California Penal Code 22210 - Batons

Batons are not common weapons usually carried around by civilians. There are usually two types of professionals that are generally permitted to carry batons - law enforcement and security guards. Facing charges for violating California’s baton laws should not be easily brushed off. This offense is not considered an infraction that carries simple consequences. If charged, you could face misdemeanor or felony punishments.

Attempting to face this offense without help can be overwhelming. One of the best things you can do is find an effective criminal defense attorney to fight on your behalf. With the right legal help, the charges could be reduced or dismissed.

For a deeper understanding of what this law entails, let’s take a look at how California defines it.

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Defining California’s Baton Laws

California details baton laws under Penal Code 22210 which prohibit the possession of batons or leaded canes. More specifically, this law makes it a crime to:

  • Manufacture, distribute, sell, or possess;
    • This includes giving, importing, making, trading, lending, or sharing.
  • A leaded weapon; and
    • Such as a baton, cane, crutch, billy club, slungshot, nightstick, sap, sandbag, blackjack, rod, mini-baseball bat, stick, or staff.
    • Any object that is unnaturally weighted down with material such as lead, cement, or other heavily dense compounds is also covered under this law.
  • This instrument can be used as a deadly weapon against another person and can cause serious bodily injury or death.

Associated Offenses

The following is a list of offenses similar to California’s baton laws. Getting charged with more than one offense could result in the punishments being compounded. This means steeper fines and longer incarceration times.  

California PC 16590 - possession of prohibited weapons;

Any possession, manufacturing, distribution, or selling of generally prohibited weapons is a crime.

California PC 21810 - possession of brass knuckles;

This statute prohibits the import, possession, selling, trading, or manufacturing of brass knuckles, metal knuckles, or similar composite knuckles.

California PC 21310 - carrying concealed dirks or daggers;

You commit this crime when you carry a concealed dirk, dagger, or long thrusting knife that can be used as a stabbing instrument to seriously injure or kill someone.

California PC 20710 - unlawful possession of a shobi-zue;

This law prohibits the sale, manufacture, import, possession, trade, sharing or use of a shobi-zue. This object is a pole or a stick with a knife inside it.

California PC 240 - assault;

This crime is committed when you unlawfully attempt to violently attack another person, possibly causing them physical injury or serious mental anguish.

California PC 242 - battery;

You commit this crime when you willfully or unlawfully use physical force or violence on another person.

California PC 422 - criminal threats;

Threatening to cause great bodily injury or to kill another person or to threaten to hurt or kill that person’s immediate family members is a crime under this law.

What The Prosecution Must Do

Before the prosecution can get a conviction they must first prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the elements of the crime. These elements are also referred to as the facts of the case, which are:

  • You either manufactured, possessed, distributed, sold, made, imported, gave, shared, or traded,
  • A weighted instrument such as a leaded baton, nightstick, staff, sap, mini-bat, weighted cane, crutch, or rod, and
  • This object can be used as a deadly weapon against another person.

Any small hand-held object that has been unnaturally weighted down can be considered a prohibited weapon under this law. The prosecution can still charge you with PC 22210, batons even if you do not think the object in your possession is a baton or similar to it.

For instance, if you were found with a PVC pipe filled with cement or a sand-filled soda bottle and both are capable of bludgeoning another human being, the prosecution could pursue a PC 22210 batons offense against you.

Who Can Be Charged

There are instances where PC 22210 batons offense is obvious, however, there are also unique situations that you may not be aware of. The following illustrates both simple and complex scenes that can lead to being charged with violating California’s baton laws.

Example 1:

Don ordered a shipment of mini-baseball bats that transitioned into flashlights. He put them up for sale on his social media account and drove around with them for delivery. He promoted them as sturdy flashlights, light-weight baseball bats, and self-defense weapons. Even detailing that adding batteries can make them deadlier.

When Don pulled into an am/pm a couple of police officers noticed the box of mini-bats. They questioned him, asking what the box of bats was for. He replied they were excellent flashlight bats that also served as self-defense protection. He went on to ask if they would be interested in buying one. 

