Penal Code 22210 PC – California’s Law re Leaded Canes or Batons


PC 22210 – Are batons and billy clubs illegal in California?

Criminal defense lawyer Neil Shouse explains California Penal Code 22210 PC which makes batons and leaded canes illegal. Leaded canes are a class of weapons which are weighted in order to be used more effectively as a weapon. The most common examples of leaded canes are batons and billy clubs. Common other items that may be classified under the title of leaded canes are: crutches, staffs, sticks, and rods. All these types of weighted batons and leaded canes are made illegal under California Penal Code 22210 PC. Someone can be charged with 22210 PC if they are suspected of manufacturing, selling, possessing, or importing batons and leaded canes across California state lines. 22210 PC is considered a “wobbler” so California prosecutors have the discretion to charge 22210 PC as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the seriousness of the case. If convicted of possession of a baton, leaded cane, or billy club, you could face up to 1 year in jail and $1,000 in fines for a misdemeanor, and up to 3 years in prison and $10,000 in fines for a felony. And if you threatened someone with the baton or leaded cane, or committed a violent crime such as a robbery or assault, then you could face much more serious charges, and substantial time in prison. The state of California takes Penal Code 22210 PC very seriously, but the laws don’t make much sense, considering many people possess leaded canes, batons, and billy clubs as souvenirs or collector’s items, or for lawful self-defense. It makes even less sense when you consider that someone can do much more damage with a gun or even a car, but those are perfectly legal for most citizens to possess and use. Nevertheless, when someone is charged with Penal Code 22210 PC, the laws must be taken just as seriously as every other crime, and every possible defense must be considered. Some reasons why a defendant may be factually innocent of possessing a leaded cane are: the cane didn’t belong to them, the item was not actually a leaded cane according to the way the law was written, or the police discovered the leaded cane by way of an illegal search or seizure. More info at or call (888) 327-4652 for a free consultation.

Penal Code 22210 PC
is the California statute that makes it a crime for a person to make, import, sell, give, or possess leaded canes or batons. This charge can be filed as a misdemeanor or a felony. A conviction can lead to up to 3 years in jail or prison. 

A leaded cane is a:

  • crutch,
  • staff,
  • stick, or
  • rod

that is weighted with lead so it can be used as a weapon. The statute also applies to short and weighted objects that can strike a person (e.g., a baton).

PC 22210 states that “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 leaded cane, or any instrument or weapon of the kind commonly known as a billy, blackjack, sandbag, sandclub, sap, or slungshot, is punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year or imprisonment.”


  • going to a concert while carrying a billy club in a backpack.
  • buying a leaded can in Oregon and driving it back into California.
  • selling a baton to a neighborhood kid.


A person can use a legal defense to challenge an accusation under this statute. Common defenses include:

  • no prohibited weapon,
  • free from prosecution, and/or
  • no probable cause.


A violation of PC 22210 is a wobbler offense. This means it can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony.

Either charge is punishable by:

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

In lieu of jail time, a judge can award either:

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

a leaded cane metal baton, possession of which violates 22210 PC
A leaded cane is an object like a stick that is unnaturally weighted with lead.

1. To which weapons does 22210 PC apply?

Penal Code 22210 is the California statute that makes it a crime for a person to:

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

leaded canes or batons.1

A “leaded cane” is an object like a stick that is unnaturally weighted with lead.2

Note that the statute also applies to weapons that are short and weighted.3 Some examples include a:

  • baton,
  • billy club,4
  • blackjack,5
  • sandbag,
  • sap, and
  • slungshot.6

Also note that all these weapons are:

  • also prohibited under,
  • Penal Code 16590 PC, or California's statute on generally prohibited weapons.7

1.1. Can a person get a permit for a baton in California?

California Business and Professions Code 7583.3 BPC says that:

  • security guards,
  • can apply for and obtain a permit to carry and use a baton,
  • provided they use the baton only while on duty.8

The following conditions must be met for a guard to get a baton permit:

  1. he must be 18 years old or older,
  2. he must receive baton training from a Bureau certified baton training facility,
  3. he must have a valid security guard registration, and
  4. he has to pay a fee of $50.9

2. Legal defenses

A person accused under these laws can raise a legal defense to beat the charge.

