, or had in his possession, a firearm during the commission of certain sex offenses. Such offenses include (but are not limited to):

The sentencing enhancements under PC 12022.3 can range from one to ten years.13

Were you accused of committing a felony in California while in possession of metal piercing ammo? Call us for help…

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Call us for help at (855) LAW-FIRM

If you or someone you know has been accused of a crime under Penal Code 12022.2 PC, we invite you to contact us for a free consultation. We can be reached 24/7 at 855-LawFirm.


Legal References:

  1. California Penal Code 12022.2 PC. This code section states: “(a) Any 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 order the middle term unless there are circumstances in aggravation or mitigation. The court shall state the reasons for its enhancement choice on the record at the time of the sentence.

    (b) Any person who wears a body vest in the commission or attempted 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 order the middle term unless there are circumstances in aggravation or mitigation. The court shall state the reasons for its enhancement choice on the record at the time of the sentence.

    (c) As used in this section, “body vest” means any bullet-resistant material intended to provide ballistic and trauma protection for the wearer.

    (d) This section shall become operative on January 1, 2022.”

  2. California Penal Code 12022.2c PC.

  3. California Penal Code 12022.2a PC.

  4. See same.

  5. See same.

  6. See same.

  7. California Penal Code 12022.2b PC.

  8. See same.

  9. California Penal Code 12022 PC.

  10. See same.

  11. California Penal Code 12022.5 PC.

  12. California Penal Code 12022.3 PC.

  13. See same.

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