A “sentencing enhancement” is an increased punishment that is given to a criminal defendant convicted of a particular crime.
This increased punishment can be a result of the use of a weapon in the commission of the crime, or the use of violence to commit the crime. In California, if someone is convicted of a certain sex crime and used a firearm to commit the offense, they might be subject to additional sentencing enhancements.
Sex crimes subject to sentencing enhancements for use of a firearm
Under California Penal Code 12022.3 PC, defendants are subject to additional sentences if they use a gun in the commission of certain sex crimes. This crimes include, but aren’t limited to:
- Spousal rape
- Forcible sexual penetration
- Lewd acts with a minor
- Oral copulation with a minor
It’s important here to note that “commission” doesn’t end with the completion of the sex act. It continues as long as the defendant maintains control over the victim.
For example, a person commits rape on another person. After the sex act is over, the assailant draws a gun and uses it to threaten the victim. In this case, the assailant could be subject to sentencing enhancements under 12022.3 PC.
Sentencing enhancements for using a gun while committing a sex crime
If someone uses a gun in the commission of a sex crime, they could face the following penalties in addition to and consecutive to the sentence for the underlying offense:
- Three, four or 10 years in California State Prison for using a gun or a deadly weapon
- One, two or five years for being armed with a firearm or deadly weapon
Defenses against firearms related sentencing enhancements
If you’re convicted of a sex crime and use a gun in the commission of the offense, you might be subject to additional sentencing enhancements.
However, there are some defenses that you can use to try and avoid these penalties. These include:
- The firearm was not used in the commission of the sex crime
- The defendant was not armed with the firearm
- The defendant did not commit a sex crime
- The defendant was arrested without probable cause
Your attorney will carefully review the specific facts of your case with you and work to craft your defense together. A defense attorney examines all the evidence in a case closely in order to find any inconsistencies or weaknesses. If they can find any, they will use them to try and get the charges against their client lowered or dismissed.
Robert M. Helfend is a criminal defense lawyer practicing in Los Angeles, California. He has over 30 years of experience in the legal field and has represented clients in all types of criminal cases, specializing in sex crimes. Call today for a free case evaluation – 800-834-6434.