Drive-by shooting makes great action scenes in movies, but the reality is quite different.
Drive-by shootings like the one that took place in Kern this summer are terrifying. They are unpredictable, deadly, and it’s not uncommon for innocent bystanders to be hurt or even killed. A single drive-by shooting can seriously change the tone of a neighborhood.
California defines a drive-by shooting as a crime that takes place when a shot is fired from a vehicle. It doesn’t matter if you fire a pistol, BB gun, rile, or arrow from the car, it’s a drive-by shooting.
Many people assumed that they will only be charged with drive-by shooting if they are the ones who fired a weapon. That’s not the case at all.
Penal Code 26100 PC can be charged with a drive-by shooting if you:
- Fire a weapon while in a car
- Own the car the weapon was fired out of
Knowingly permit a passenger to carry bring a weapon that violates Section 25850 or Section 2006 of the Fish and Game Code into your vehicle
If you’re found guilty of a drive-by shooting in California, you can be charged with either a felony or a misdemeanor. The state considers drive-by shooting to be a crime unto itself. The judge can sentence you to spend the next seven years of your life in a California state prison. That is only for the act of firing a gun from a car. The state can also charge you with things like murder, assault, shooting at an inhabited dwelling, assault with a firearm, and aggravated mayhem.
There are a few plausible defenses that can be used to fight drive-by shooting charges. These include:
- Proving that you shot the weapon in self-defense
- Proving you didn’t know a passenger brought a gun in the car and/or that they were about to use it in a drive-by shooting
A conviction of drive-by shooting does impact your ability to own a gun. If the court only pursued a misdemeanor charge, you will be prohibited from owning a gun for ten years. If you were found guilty of a felony drive-by shooting you’ll never be allowed to legally own a gun again.