Firearms Sentencing Enhancements in California
What Happens when an Individual Is Convicted of Using a Gun to Commit a Crime?
California law dictates harsher penalties for those convicted of using firearms during the commission of crimes. Up until 2018, the state followed what was known as the “10-20-life” sentencing enhancement, which imposed minimum mandatory sentences for individuals who were found to have “used” a firearm during the commission of a felony offense. While this rule is no longer mandatory, you may still face harsh penalties—in some cases, harsher than they would have been under the old 10-20-life rule—if you are determined to have used a gun during a crime.
If you are facing criminal charges, it is crucial that you speak to an experienced California gun crimes attorney right away. At the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, we have over 30 years of criminal defense experience and our founding attorney, Virginia L. Landry, is regarded as an authority on California gun laws. We are here to fight for you and your rights.
Contact the Gun Queen for a free consultation; call (888) 272-6668 today.
Understanding the Recent Changes to the 10-20-Life Sentencing Enhancement
The 10-20-life sentencing enhancement, commonly known as the “use a gun and you’re done” rule, was enacted in the 1990s to curb weapon-related offenses. However, backlash and public outcry in response to the rule’s actual effects led California law makers to make changes to the rule. In 2017, Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 620. The bill, which went into effect on January 1, 2018, allows judges to decide whether or not to follow the 10-20-life rule.
So, what is the 10-20-life sentencing enhancement?
The old rule made it mandatory for judges to impose the following sentences when a person was convicted of using a firearm during the commission of certain felony crimes:
- A minimum sentence of 3 to 10 (in addition to sentencing for the crime itself) when a firearm was “used”
- A minimum sentence of 20 years (in addition to sentencing for the crime itself) when a firearm was discharged
- A minimum of 25 years to life in prison (in addition to sentencing for the crime itself) when the discharge of a firearm caused great bodily harm
Though noted above, it’s important to reiterate that these sentencing enhancements are enacted on top of the actual sentencing for the offense itself.
Now, judges are no longer beholden to these minimum sentencing requirements. Instead, they are allowed to impose firearms sentencing enhancements at their own discretion. This means that an individual who is convicted of “using” a firearm during the commission of a crime—including such acts as exhibiting an unloaded gun—could potentially face the old 3 to 10 years enhancement, or any other amount of time the judge deems appropriate.
Contact the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry for a Free Consultation
Essentially, if you are convicted of using a firearm during the commission of certain felony crimes in California, you face harsh sentencing based on the discretion of the judge that presides over your case. In order to help ensure that your rights are protected, it is extremely important that you speak to a skilled California firearm sentencing enhancement attorney.
Our founding attorney, Virginia L. Landry, the Gun Queen, is incredibly knowledgeable about state and federal gun laws, as well as gun owners’ rights. We can help you understand your legal options and fight to protect your future and your freedom.
Request a free, confidential case evaluation today; call us at (888) 272-6668.
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