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Penal Code 22010 PC – California Law re: Nunchakus (“Nunchuks”)

Posted by Neil Shouse | Jul 30, 2018 | 0 Comments


Penal Code 22010 PC
is the California statute that makes it a crime for a person to do any of the following with nunchakus (commonly referred to as “nunchuks” or “karate sticks”):

  • make,
  • import,
  • sell,
  • give, or
  • possess them.

A "nunchaku" is a traditional martial arts weapon consisting of two rods or sticks connected at one end by a short chain or rope.

PC 22010 states:

“Except as provided in Section 22015 and 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 nunchaku is punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year or imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170.”

Examples of illegal acts under this statute include:

  • Juan goes to a concert with a pair of karate sticks hidden in his backpack.
  • Angel makes a pair of nunchakus using items she purchased from a hardware store.
  • Maurice buys a few sets of nunchuks in Oregon, puts them into his car, and drives into California.

Defenses

Luckily, there are several legal defenses that a person can raise if accused of a crime under Penal Code 22010. These include showing that an accused party:

  • did not have a “nunchuk;”
  • is free from prosecution; and/or,
  • was arrested following an unlawful search and seizure.

Penalties

A violation of PC 22010 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.

If 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.

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

nunchucks
Nunchaku, also commonly known as "nunchucks"

1. What is prohibited under Penal Code 22010 PC?

Penal Code 22010 is the California statute that makes it a crime for a person to do any of the following with nunchakus:

  • make,
  • import,
  • sell,
  • give, or
  • possess them.1

Nunchakus are commonly referred to as “nunchuks” or “karate sticks.”2

These objects are traditional martial arts weapons consisting of two rods or sticks connected at one end by a short chain or rope.

Please note that karate sticks are also prohibited under California Penal Code 16590, or California's statute on generally prohibited weapons.3 This statute lists several weapons/objects that are generally prohibited in the State of California. Nunchuks are one such type of weapon, specifically banned under PC 16590(r).4

2. Legal Defenses

A person accused under Penal Code 22010 can challenge the accusation by raising a legal defense. A good defense can work to reduce or even dismiss a charge.

Three common defenses to PC 22010 accusations are:

  1. no “nunchakus;”
  2. free from prosecution; and/or,
  3. unlawful search and seizure.

2.1. No nunchuk

Note that Penal Code 22010 only applies to karate sticks. This means that it is a valid legal defense for an accused to say that, while he may have committed an illegal act with a weapon, he did so with an object that was not a “nunchuk.”

2.2. Free from prosecution

Please note that certain people are free from prosecution under Penal Code 22010. For example, members of law enforcement agencies may sell, transfer, or possess these objects. It is a defense, therefore, for a defendant to show that he falls into one of these exempted categories.

In addition, PC 22010 does not apply to schools holding a regulatory or business license if:

  • the school teaches the art of self-defense, and
  • the nunchuks are kept on the school's premises.5

2.3. Unlawful search and seizure

The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution declares that we have the right to be free from unreasonable “searches and seizures” by law enforcement. If authorities obtain evidence from an unreasonable, or unlawful search and seizure, then that evidence can get excluded from a criminal case. This means that any charges in the case could get reduced or even dismissed.

man 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 22010 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 $1,000.6

Note that in lieu of jail time, a judge may award a defendant with misdemeanor (or summary) probation.

If a PC 22010 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 $10,000.7

Note that in lieu of jail time, a judge may award a defendant with felony (or formal) probation.

4. Related Offenses

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

  1. illegal acts with a shobi-zue – PC 20710;
  2. illegal acts with a ballistic knife – PC 21110; and,
  3. illegal acts with a cane gun – PC 24410.

4.1. Illegal acts with a shobi-zue – PC 20710

Penal Code 20710 PC is the California statute that makes it a crime for a person to make, import, sell, give, or possess a shobi-zue.8

A “shobu-zue” is a pole with a knife hidden in it.

A violation of PC 20710 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.

If a PC 20710 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.

4.2. Illegal acts with a ballistic knife – PC 21110

Penal Code 21110 PC is the California statute that makes it a crime for a person to make, import, sell, give, or possess a ballistic knife.9

A violation of PC 21110 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.

If a PC 21110 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.

4.3. Illegal acts with a cane gun – PC 24410

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.”10

A violation of PC 24410 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.

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.

Were you accused of committing a crime with nunchakus in California? Call us for help…

nunchuck attorneys
Call us for help at (855) LAW-FIRM

If you or someone you know has been accused of a crime under Penal Code 22010 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 22010 PC. This code section states: “Except as provided in Section 22015 and 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 nunchaku is punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year or imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170.”

  2. For a reference to “karate sticks,” please see Miranda v. Arizona (1966), 384 U.S. 436.

  3. California Penal Code 16590(r) PC.

  4. See same.

  5. California Penal Code 22015 PC.

  6. California Penal Code 19 PC.

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

  8. California Penal Code 20710.

  9. California Penal Code 21110 PC.

  10. California Penal Code 24410 PC.

About the Author

Neil Shouse

Southern California DUI Defense attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT).

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