California Penal Code Section 30305: Felon in Possession of Ammunition

Felon in Possession of Ammunition While people generally understand that is illegal for a felon to own or possess firearms under California Penal Code § 29800, many people are surprised to learn it is also a felony for a felon to possess ammunition, even where there is no firearm present. Under California Penal Code Section 30305, it is a felony for a person prohibited from owning or possessing a firearm to own or possess ammunition or reloaded ammunition.

Elements of the Offense

In order to be convicted of possession of ammunition by a prohibited person, the prosecutor must prove that the defendant owned, possessed or had ammunition under his custody or control, that he or she knew that she owned or possessed ammunition and the defendant was a prohibited person. A person can be prohibited from owning or possessing ammunition if he or she has been convicted of a felony or certain misdemeanors or if the defendant has had two or more 5150 holds within a year or other prohibitions due to mental illness.

Ammunition is defined as a bullet, cartridge, magazine, clip, speed loader, autoloader or projectile capable of being fired from a firearm with a deadly consequence. Any person prohibited from possessing a firearm in California is also prohibited from possessing ammunition. This includes defendants who have been convicted of any felony in any state or Federal Court, defendants who are addicted to narcotics, defendants who have two or more misdemeanor conviction for brandishing a firearm under Penal Code Section 417, defendants who have been convicted of a domestic violence crime, defendants with a diagnosed mental illness or those under the age of 18.

Defenses to Possession of Ammunition by a Prohibited Person

There are many defenses that may apply to a defendant who has been charged with possession of ammunition by a prohibited person. The prosecutor must be able to prove that the defendant knowingly possessed the ammunition in question. Unlike firearms which are large and not inconspicuous, ammunition can be very small and a person can have ammunition in his or her possession without knowing it or realizing it. In these cases, the defense may be able to argue that there was a lack of knowledge. There always may be issues if ammunition is found in a common area where multiple people live or have access to.

In addition, there may be grounds to have the evidence of ammunition suppressed if it was found during an illegal search or seizure. In these cases, the defense may file a motion to suppress under Penal Code Section 1538.5. If granted, any ammunition discovered as the result of an illegal search or seizure may be thrown out in court.


Possession of ammunition by a prohibited person is a “wobbler” offense that can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor. If charged as a felony, the defendant can be sentenced to sixteen months, two years or three years in state prison. If the case is filed as a misdemeanor, the defendant can be sentenced to up to a year in jail.

If you or a loved one have been charged with possession of ammunition by a prohibited person, it is critical that you speak with a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney as soon as possible. Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer Michael Kraut is a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience who understands how to effectively defend clients charged with firearm and firearm-related crimes.

For more information about gun crimes, contact Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney Michael Kraut at the Kraut Criminal & DUI Lawyers located at 6255 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 1520, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 323-464-6453.

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