California Possession of a Deadly Weapon Attorney
Possession of a Knife
The two most common laws that regulate knife use are Penal Code section 653k and Penal Code section 12020.
Penal Code section 653k prohibits a person from carrying a switchblade knife with a blade of 2+ inches in length, either in the car or in a public place. This crime is a misdemeanor with a maximum punishment of six months county jail.
Penal Code section 12020(a)(4) prohibits a person from carrying a concealed dirk or dagger. As used in this section, a “dirk” or “dagger” means a knife that can be used as a stabbing weapon to inflict great bodily injury or death. This crime is a wobbler with a maximum punishment of three years state prison.
Possession of Metal or Composite Knuckles
Penal Code section 21810 prohibits the possession of metal knuckles. This crime is a wobbler punishable by up to one year in the county jail or pursuant to Penal Code section 1170(h). Furthermore, metal knuckles, unlike composite knuckles, are considered a nuisance and subject to Penal Code section 18010. That means the weapon will be subject to confiscation and destruction.
Penal code section 21710 prohibits the possession of composite / wooden knuckles. This crime is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in the county jail.
One reoccurring problem that defendants face with these statutes is that motorcycle gloves can constitute metal knuckles. Many motorcycle gloves use metal or a carbon composite to protect the knuckles and aggressive prosecutors can file charges under Penal Code sections 21810 or 21710 for mere possession of motorcycle gloves.
Possession of a Firearm
A person, with a felony conviction on their record, who purchases, owns, receives or possesses a firearm is guilty of violating Penal Code section 12021(a)(1). This crime is a felony with a maximum punishment of three years state prison.
A person, with two prior convictions for misdemeanor brandishing a firearm – Penal Code section 417(a)(2) – who purchases, owns, receives or possesses a firearm is guilty of violating Penal Code section 12021(a)(2), a felony with a maximum punishment of three years state prison.
A person, with certain misdemeanor convictions on their record, who purchases, owns, receives or possesses a firearm within ten years of the misdemeanor conviction is guilty of violating Penal Code section 12021(c)(1), wobbler with a maximum punishment of three years state prison. These misdemeanor convictions include:
- Penal Code section 136.1 – witness intimidation
- Penal Code sections 240, 241 – assault
- Penal Code sections 242, 243 – battery
- Penal Code section 245 – assault with a deadly weapon
- Penal Code section 243.4 – sexual battery
- Penal Code section 273.5 – domestic violence with injury
- Penal Code section 273.6 – violating a domestic violence restraining order
- Penal Code section 417 – brandishing a deadly weapon
- Penal Code section 422 – deadly threats
- Penal Code section 646.9 – stalking
Not only can possessing a firearm or deadly weapon conviction lead to criminal penalties, but it can also have drastic employment, licensing and immigration consequences. A conviction for possessing a deadly weapon or firearm can prevent a person from finding a job or lead to a person being fired from their current job. Furthermore, many professions that require licensing from a state board, such as doctors, nurses, lawyers, contractors, teachers, real estate agents and stock brokers, all require background checks. A professional who has a possessing a deadly weapon or firearm conviction on their record risks losing their professional license, or never acquiring it in the first place. Perhaps the most severe impact of a possession of a firearm or deadly weapon conviction involves immigration consequences. Non-citizens who are permanent residents or temporary visitors via a visa, can be denied naturalization or even deported, with a possession of a deadly weapon conviction on their record. This is especially true if a firearm was the deadly weapon. Immigration consequences are incredibly severe when firearms are involved.
The Right Lawyer
Choosing the right criminal defense lawyer will be the most important decision someone can make when a charge for possession of a deadly weapon. Many people who face the charge of possession of a firearm or other deadly weapon are good people who made a mistake or exercised poor judgment. There are also some people who have been wrongfully accused of possession of a firearm or deadly weapon, based on a misunderstanding or false evidence. You need an attorney who will listen to your side of the story carefully, who will evaluate the evidence thoroughly, who will negotiate with the judge and the District Attorney’s office skillfully, and who will fight in trial aggressively. You need an attorney like Fred Thiagarajah.
As a former Deputy District Attorney, Fred Thiagarajah has the negotiating skills and trial experience necessary to get the best results for his clients. For an example of his work, please see his case results and read his client testimonials. With offices in Newport Beach, Beverly Hills and Riverside, Fred Thiagarajah has criminal defense experience in Orange, Los Angeles and Riverside Counties.
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