Three common defenses are:

  1. no prohibited weapon,
  2. free from prosecution, and/or
  3. no probable cause.

2.1. No prohibited weapon

This statute only makes it a crime to do certain acts with leaded canes, or:

  • other weapons,
  • that are specifically listed in the law.

This means it is a defense for a defendant to say that he did not have one of these prohibited weapons.

2.2. Free from prosecution

Please note that certain people are free from prosecution under Penal Code 22210. 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 is exempt from prosecution.

2.3. No probable cause

Police must have probable cause before they can detain or arrest a suspect of a crime. Thus, if a person was stopped or arrested for violating this statute, and:

  • there was no probable cause,
  • then any evidence obtained could get excluded from the case.

This could result in the dismissal or reduction in charges.

man being arrested for leaded cane
A violation of this law can result in a fine and/or jail time

3. What are the penalties?

A violation of Penal Code 22210 is a wobbler offense. 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 $1,000.10

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

  • imprisonment in jail for up to three years, and/or
  • a maximum fine of $10,000.11

4. Are there immigration consequences?

A leaded cane conviction will not have any negative immigration consequences.

Some crimes in California can result in a non-citizen defendant being either:

One example is a crime involving moral turpitude.

But a PC 22210 conviction does not have this affect.

5. Can a person get a conviction expunged?

A person can get an expungement if convicted of this offense.

Penal Code 1203.4 PC says an expungement removes many of the hardships that come with a conviction.

A person can get an expungement if he completes:

  • probation, or
  • a jail term (whichever is applicable).

Note that a judge may even award expungement if a party violates a probation term.

6. Does a conviction affect gun rights?

A conviction under this statute may hurt a defendant's gun rights.

California law says that it is illegal for convicted felons to:

  • own a gun, or
  • possess a gun.

Remember that a prosecutor may charge a PC 22210 violation as either:

  • a misdemeanor, or
  • a felony.

If charged as a felony then, and:

  • the defendant is convicted of the same,
  • he would be stripped of his gun rights.

7. Are there related offenses

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

  1. possession of brass knuckles – PC 21810,
  2. carrying concealed dirks or daggers – PC 21310, and
  3. possession of prohibited weapons – PC 16590.

7.1. Possession of brass knuckles – PC 21810

Penal Code 21810 PC is the California statute that makes it a crime for a person to:

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

metal knuckles, or brass knuckles.

The penalties under this statute are the same as under Penal Code 22210.

7.2. Carrying concealed dirks or daggers – PC 21310

Penal Code 21310 PC is the California statute that makes it a crime for a person to:

  • carry a concealed,
  • dirk or dagger.

A “dirk” or “dagger” is a:

  • long thrusting knife that can cause great bodily injury or death,
  • if used to stab someone.

An example is a pocketknife with its blade locked into position.

7.3. Possession of prohibited weapons – PC 16590

Penal Code 16590 PC is the California statute that prohibits:

  • manufacturing,
  • selling, and/or
  • possessing

certain dangerous weapons.

These “generally prohibited weapons” include items like:

  • nunchakus (commonly referred to as nunchucks),
  • brass knuckles, and
  • short-barreled shotguns.

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For additional guidance or to discuss your case with a criminal defense attorney, we invite you to contact us at Shouse Law Group.

Legal References:

  1. California Penal Code 21810 PC. 

  2. California Penal Code 16760.

  3. See, for example, People v. Liscotti (2013) 219 Cal.App.4th. Supp 1.

  4. People v. Mercer (1995) 42 Cal.App.4th Supp. 1.

  5. People v. Duncan (1945) 72 Cal.App.2nd 423.

  6. People v. Fannin (2001) 91 Cal.App.4th 1399.

  7. California Penal Code 16590 PC.

  8. California Business and Professions Code 7583.33.

  9. See same.

  10. California Penal Code 22210. See also California Penal Code 19.

  11. See same. See also California Penal Code 1170h PC.

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