Penal Code 20610 PC – California Law re: “Lipstick Case Knives”

Penal Code 20610 PC is the California statute that makes it a crime for a person to make, import, sell, give, or possess a lipstick case knife (“LCK”).

An LCK is a knife that is enclosed in a lipstick case.

Examples of illegal acts under this statute include:

  • Ron sells an LCK to a neighborhood kid.
  • Julio gives his girlfriend a lipstick case knife and she takes possession of it.
  • Debbie buys an LCK in Oregon and brings it into California.

Luckily, there are several legal defenses that a person can raise if accused of a crime under Penal Code 20610. These include showing that an accused party:

  • did not have a “lipstick case knife;”
  • is free from prosecution; and/or,
  • was arrested without probable cause.

Penalties

A violation of PC 20610 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:

lipstick case knife
A lipstick case knife is a knife enclosed in a lipstick case

1. The legal definition of a lipstick case knife and what is prohibited under Penal Code 20610

Penal Code 20610 is the California statute that makes it a crime for a person to make, import, sell, give, or possess an LCK.1

A “lipstick case knife” is simply a knife enclosed in a lipstick case.2

Please note that LCKs 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 20610 can challenge the accusation by raising a legal defense.

Three common defenses to PC 20610 accusations are:

  1. no “lipstick case knife;”
  2. free from prosecution; and/or,
  3. no probable cause.

2.1. No lipstick case knife

Please recall that Penal Code 16830 provides a specific definition of what LCKs are. 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 20610, he did so with something other than a lipstick case knife.

2.2. Free from prosecution

Please note that certain people are free from prosecution under Penal Code 20610. 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. No probable cause

The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution says that 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 PC 20610, and there was no probable cause, then any evidence obtained following the improper stop/arrest could get excluded from the case. This could result in the dismissal or reduction in charges.

woman holding a knife
A violation of this law can result in a fine and/or jail time

3. Penalties, punishment, and sentencing

A violation of PC 20610 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 $1,000.4

If a PC 20610 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 $10,000.5

4. Related Offenses

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

  1. illegal acts with a shobi-zue – PC 20710;
  2. illegal acts with brass knuckles – PC 21810; and,
  3. illegal acts with shurikens – PC 22410.

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, or a pole with a knife hidden in it.6

A violation of PC 20710 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.7

4.2. Illegal acts with 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 brass or metal knuckles.8

A violation of PC 21810 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.9

4.3. Illegal acts with shurikens – PC 22410

Penal Code 22410 PC is the California statute that makes it a crime for a person to make, import, sell, give, or possess a “shuriken.”10

A violation of PC 22410 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.11

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

lipstick case knife criminal defense
Call us for help at (855) LAW-FIRM

If you or someone you know has been accused of a crime under Penal Code 20610 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 20610 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 lipstick case 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 16830 PC.

  3. California Penal Code 16590 PC.

  4. California Penal Code 20610 PC.

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

  6. California Penal Code 20710 PC.

  7. See same.

  8. California Penal Code 21810 PC.

  9. See same.

  10. California Penal Code 22410 PC.

  11. See same.

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