Legal Question in Criminal Law in California

I was arrested and charged with ex felon in possess of firearm.M y friend gave me a ride to the store and we got flat tire.We are in a AM/PM park lot waiting for ride.The cops park two cars away from us and sit there.They seen me sitting passenger and friend in drivers seat.My friend goes ins tore and im sitting on curb, meanwhile the cops approach the truck and just start searching it.After a few minutes they walk over and put me in back of cop car.They continue searching and after 15 min show me a gun hey said was in a bag on passenger side on the floor.Told them I had no knowledge of what they were talking about, it wasn't my car .They said someone has to go down for it and took me to jail.I am not n probation or parole and need advice on what to do?

Asked on 9/01/13, 12:57 am

4 Answers from Attorneys

Zadik Shapiro Law Offices of C. Zadik Shapiro

You need to see a lawyer right away and go over all of the details. Its hard to tell based upon the limited information you gave in the post but the search sounds questionable.

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Answered on 9/01/13, 1:57 am

David M. Wallin Law Offices OF David M. Wallin

As a Former Deputy District Attorney and a Certified Criminal Law Specialist, our office has handled many cases like yours. The government has to prove you knew the weapon was in the car. You should speak with an attorney as soon as possible and try to get a statement from the other occupant in the car. Most criminal defense attorneys offer free consultations, so speak to a couple and choose the one you feel has the most experience and will fight for you. I wish you the best. ...........David Wallin

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Answered on 9/01/13, 7:23 am
Edward Hoffman Law Offices of Edward A. Hoffman

Was any evidence of a crime visible to the police before they started searching the truck? If not, they needed your friend's permission (or perhaps yours) or a warrant to search it. Otherwise the search was illegal and the evidence they found should be excluded.

Even if the search was legal, that's not the end of the story. Mr. Wallin correctly notes that the government must prove you knew the gun was present. It must also prove you knew it was a gun -- as opposed to, say, a toy.

But the fact the car wasn't yours is not terribly important. Passengers routinely have possessions with them, and this bag was supposedly on the floor in front of your seat. That doesn't prove it was yours, but it supports that inference.

That you aren't on probation or parole also doesn't exonerate you. Felons are not allowed to possess firearms even after their probation or parole has ended. There are sentencing enhancements for defendants who still are, and at least you aren't faced with those. But you can still be convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

You need a good defense lawyer ASAP.

Good luck.

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Answered on 9/01/13, 7:34 pm
Terry A. Nelson Nelson & Lawless

What to do??

You defend against the charges, as in any other criminal case.

When charged with any crime, the proper questions are, can any evidence obtained in a test, search or statement be used against you, can you be convicted, and what can you do? Raise all appropriate defenses with whatever witnesses, evidence and sympathies are available. If you don't know how to represent yourself effectively against an experienced prosecutor intending to convict, then hire an attorney who does, who will try to get a dismissal, charge reduction, diversion, programs, or other decent outcome through motions, plea bargain, or take it to trial if appropriate.

If serious about hiring counsel to help in this, and if this is in SoCal courts, feel free to contact me. Iíll be happy to help fight and get the best outcome possible, using whatever defenses and sympathies there may be.

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Answered on 9/04/13, 11:30 am

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