If he simply answered that the mini-bats were flashlights and left it at that he would not be guilty of breaking any laws. However, he also admitted they can be used in a deadly manner as a bludgeon. Offering to sell a club or sap is strictly prohibited, even if the customers are law enforcement. Don could face a PC 22210 batons offense for the possession and sale of handheld, weighted weapons. He may also face multiple counts for every sale he made, depending on whether he promoted them as flashlights or self-defense weapons.

Example 2:

Sarah was working out at the park when a couple of guys stopped and watched her. She asked them to stop watching her. Instead, they just moved a little farther away and continued to watch her from a park bench. She had a fifty-pound weight vest with her. The vest had ten pockets and each pocket had a five-pound sandbag in it. Annoyed that she had an audience while working out in a public park, she pulled out a couple of sandbags. She asked them to leave the park. When they refused she waved the sandbags around, threatening to beat them. They ignored her. She aggressively approached them and attempted to hit one of them with a five-pound sandbag.

Possessing a weight vest with 10-inch sandbags in them is not illegal. However, she chose to use the sandbags for a violent purpose. Sarah could face charges for PC 22210. Although the men were staring at her, she was in a public park where there is no privacy and people-watching is not illegal. She could also face assault charges under PC 240 for attempting to violently attack someone using a weighted weapon.

Example 3:

Billy-Rae was part of a motorcycle club and as a member, you had to carry a weapon on your bike. On the side of his motorcycle, he had a billy-club. He also had a set of brass knuckles disguised as a chain-necklace tucked into his shirt. He pulled into a gas station where a couple of police officers were getting coffee.

They noticed the club on the bike and Billy-Rae was charged with unlawful possession of a billy club under PC 22210. Also, wearing a prohibited weapon as a fashion statement is not a legal defense. It’s a crime to possess brass knuckles and he could face charges under PC 21810 for his poorly disguised necklace.

Example 4:

Lester was in a feud with his neighbor, Ron over where the property lines were. The police had been called several times over the arguments which were loud enough to disturb the peace. One day, Lester ripped out one of Ron’s rose bushes, claiming it was on his property. Ron answered this action by trimming Lester’s well-manicured hedges.

Their anger escalated. Lester filled an empty soda can and a 2-liter soda bottle with gravel and sand, then sealed them shut with duct-tape. Ron dug out some PVC pipes from his garage and filled them with clay, also using duct-tape to seal the ends. With home-made weapons in-hand, they stood in their driveways verbally threatening each other. Neighbors heard the loud yelling and called the police. Lester and Ron moved onto the sidewalk, toward the street, edging closer to each other and threatening to beat one another. They attempted to hit each other with their makeshift weapons but kept on missing.

Police officers arrived before any physical injuries took place and charged both men with PC 22210 for possessing unnaturally weighted objects that they attempted to use as deadly bludgeoning weapons. They would also be facing PC 240 assault and PC 415 disturbing the peace charges for attempting to fight in the street.

Legal Defense

Several common defenses have been used to help fight PC 22210, baton charges. An expert criminal defense lawyer who is familiar with this law will understand what defensive route would produce the best possible outcome.

Retaining the right criminal defense attorney could make a difference in potentially avoiding maximum penalties. Here are just some examples of legal defenses that have been used to successfully fight charges for baton violations.

Was it a baton or weighted object?

If you possessed an object that is not considered a baton or a similar weapon, you should not be guilty of PC 22210.

For instance, Shawna received a pair of forearm length lightweight batons for her birthday. As a dancer, she was thrilled to use them in her performances. She wanted to add tassels to the ends and practice her dancing routines with them. She put them in her purse and headed to the craft store in the mall. They tended to stick out of the corners of the bag and were easily noticeable. Mall security stopped her and reported her to the police for PC 21810 possessing batons.

In this case, Shawna’s defense lawyer was able to fight these accusations. They proved the batons were lighter than standard batons and Shawna was able to prove they were props for her profession. The fact that she was headed to the craft store for tassels helped support those facts.

Did you have a legal permit for possessing a baton?

