Review of California Penal Code 22010 PC
Nunchucks are a martial arts weapon made up of two metal or wood sticks connected by a short piece of rope or chain. Commonly known as nunchakus, this traditional weapon was first made famous in American pop culture as the weapon of choice for Michelangelo of the popular movie and television series ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.'
Nunchucks, also called nunchakus, are illegal in California under Penal Code 22010 PC, which states that it is a criminal offense to manufacture, sell, or possess them. Some examples of what would be considered illegal include:
- Carrying a pair of nunchucks in a bag walking down the street,
- Buying two metal rods and a chain at a store and building a pair of nunchucks at home,
- Buying a pair of nunchucks in a state where they are legal and bringing them back to California.
Nunchucks are also known as karate sticks and are specifically banned in California under the state's statute on generally prohibited weapons found within California Penal Code 16590 PC.
Penal Code 22010 PC states: “anyone in this state who manufactures or causes to be manufactured, imports into the state, keeps for sale, or offers or exposes for sale, or who gives, lends, or possesses any nunchaku is punishable by county jail imprisonment not exceeding one year or imprisonment under subdivision (h) of Section 1170.”
In this article by our Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys, we will take a closer look at this law below.
What are the Potential Penalties for a Nunchucks Conviction?
Possession of nunchakus is known as a wobbler offense. A wobbler is a type of criminal charge in California that can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony offense, depending on the circumstances.
Most criminal charges are either a misdemeanor or a felony charge; wobblers are unique in that they can be either. If an alleged act of possessing nunchakus is charged as a misdemeanor, then a conviction can carry:
- up to one year in the county jail,
- a maximum fine of up to $1,000, and
- informal summary probation.
- up to three years in California state prison,
- a maximum possible fine of $10,000, and
- formal felony probation.
Likewise, the presiding judge can also sentence a defendant to felony probation instead of jail or prison time.
How Does a Conviction Affect Immigration Status?
A conviction for possession of a pair of nunchucks may affect your immigration status if you are not a United States citizen.
Convictions for crimes that are considered crimes of moral turpitude or aggravated felonies can result in an individual's removal (deportation) or inadmissibility. If an individual is deemed inadmissible, they will not be able to enter the United States at a port of entry.
Can this Crime Be Expunged?
Yes, in certain circumstances. An expungement for a conviction for the possession of nunchucks is possible under California law at Penal Code 1203.4 PC. This conviction can only be expunged if a misdemeanor because felonies cannot be expunged in California.
What Are Some Related Offenses?
In California, several state crimes are related to the possession of nunchakus. The related crimes include illegal acts with a shobi-zue, ballistic knife, cane gun, etc. They are defined as follows:
- Penal Code 21510 PC – possession of a switchblade,
- Penal Code 21810 PC – possession of brass knuckles,
- Penal Code 21110 PC – ballistic knife law,
- Penal Code 20910 PC - writing pen knives,
- Penal Code 22210 PC – possession of a baton,
- Penal Code 20610 PC – lipstick case knife law,
- Penal Code 16470 PC – carrying a dirk or dagger,
- Penal Code 20410 PC – belt buckle knives law,
- Penal Code 12556 PC - Imitation Firearms Law,
- Penal Code 24410 PC – possession of a cane gun,
- 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 33600 PC - possession of a zip gun,
- Penal Code 415 PC – disturbing the peace,
- Penal Code 647(f) PC – public intoxication,
- Penal Code 243(d) PC – aggravated battery,
- 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.
These related offenses are wobbler offenses that can result in up to one year in county jail, a fine of up to $1,000 if charged as a misdemeanor, three years in prison, and a fine of up to $10,000 if charged as a felony.
What Defenses Are Available for a Penal Code 22010 PC Charge?
A few defenses can exist for possession of a nunchucks charge. The most common defenses for this type of charge include:
- The nunchucks are not karate sticks under the statutory definition;
- The defendant was not in possession of nunchucks;
- The defendant is free from prosecution under PC 22010;
- The nunchucks or other related evidence were illegally obtained by law enforcement; or
- Violations of Constitutional rights by law enforcement.
If the police obtained any evidence during an invalid search, then suppression of the evidence can be obtained by motion. If the evidence is suppressed in your case, it could lead to the dismissal of your charge.
Further, if law enforcement used improper techniques to coerce a confession, we might be able to exploit this police misconduct as a legal defense. If we can prove you were coerced into confessing, the judge could dismiss the case.
If someone is free from prosecution, they are a member of a class of people that are allowed to possess a pair of nunchucks. Examples of free people from prosecution include police officers and teachers at self-defense schools.
If our law firm is retained early in the case process, you increase the chances of a favorable case outcome. For example, it might be possible to negotiate with law enforcement and the prosecutor to avoid the formal filing of criminal charges.
Eisner Gorin LLP is top-rated criminal defense lawyers based in Los Angeles County. We provide legal representation for people charged with a crime across Southern California. You can reach out to us for an initial case consultation by calling (310) 328-3776 or filling out the contact form.