Penal Code 20410
(Belt Buckle Knife)

Penal Code 20410 PC is the California statute that applies to belt buckle knives (“BBKs”), or knives that make up an essential part of a belt buckle.

Under this code section, it is a crime for a person to do any of the following with BBKs:

  • manufacture them;
  • import them into California;
  • sell, give, or lend them; and/or,
  • possess them.

Examples of illegal acts under PC 20410 include:

  • Robert purchases a belt buckle knife in Oregon, puts it in his car, and drives into California.
  • Luis agrees to store his girlfriend's BBK in his apartment.
  • Chantel makes a BBK out of scrap metal.

Luckily, there are several legal defenses that a person can raise if accused of a crime under Penal Code 20410. These include showing that an accused party:

  • did not have a “belt buckle knife;”
  • is free from prosecution; and/or,
  • was arrested after a coerced confession.

Penalties

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.

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 the 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:

california belt buckle knife law
California Penal Code 20410 PC is the California statute that applies to belt buckle knives (“BBKs”), or knives that make up an essential part of a belt buckle.

1. The legal definition of a BBK and what is prohibited under Penal Code 20410

California Penal Code 20410 is California's statute governing belt buckle knives. According to this code section, it is a crime if any person does the following with a BBK:

  • manufactures or makes one,
  • imports one into California,
  • sells, gives, or lends one, and/or
  • possesses one.1

California Penal Code 16260 says that a “belt buckle knife” is:

“a knife that is made an integral part of a belt buckle and consists of a blade with a length of at least two and one-half inches.”2

Please note that BBKs are also prohibited under California Penal Code 16590, or California's statute on generally prohibited weapons. This statute lists several weapons/objects that are generally prohibited in the State of California. Belt buckle knives are one such type of weapon, specifically banned under PC 16590(d).3

Examples of other prohibited weapons include:

  • concealed daggers;
  • wallet guns; and,
  • metal knuckles.4

2. Legal Defenses

A person accused under Penal Code 20410 can challenge the accusation by raising a legal defense. A good defense can often get a charge reduced or even dismissed. Please note, though, that it is critical for an accused to hire a criminal defense attorney to get the most effective defense.

Three common defenses to PC 20410 accusations are:

  1. no “belt buckle knife;”
  2. free from prosecution; and/or,
  3. coerced confession.

2.1. No BBK

Please recall that Penal Code 16260 provides a specific definition of what a BBK 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 20410, he did so with a weapon that was not a “belt buckle knife.”

2.2. Free from prosecution

Please note that certain people are free from prosecution for committing certain acts with a belt buckle knife. For example, members of law enforcement agencies may sell, transfer, or possess BBKs. The same holds true for some antique dealers. It is a defense, therefore, for a defendant to show that he falls into one of these exempted categories.

2.3. Coerced confession

This defense applies to the situation where a defendant was charged under Penal Code 20410 following a confession.

California law states that police may not use overbearing measures to coerce a confession.

If a party can show that the police coerced him into a confession, then:

  1. the judge may exclude the confession from evidence; or,
  2. the case could get dropped altogether if the party got pressured into confessing to a crime he didn't commit.
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 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.

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

Please note that in lieu of jail time a judge may order a defendant to misdemeanor probation. This is also called “summary” or “informal” probation.

If a PC 24710 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

Note that in lieu of jail time a judge may order a defendant to felony probation.

4. Related Offenses

There are three crimes related to illegal acts with belt buckle knives. These are:

  1. illegal acts with wallet guns – PC 24710;
  2. possession of a bump stock – PC 32900; and,
  3. carrying a concealed dirk or dagger – PC 21310.

4.1. Illegal acts with wallet guns – PC 24710

California Penal Code 17330 says that a “wallet gun” is any firearm mounted or enclosed in a case.7 The case for these guns typically resembles a wallet, thus the name.

California Penal Code 24710 is California's statute governing these firearms. According to this code section, it is a crime if any person:

“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 wallet gun…”8

A violation of PC 24710 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.

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 $1,000.9

If a PC 24710 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 $10,000.10

4.2. Possession of a bump stock – PC 32900

“Bump stocks” -- also known as “multi-burst trigger activators” -- are gun accessories that increase the rate at which semiautomatic rifles fire.11 Bump stocks are illegal in California under Penal Code 32900.

In particular, PC 32900 makes it illegal to possess, manufacture, import or sell a bump stock.12

A violation of this code section can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, in the prosecutor's discretion.

As a misdemeanor, the penalty for possession of a bump stock is up to one year in county jail.13

Felony possession of a bump stock in California can be punished by 16 months to three years in jail.14

4.3. Carrying a concealed dirk or dagger – PC 21310

It is a crime in California, per California Penal Code 21310, for a person to carry a concealed dirk or dagger.

Under Penal Code 16470, a “dirk or dagger” is:

  • a knife or other instrument,
  • with or without a hand guard,
  • that is capable of being used as a stabbing weapon, and
  • that may inflict a significant or substantial physical injury or death.15

Carrying a concealed dirk or dagger is a wobbler, meaning it can be filed as either a misdemeanor or a felony.

As a misdemeanor, it is punishable by:

  • up to one year in county jail, and/or
  • up to a $1,000 fine.

As a felony, it is punishable by:

  • 16 months, or two or three years in county jail, and/or
  • up to a $10,000 fine.16

Were you accused of committing an illegal act with a belt buckle knife in California? Call us for help…

california legal defense attorneys belt buckle knife
Call us for help at (855) LAW-FIRM

If you or someone you know has been accused of a crime under Penal Code 20410 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 20410 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 belt buckle 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 16260 PC.

  3. California Penal Code 16590(d) PC.

  4. California Penal Code 16590 PC.

  5. California Penal Code 20410 PC.

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

  7. California Penal Code 17330 PC.

  8. California Penal Code 24710 PC.

  9. California Penal Code 24710 PC.

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

  11. California Penal Code 16930 PC.

  12. California Penal Code 32900 PC.

  13. See same.

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

  15. California Penal Code 16470 PC.

  16. California Penal Code 21310 PC.

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