Sec 12034 of the California Penal Code is formally called discharging a firearm from a motor vehicle. In common parlance, this crime is called “drive-by shooting law”. There are many acts falling within the purview of this crime, which are as follows:

  • Being the driver or owner of a car and allowing another person to bring a gun into the car;
  • Being the owner or driver of the car and knowingly allowed another to discharge a gun from within the car;
  • Willful and malicious shooting at another person from within a car;
  • Willful and malicious firing a gun from within a car;

This crime does not require that the car be moving or in motion. So long as shots are fired from within a car, this law applies to this crime. There are many related laws to this crime:

  1. Sec 12020 of the California Penal Code or Possession of Dangerous Weapons;
  2. Sec 12280 of the California Penal Code or Law against the possession assault weapon;
  3. Sec 246 of the California Penal Code or Law against shooting at an inhabited dwelling or occupied car;

The following are the penalties applicable to this crime. Depending on their participation, the individual participants can be charged either with a felony or misdemeanor offense, as follows:

  • As the driver or owner of the car that allowed a passenger to carry a gun into the vehicle, the crime is a misdemeanor offense with penalties of up to six months in county jail and/or payment of fines up to $1,000;
  • When the owner or driver allows a passenger to discharge a firearm from the vehicle, then the crime can be charged either as a felony or misdemeanor offense. As a misdemeanor offense, then the prison time is up to one year in jail and payment of fines up to $1,000. As a felony offense, the prison time is sixteen (16) months or two (2) or three (3) years in state prison and payment of fines up to $10,000.

As the shooter in the crime, the crime can be charged either as a misdemeanor or felony offense. As a misdemeanor, the penalty is up to one year in county jail and payment of a fine up to $1,000. As a felony offense, the prison time is sixteen (16) months or two (2) or three (3) years in state prison and payment of fines up to $10,000.

As the shooter and the shots are fired from the vehicle aimed at another person, then the crime is an automatic felony. The penalties imposable are either three (3), five (5) or seven (7) years in state prison and payment of a fine up to $10,000.

Aside from these penalties, additional crimes can be added to the felony conviction for drive by shooting. These include the California Three Strikes Law, California Firearm Offenses and its accessory penalties affecting aliens, California Felon with a Firearm law, California’s murder law and the California Felony-Murder Law. The felon would also have their rights to own or acquire firearms revoked because of the conviction.

This crime can also be utilized as a sentencing enhancement when the drive by shooting is done in conjunction with the commission of another felony offense. When this is undertaken, only the actual shooter would be subjected to this enhancement. Thus all the other participants would not be subjected to the additional punishment.

The crime of drive by shooting is a serious offense in California. Should you be or know anyone undergoing this process, do reach out to the lawyers at the Law Offices of Ramiro J. Lluis for a free consultation today.