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Weapon Charge Defenses Against Generally Prohibited Weapons In California: Escape Or Minimize The Penalties

Okabe & Haushalter Jul 6, 2018 Weapons Charge

Did you know that you can be charged with possession of a generally prohibited weapon just because your cane, belt, pen or even lipstick resembles a dangerous concealed weapon?

That is because the California Penal Code makes it illegal to possess, sell, distribute, or manufacture certain dangerous weapons, many of which can be easily mistaken for ordinary objects.

“Because California law can be rather vague as to what is defined as a generally prohibited weapon, many innocent people in San Francisco, Los Angeles and all across California get arrested on suspicion of carrying a dangerous weapon,” says our San Francisco weapons charge defense attorney at the Okabe & Haushalter law firm.

What is a ‘generally prohibited weapon’ in California?

There is a lengthy list of objects that are identified as “generally prohibited weapons” under California Penal Code 16590. Possessing any of the following objects (concealed weapons) even in private is unlawful, even if you have a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

  • Belt buckle knife
  • Cane gun
  • Cane sword
  • Leaded cane
  • Lipstick case knife
  • Air gauge knife
  • Wallet gun
  • Writing pen knife
  • Ammunition containing a flechette dart
  • Bullets containing an explosive agent
  • Concealed explosive substance
  • Ballistic knife
  • Concealed dirk or dagger
  • Zip gun
  • Camouflaging firearm container
  • Firearm not immediately recognizable as a firearm (undetectable firearm)
  • Metal knuckles
  • Metal military practice hand grenade
  • Large-capacity magazine
  • Nunchaku
  • Short-barreled rifle
  • Multi-burst trigger activator
  • Shobi-zue
  • Shuriken
  • Unconventional pistol

Weapons charge defenses for generally prohibited weapons

If you have been arrested on suspicion of possessing, using, manufacturing, selling or distributing a generally prohibited weapon, the first step you should take is to contact experienced weapons charge defense attorney in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Beverly Hills or elsewhere in California.

There are many legal defenses to charges of breaking California’s law on generally prohibited weapons, and only a skilled lawyer can determine what could be the best defense to make the prosecutor drop the charges or at least reduce the severity of the penalties.

In order to dismiss the weapons charges in California or minimize the penalties, your attorney may mount any of the following defenses (though it is not the full list of available defenses):

  • The object (weapon) does not meet the legal description of a generally prohibited weapon
  • You were not aware that the weapon was considered a generally prohibited weapon under California law
  • You have a permit for this particular weapon
  • The generally prohibited weapon was seized during an unlawful search
  • Your arrest was the result of illegal activities from police or any other type of police misconduct

Penalties for possession of generally prohibited weapons

Under California law, violating the Penal Code 16590 on generally prohibited weapons is classified as a “wobbler” offense. Meaning: depending on the specific facts of your case and discretion of the prosecutor, a wobbler can result in either a misdemeanor or a felony charge. A San Francisco weapons charge defense attorney can help you fight the charges or at least minimize the penalties for violating this type of law.

Those who are convicted of possessing, carrying, distributing, manufacturing, or selling a generally prohibited weapon in California face the following consequences:

  • Misdemeanor. Up to 1 year in county jail and/or a maximum fine of $1,000
  • Felony. Up to 3 years in county jail and/or a maximum fine of $10,000

Here at the Okabe & Haushalter law firm, many of our criminal defense lawyers are former prosecutors, police officers, and law enforcement officials. Meaning: we know how to defend you against weapons charges in California. Schedule a free consultation by calling at 310-430-7799 or complete this contact form today.