Penal Code 20310 PC – California Law re: “Air Gauge Knife”

California Penal Code 20310 PC is the California statute that makes it a crime for a person to make, import, sell, give, or possess an “air gauge knife,” or “AGK.”

A “AGK” is an object that:

  • looks like or resembles an air gauge; and,
  • has a knife concealed inside it.

Examples of illegal acts under PC 20310 include:

  • Patel has an air gauge knife and he gives it to his friend Lucy.
  • Lucy takes the AGK from Patel and stores it in her garage.
  • Marco buys an air gun knife in Oregon, puts it in his car, and drives into California.

Luckily, there are several legal defenses that a person can raise if accused of a crime under Penal Code 20310. These include showing that an accused party:

  • did not have an “AGK;”
  • is free from prosecution; and/or,
  • acted out of necessity.

Penalties

A violation of PC 20310 is a wobbler offense under California law. This means it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony.

Either charge is punishable by:

  • imprisonment in the county jail; and/or,
  • a significant fine.

Our California criminal defense attorneys will highlight the following in this article:

air gauge knife
An air gauge knife looks like or resembles an air gauge; and, has a knife concealed inside it.

1. The legal definition of an air gauge knife and what is prohibited under Penal Code 20310

California Penal Code 20310 is California's statute that makes it a crime for a person to make, import, sell, give, or possess an AGK.1

According to California Penal Code 16140, an “AGK” is an object that:

  • looks like or resembles an air gauge; and,
  • has a knife concealed inside it.2

Please note that AGKs are also prohibited under California Penal Code 16590, or California's statute on generally prohibited weapons.3

2. Legal Defenses

A person accused under Penal Code 20310 can challenge the accusation by raising a legal defense.

Three common defenses to PC 20310 accusations are:

  1. no “air gauge knife;”
  2. free from prosecution; and/or,
  3. necessity

2.1 No air gauge knife

Please recall that Penal Code 16140 provides a specific definition of what an AGK is. This means that it is a valid legal defense for an accused to say that while he may have committed an illegal act under PC 20310, he did so with an object that was not a “air gauge knife.”

2.2 Free from prosecution

Please note that certain people are free from prosecution for committing certain acts with an AGK. For example, members of law enforcement agencies may sell, transfer, or possess these weapons. It is a defense, therefore, for a defendant to show that he falls into one of these exempted categories.

2.3 Necessity

Under a necessity defense, a defendant essentially tries to avoid guilt by showing that he had a sufficiently good reason to commit the crime.4 In the context of an illegal act with an air gauge knife, an accused could attempt to show that he committed a crime since he had no other choice (e.g., because of an emergency).

biker behind bars
A violation of this law can result in a fine and/or jail time

3. Penalties, Punishment, and Sentencing

A violation of PC 20310 is a wobbler offense under California law. This means it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony.

If charged as a misdemeanor, the crime is punishable by:

  • imprisonment in the county jail for up to one year; and/or,
  • a maximum fine of $1,000.5

If a PC 24410 violation is charged as a felony, the offense is punishable by:

  • imprisonment in a county jail for up to three years; and/or,
  • a maximum fine of $10,000.6

4. Related Offenses

There are three crimes related to illegal acts with AGKs. These are:

  1. illegal acts with ballistic knives – PC 21110;
  2. illegal acts with belt buckle knives – PC 20410; and,
  3. illegal acts with a cane gun – PC 24410.

4.1. Illegal acts with ballistic knives – PC 21110

California Penal Code 21110 is California's statute that makes it a crime for a person to make, import, sell, give, or possess a ballistic knife.

A violation of PC 21110 is a wobbler offense under California law. This means it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the facts of a case.

Either charge is punishable by:

  • imprisonment in the county jail; and/or,
  • a significant fine.7

4.2. Illegal acts with belt buckle knives – PC 20410

California Penal Code 20410 PC is the California statute that makes it a crime for a person to make, import, sell, give, or possess a belt buckle knife.

A violation of PC 20410 is a wobbler offense under California law. This means it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the facts of a case.

Either charge is punishable by:

  • imprisonment in the county jail; and/or,
  • a significant fine.8

4.3. Illegal acts with a cane gun – PC 24410

California Penal Code 24410 PC is the California statute that makes it a crime for a person to make, import, sell, give, or possess a cane gun.

A violation of PC 24410 is a wobbler offense under California law. This means it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the facts of a case.

Either charge is punishable by:

  • imprisonment in the county jail; and/or,
  • a significant fine.9

Were you accused of committing an illegal act with an air gauge knife in California? Call us for help…

california motorcycle criminal defense attorneys
Call us for help at (855) LAW-FIRM

If you or someone you know has been accused of a crime under Penal Code 20310 PC, we invite you to contact us for a free consultation. We can be reached 24/7 at 855-LawFirm.


Legal References:

  1. California Penal Code 20310 PC. This code section states: “Except as provided in Chapter 1 (commencing with Section 17700 ) of Division 2 of Title 2, any person 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 air gauge knife is punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year or imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 .”

  2. California Penal Code 16140 PC.

  3. California Penal Code 16590(a) PC.

  4. See, e.g., Judicial Council of California Criminal Jury Instructions ("CALCRIM") 3403.

  5. California Penal Code 20310 PC.

  6. See same. See also California Penal Code 1170(h) PC.

  7. California Penal Code 21110 PC.

  8. California Penal Code 20410 PC.

  9. California Penal Code 24410 PC.

Free attorney consultations...

Our attorneys want to hear your side of the story. Contact us 24/7 to schedule a FREE consultation with a criminal defense lawyer. We may be able to get your charges reduced or even dismissed altogether. And if necessary, we will champion your case all the way to trial.

Regain peace of mind...

Shouse Law Defense Group has multiple locations throughout California. Click Office Locations to find out which office is right for you.

Office Locations

Shouse Law Group has multiple locations all across California, Nevada, and Colorado. Click Office Locations to find out which office is right for you.

To contact us, please select your state:

Call us 24/7 (855) 396-0370