Review of California Penal Code 20510 PC
A cane sword is an object that appears only to be a cane used for walking but has a sword concealed inside it. The canes used for cane swords are often very ornate.
Cane swords are one example of a prohibited weapon in California. They look like ordinary canes. However, they have a sharp, bladed object inside. Possession of a cane sword could lead to criminal charges.
Cane swords are illegal in California under Penal Code 20510 PC, which states that it is a criminal offense to manufacture, sell, import, give, or possess them. Some examples of what would is against the law include:
- Using a cane sword as a regular cane,
- Buying a cane and installing a sword inside it,
- Buying a cane sword outside of California and driving it back into the state.
Penal Code 20510 PC states, “anyone in this state who manufactures, or causes it, imports into the state, keeps for sale, or offers or exposes for sale, or gives, lends, or has possession of any cane sword is punishable by county jail imprisonment not exceeding one year under subdivision (h) of Section 1170.”
Cane swords are listed under the California statute as generally prohibited weapons. This statute can be found in California Penal Code 16590 PC. In this article by our Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys, we will examine this law in more detail below.
What are the Potential Penalties for a Conviction?
Possession of a cane sword is considered a wobbler offense under California law. Wobbler offenses are crimes that can be charged as either misdemeanors or felonies. The prosecutor will decide what type of offense to charge depending on the facts and circumstances of the case.
If the possession of a cane sword is charged as a misdemeanor, the court can sentence the defendant to:
- up to one year in jail, and
- a fine of up to $1,000 after conviction,
- informal summary probation.
The court can sentence a defendant to misdemeanor probation as an alternative to jail. If the possession of a cane sword is charged as a felony by the prosecutor, then the court can sentence a defendant to:
- up to three years in prison, and
- a fine of up to $10,000 upon conviction,
- formal felony probation.
The court can sentence a defendant to felony probation as an alternative to jail or prison.
How Does a Conviction Affect Immigration Status?
A conviction for possessing a cane sword may affect your immigration status if you are a visa holder or a legal permanent resident. Under United States immigration law, certain offenses are considered crimes of moral turpitude or aggravated felonies.
Offenses of this nature can result in the removal or inadmissibility of immigrants. Individuals who are deemed inadmissible may be barred from entering the United States.
Can This Crime Be Expunged?
Yes, but only if the conviction is a misdemeanor. An expungement of a conviction for possessing a cane sword is possible under California Penal Code 1203.4 PC.
Possession of cane swords convictions is expungable only if they are misdemeanors, as felonies cannot be expunged under California law. If the case resulted in a felony conviction for possession of a cane sword, it is therefore not expungable in California.
What Are Some Related Offenses?
In California, several state criminal offenses are related to possessing cane swords. Common crimes include illegal acts with a switchblade, brass knuckles, Nunchucks, shobi-zue, a lipstick case knife, or shurikens. They are defined as:
- Penal Code 21510 PC – possession of a switchblade knife,
- Penal Code 21810 PC – possession of brass knuckles,
- Penal Code 22010 PC – possession of nunchucks,
- Penal Code 21110 PC – ballistic knife,
- Penal Code 20610 PC – lipstick case knife,
- Penal Code 20910 PC - writing pen knives,
- Penal Code 16470 PC – carrying a dirk or dagger,
- Penal Code 20410 PC – belt buckle knives,
- Penal Code 12556 PC - Imitation Firearms Law,
- Penal Code 22810 PC - unlawful use of tear gas,
- Penal Code 626.10 PC - weapons on school grounds,
- Penal Code 11418 PC - weapons of mass destruction,
- Penal Code 22610 PC - stun guns and tasers law,
- Penal Code 29800 PC - felon in possession of a firearm,
- Penal Code 20710 PC - possession of a shobi-zue. A shobi-zue is a pole with a knife concealed inside.
- Penal Code 22410 PC - possession of shurikens. Shurikens are sharp metal objects also known as throwing stars.
- Penal Code 14410 PC - possession of a cane gun.
All of the charges listed above are wobbler offenses that can result in up to one year in county jail and a fine of up to $1,000 if a misdemeanor charge, or three years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 if a felony charge.
What Defenses Are Available to a Cane Sword Charge?
Several defenses may be available to defend against possession of a cane sword charge. Common defenses for this charge include:
- The object used does not meet the statutory definition of a cane sword under Penal Code 16340 PC;
- The defendant did not possess a cane sword;
- The defendant is free from prosecution under Penal Code 20510 PC;
- The cane sword was illegally obtained by law enforcement; or
- The police forced or coerced confession.
If the police obtained evidence illegally, this evidence could be suppressed from the case by the judge after a defense motion. Evidence suppression can lead to case dismissal in many instances.
Likewise, if law enforcement used overzealous techniques to coerce a confession, we could use this misconduct as a legal defense. If we can prove you were coerced him into confessing, we may be able to get the charges dismissed.
If someone is free from prosecution, they cannot be prosecuted under California law for possessing a cane sword. Police cannot be prosecuted for the possession of a cane sword.
If you retain our law firm early in the case process, you increase the chances of a favorable outcome. For instance, perhaps we can negotiate with law enforcement and the prosecuting agency to persuade them not to file formal criminal charges in the first place.
The top-ranked Los Angeles-based criminal defense law firm of Eisner Gorin LLP serves people across Southern California. Call (877) 781-1570 or fill out the contact form to contact us for an initial case review.