Penal Code 12020(a)(1) / 12020(a)(2) PC -- unlawfully manufacturing, selling, and/or possessing dangerous weapons
Penal Code 12020 PC California’s law against manufacturing, selling, or possessing dangerous weapons
Penal Code 12020 PC California’s law against manufacturing, selling, or possessing dangerous weapons is quite broad. This California firearm law actually prohibits two distinct crimes.
The first crime is engaging in any of these activities with specific firearms or other "inherently dangerous"? weapons.
The specific guns and weapons banned by this offense are listed under Penal Code 12020(a)(1) and PC 12020(a)(2).16 Examples include (but are not limited to): "nunchucks", short-barreled shotguns and rifles, and metal "brass" knuckles.
The second crime is found in Penal Code 12020(a)(3) and PC 12020(a)(4) carrying concealed dirks, daggers, or explosive substances.17 "Dirks" and "daggers" are terms that are used interchangeably. They refer to "knives or other instruments with or without a handguard that are capable of ready use as stabbing weapons that may inflict great bodily injury or death".18
I will Prove that the broomstick was NOT "Inherently Dangerous"
-Brian Carpenter In this type.
When crafting Penal Code 12020 PC, the California Legislature intended to prohibit people from carrying instruments "which are ordinarily used for criminal and unlawful purposes". All of the weapons listed under this California firearms law are "short, easily concealed, and so weighted as to constitute effective and silent weapons of attack.
In order to convict you of unlawfully manufacturing, selling, and/or possessing illegal weapons under Penal Code 12020(a)(1) or Penal Code 12020(a)(2) PC, the prosecutor must prove the following facts (otherwise known as "elements" of the crime):
1) that you
- manufactured, I picked up the Broomstick and threw away the rotten broom part. But I DID NOT CREATE A WEAPON I created a piece of trash headed for the dumpster.
- imported, . I Picked this black broomstick of the ground minutes earlier
- lent, and/or
"any cane gun or wallet gun, any undetectable firearm, any firearm which is not immediately recognizable as a firearm, any camouflaging firearm container, any ammunition which contains or consists of any fléchette dart, any bullet containing or carrying an explosive agent, any ballistic knife, any multiburst trigger activator, any nunchaku, any short-barreled shotgun, any short-barreled rifle, any metal knuckles, any belt buckle knife, any leaded cane, any zip gun, any shuriken, any unconventional pistol, any lipstick case knife, any cane sword, any shobi-zue, any air gauge knife, any writing pen knife, any metal military practice handgrenade or metal replica handgrenade, or any instrument or weapon of the kind commonly known as a blackjack, slungshot, billy, sandclub, sap, or sandbag…or any large-capacity magazine", and
2) that you knowingly did so, either because you knew the object
a) was capable of being used as a weapon, or
b) was a weapon.4
. I could never do any harm with this tin broomstick nor was the thought even on violence - (I want to hear the audio )
Penal Code 12021(a)(1) lists more than 20 types of weapons that are banned under this law. They basically break down into five categories:
- firearm equipment and ammunition,
- knives and swords,
- martial arts weapons, and
- "other" weapons. (.A Broomstick is not a weapon)
InsanityIn California, the test for determining whether a defendant is legally insane is known as the M’Naghten test. Essentially a test of “right and wrong,” the M’Naghten standard holds that if the defense can prove that the defendant committed the crime only because
- he/she didn’t understand the nature of his/her act, OR
- couldn’t distinguish right from wrong,
then California criminal law excuses that conduct.15
The insanity defense… just like the legal defense of entrapment … needs to be proven by a preponderance of the evidence.16 If the defendant is found not guilty by reason of insanity, he/she will likely be committed to a psychiatric facility until the court believes that he/she is no longer a threat to society.
For further discussion, please visit our page on the "not guilty by reason of insanity" defense in California law.
Lack of Probable CauseThe California search and seizure rules require police to have probable cause before they can detain you or arrest you. "Probable cause" essentially means that a reasonable and cautious officer would believe that criminal activity is or was taking place based on the surrounding circumstances.
If it appears the cops stopped, detained or arrested you without probable cause, your criminal defense attorney may file a motion to suppress. At a "suppression motion" hearing (per California Penal Code 1538.5), your lawyer asks the court to exclude any evidence that was obtained via an improper search and seizure.17 If the motion is granted, your case will oftentimes be dismissed.