If you had an approved permit to carry or use a baton then you should not be guilty of PC 22210. However, there is a specific set of criteria that must be met to obtain a permit for carrying or using a baton. Aside from members of law enforcement, security guards are able to possess a baton. They must be at least eighteen years old, have valid registration as a security guard, attend Bureau certified baton training classes, and pay the required fees. Once these steps are fulfilled and they are approved for a permit to carry and use a baton, they can only use it while they are on duty as a security guard.

For instance, Lando was a security guard at the Marriot. He had obtained a legal permit to carry and use a baton. He was on his way to work the night shift when he stopped at a 7/11. Forgetting to remove his baton from his utility belt, he entered the convenience store where two officers were making coffee. They noticed the weapon right away and quickly arrested him for unlawfully possessing a baton. Even when he told them he was a security guard, they continued to bring him in claiming he was off-duty while carrying it.

In this case, Lando was permitted to have a baton for his profession and his criminal defense lawyer was able to get the charges dropped. They successfully argued that a security guard who was on their way to work and has a legal permit to carry a baton is exempt from prosecution under this statute. 

Penalties for PC 22210 - Batons

This crime is considered a wobbler in California. This means the prosecution can choose to pursue misdemeanor or felony charges. It all depends on the details of your case and your criminal background history.

If you are charged with a misdemeanor you face;

As long as one year in county jail, and/or

Fines of up to one thousand dollars.

If charged as a felony you face;

A potential three years in county jail, and/or

As much as ten thousand dollars in fines.

It is at the judges’ discretion to award either summary (informal) probation or felony (formal) probation instead of jail time.

Enhanced Penalties

If you are charged with felony PC 22210, it will impact your gun rights. California has a strict felon with a firearm law PC 29800. This law stipulates that your right to own a gun is permanently withdrawn if you are convicted of a felony.

Penalties For Associated Offenses

If you are facing multiple charges the penalties for each crime are combined. This means you could face more jail time to be served consecutively and/or increased fines. Finding the right legal defense attorney should be a priority as soon as you are charged with PC 22210 or any of the similar offenses below.

California PC 16590 - possession of prohibited weapons;

Misdemeanor;

County jail sentence for up to one year, and/or

Up to one thousand dollars in fines.

Felony;

As long as three years in county jail, and/or

As much as ten thousand dollars in fines.

California PC 21810 - possession of brass knuckles;

Misdemeanor;

As long as one year in county jail, and/or

Possible fines of up to one thousand dollars.

Felony;

As long as three years in county jail, and/or

Maximum fines of up to ten thousand dollars.

California PC 21310 - carrying concealed dirks or daggers;

Misdemeanor;

Summary (informal) probation,

Possible one year sentence in county jail, and/or

Fines of up to one thousand dollars.

Felony;

Formal (felony) probation,

A potential county jail sentence of up to three years, and/or

As much as ten thousand dollars in fines.

California PC 20710 - unlawful possession of a shobi-zue;

Misdemeanor;

As long as one year in county jail, and/or

Fines of up to one thousand dollars.

Felony:

A possible county jail sentence of up to three years, and/or

Maximum fines of up to ten thousand dollars.

California PC 240 - assault;

Misdemeanor;

Summary (informal) probation,

A possible county jail sentence of up to six months, and/or

A potential fine of up to one thousand dollars.

California PC 242 - battery;

Misdemeanor;

Summary probation,

As long as six months in county jail, and/or

Potential fines of up to two thousand dollars.

California PC 422 - criminal threats;

Misdemeanor;

A possible county jail sentence of one year, and

Potential fines of up to one thousand dollars.

Felony;

A California state prison sentence of up to three years, and

As much as ten thousand dollars in fines.

We Can Help

Are you or a loved one facing a PC 22210, batons offense? If you are located in the greater San Diego area, Los Angeles or Orange County contact the Law Offices of Anna R. Yum as soon as you can. Attorney Yum understands how difficult it can be to defend yourself while trying to maintain control of your life. Stay ahead of the prosecution by getting the right criminal defense attorney today.

For more information on this or related laws, don’t hesitate to speak with one of our representatives. Call us at 619-233-4433 for a no-obligation, free consultation. You can also use our online contact form.

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