Penal Code 12022.4 PC - Aiding or Abetting a Felony with a Firearm

Penal Code 12022.4 PC is the California statute that creates a firearm sentencing enhancement for anyone who:

  1. furnishes, or attempts to furnish, a firearm to someone else, and
  2. does so with the purpose of aiding or abetting that person to commit a felony.

The enhancements under this statute subject a defendant to a certain number of years in the 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 PC 12022.4:

  • a person who furnishes a firearm to someone else, for the purpose of aiding or abetting that person to commit a felony, will be punished by an additional and consecutive prison term of one, two, or three 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 crime that was committed was not a felony,
  • the defendant was arrested following a coerced confession, and/or
  • the defendant acted under duress.

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

person aiming gun

1. What is the law under Penal Code 12022.4?

Penal Code 12022.4 PC is the California statute that creates a firearm sentencing enhancement for anyone who:

  1. furnishes, or attempt to furnish, a firearm to someone else, and
  2. does so with the purpose of aiding or abetting that person to commit a felony.1

Note that “commit,” as used in this code section, has a broader meaning than under other firearm enhancement statutes. Under PC 12022.4, a defendant does not need to be present when the crime is committed. If he gives someone a gun before a felony is committed, the enhancement will apply as long as it is part of one continuous transaction.2

2. What are the sentencing enhancements under PC 12022.4?

Punishment under this enhancement is an additional prison term of one, two, or three years. This sentence is in addition and consecutive to the sentence for the underlying felony offense.3

A defendant must be sentenced to the middle term - two years - unless the court finds circumstances in aggravation or mitigation. The judge must state the reasons for his or her choice on the record at the time of the sentence.4

attorneys hard at work

3. Are there legal defenses to challenge PC 12022.4 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. duress.

3.1. No felony

PC 12022.4 only applies if someone furnishes a gun to another and that party commits a felony. It is always a defense, therefore, for an accused to show that there was no underlying felony offense. For example, maybe the other person committed a California misdemeanor or an infraction.

3.2. 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.

3.3. Duress

Duress is a legal defense in which an accused basically says: “He made me do it.” The defense applies to the very limited situation in which a person commits a crime (here, violating PC 12022.4), because somebody threatened to kill him if the crime was not committed.

4. Related Offenses

There are three crimes related to a person aiding or abetting a felony with a firearm. These are:

  1. Personally using a firearm during the commission of a serious felony – PC 12022.53,
  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.

4.1. Personally using a firearm during the commission of a serious felony – PC 12022.53

Penal Code 12022.53 is better known as California's "10-20-life 'use a gun and you're done'" law.

PC 12022.53 provides a sentencing enhancement for when a defendant personally uses a firearm during the commission of certain serious felonies. Some of these felonies include (but not limited to):

Penal Code 12022.53 PC adds to a felony sentence the longest of the following which applies:

  • 10 years in prison for using a gun,
  • 20 years for firing a gun, or
  • 25 years to life for killing or seriously injuring another person with a gun.6

The enhancement is in addition and consecutive to the sentence for the underlying felony conviction.

4.2. 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.7

"Personally use a firearm" means that an accused intentionally:

  • displayed the gun in a menacing manner,
  • fired the gun, or
  • hit another person with the gun.8

4.3. 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.10

Were you accused of aiding or abetting a felony with a firearm in California? Call us for help…

california gun law attorneys
Call us for help at (855) LAW-FIRM

If you or someone you know has been accused of a crime under Penal Code 12022.4 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 12022.4 PC. This code section states: “(a) Any person who, during the commission or attempted commission of a felony, furnishes or offers to furnish a firearm to another for the purpose of aiding, abetting, or enabling that person or any other person to commit a felony shall, in addition and consecutive to the punishment prescribed by the felony or attempted felony of which the person has been convicted, be punished by an additional term of one, two, or three years in the state prison. 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. The additional term provided in this section shall not be imposed unless the fact of the furnishing is charged in the accusatory pleading and admitted or found to be true by the trier of fact.

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

  2. People v. Heston (1991) 1 Cal.App.4th 471.

  3. California Penal Code 12022.4 PC.

  4. See same.

  5. California Penal Code 12022.53 PC.

  6. See same.

  7. California Penal Code 12022.5 PC.

  8. CALJIC 17.19 -- The term "personally used a firearm," as used in this instruction, means that the defendant must have intentionally displayed a firearm in a menacing manner, intentionally fired it, or intentionally struck or hit a human being with it.

  9. California Penal Code 12022.3 PC.

  10. See same.

Free attorney consultations...

The attorneys at Shouse Law Group bring more than 100 years collective experience fighting for individuals. We're ready to fight for you. Call us 24 hours a day, 365 days a year at 855-LAW-FIRM for a free case evaluation.

Regain peace of mind...

Shouse Law Defense Group has multiple locations throughout California. Click Office Locations to find out which office is right for you.

Office Locations

Shouse Law Group has multiple locations all across California, Nevada, and Colorado. Click Office Locations to find out which office is right for you.

Call us 24/7 (855) 396-0370