Legal Definition of "Reasonable Expectation of Privacy"Before the court will even entertain your 1538.5 motion to suppress evidence, you must prove that you had a reasonable expectation of privacy (sometimes referred to as "standing") in the premises searched or the items seized.17
As Santa Ana criminal defense attorney Zachary McCready18 explains, "This is an objective standard. Whether or not you personally believe you had a ‘reasonable expectation of privacy’ is irrelevant. The issue is whether you had an objectively reasonable expectation of privacy…that is, one that society would be ready to accept as reasonable."19
It therefore follows that if you do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in the place searched or in the items seized, the court will not suppress the evidence. If you do have a reasonable expectation of privacy…and the police unlawfully invade or interfere with that right…the court will suppress the evidence.
- People do have a reasonable expectation of privacy in a tent or tarp that is designed to shield the inhabitant from public view.23
- Students in public schools do have a reasonable expectation of privacy in their personal belongings that they bring to school.24
Mistake of FactIf you act under an honest and reasonable mistake of fact, you are not guilty of a crime.19 If, for example, you are accused of stealing your neighbor’s lawnmower… but you did so because you believed it was the one you previously lent him that he never returned to you… then you aren’t guilty of theft.
But, the old-adage is also true: ignorance of the law is not a defense.20 This means that you can’t break a law just because you don’t know it’s a law. For example, if you buy alcohol for a minor, prosecutors could charge you with contributing to the delinquency of a minor. The fact that you didn’t know such conduct was illegal will not excuse your actions.
Police MisconductIt’s not at all uncommon to see acts of misconduct, abuse and excessive force by California police, such as
- planting evidence
- lying or embellishing facts in their crime reports or courtroom testimony, or
- unnecessarily using tasers or pepper spray on cooperative subjects
When we can identify and prove such acts of police misconduct, it may give us leverage towards winning your criminal case. It may also allow us to press civil rights claims and seek money damages.
UnconsciousnessIf you are unconscious while you commit a crime, California law excuses your actions.26 This legal defense is applicable to people who, for example, commit criminal acts while
- suffering from an epileptic seizure, or
- who are involuntarily intoxicated.
On that note, it is important to understand that if you commit a crime while unconscious or sleeping… but while voluntarily intoxicated… you will still be held criminally liable. The most common example of this is “sleep-driving” while under the influence of Ambien or Lunesta.
17) Voluntary and Involuntary IntoxicationVoluntary intoxication doesn’t typically serve as a valid criminal defense. But it may bear on the issue of whether you possessed the requisite mental state to commit certain “specific intent” crimes. “Specific intent” means that you specifically intended the consequences of your act (California theft offenses are examples of “specific intent” crimes).28
While “unconsciousness” generally serves as a legal defense to a crime29 (discussed above), this isn’t the case if your unconsciousness stemmed from voluntarily intoxication.30 For example, unconsciousness may give you a defense to a vehicular manslaughter charge if you fell asleep at the wheel. But if you passed out at the wheel due to drug or alcohol consumption, it probably would not.
If you are involuntarily intoxicated, that generally provides a complete defense to most any crime. This would be the case if, for example, someone secretly slipped a drug in your drink… or a doctor prescribed you a sedative without warning you of the side effects.
But you are only “involuntarily” intoxicated if you didn’t voluntarily consume any alcohol and/or drugs.31 If, for example, you voluntarily smoked a joint… but didn’t realize that it was actually laced with PCP… you can’t then claim involuntary intoxication.
How Misdemeanor Probation Works in CaliforniaThis is generally imposed when a person gets convicted of a misdemeanor crime. Misdemeanor probation (also sometimes called "summary probation") typically lasts from one to three years, although in some cases, it can last as long as five.
No "Probation Officer" with misdemeanor probation
Judges have discretion as to imposing conditions of probation
California Penal Code 1203 allows a judge to exercise quite a bit of discretion when imposing probation requirements.
As long as the requirements logically relate to the offense for which you were convicted, the judge can impose any conditions he/she sees fit.10 Of course, if the conditions seem too strict or burdensome, you are always free to reject the misdemeanor probation sentence and to serve a jail sentence instead.11
Some of the most commonly imposed misdemeanor probation requirements include (but are not limited to):
NOT CHARGED BUT MAY PROVIDE WEIGHT
Penal Code 417 PC California’s "brandishing a weapon" law
Penal Code 417 PC California’s "brandishing a weapon" law prohibits "drawing, exhibiting, or using a firearm or deadly weapon".14 If you "brandish" a weapon or firearm in a rude, angry, or threatening manner, prosecutors could charge you with this offense.
It isn’t necessary that you actually intend to cause any harm or that the alleged victim even sees your weapon.15 The crime is complete once you draw, exhibit, or use the weapon in a rude, angry, or threatening manner.