California law calls for strict punishments against those who commit violent crimes. Even with no aggravating circumstances, a Newport Beach resident who gets convicted of a felony may face years or even decades in prison as well as stiff fines. For those who get lucky enough to avoid jail, the terms of probation can be burdensome and very expensive.

Like other states, California also imposes additional punishments when a person is accused of committing a felony under circumstances that lawmakers believe make the crime more serious. One of the more common sentencing enhancements that prosecutors in this state use is an enhancement for those who use a gun, or even have a firearm on them, while they commit a felony.

Basically, the sentencing law calls for an extra one year of prison when a person, or a person’s accomplice, has a firearm on them during a felony. Additional penalties are possible depending on the type of gun a person has and what type of crime is being committed.

Judges in California do have some discretion under the law to disregard these sentencing enhancements in what the law calls the interests of justice. One thing to notice about this law is that it applies broadly to a number of felony offenses, including both violent crimes and felonies that might not necessary involve violence.

For example, certain offenses related to drug use or drug trafficking may fall under the purview of this sentencing enhancement. Being accused of having a weapon in the course of committing a crime only raises the stakes for a Los Angeles resident.