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Central Coast attorney explains Paul Flores' arrest

Posted at 11:39 PM, Feb 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-12 11:11:32-05

Paul Flores, a person-of-interest in the disappearance of Cal Poly student Kristin Smart, was arrested on suspicion of being a felon in possession of a firearm Thursday morning in Rancho Palos Verdes.

Central Coast criminal defense attorney Jeff Stein explained the charge and what it means.

"[In] California and most states, if you committed a felony you cannot possess a firearm," he said.

Paul Flores has a previous felony DUI conviction.

According to Stein, the charge requires an adequate showing of three things.

"You have to have physical possession or legal control over the place where the thing is, you have to have knowledge of its presence and knowledge of its contraband nature. So, for someone who is a felon, a firearm is contraband, so the state has to be able to prove those three things," he said.

Stein continues saying that if convicted of the weapons charge, sentencing could vary.

"This is classified as a low-range felony, so it carries a range of as low as 16 months in state prison, as much as three years," he said. "Prison is not required, the court that ends up resolving the case, if a person were to be convicted, has the discretion to impose prison or to give probation and some time in county jail."

The L.A. County Sheriff's Office says Flores posted bond Thursday night and was released from custody. A court date is expected to be set in the next few days.