California “Stun Gun” Laws - Penal Code 22610 PC

Are Stun Guns Legal in California?

Criminal defense attorney Neil Shouse discusses Penal Code 22610 PC, the California stun gun law, and who is not allowed to possess stun guns or TASERs. While the majority of California citizens are legally allowed to own a stun gun, many Californians face severe penalties under Penal Code 22610 PC for simply having a stun gun in their possession. These groups of people who are not legally allowed to own a stun gun include: convicted felons, people who have been found guilty of assault, people who have been convicted of the crime of misuse of a stun gun, narcotics addicts, and children under the age of sixteen. If someone is convicted of multiple violations of California Penal Code 22610 PC they could be sentenced to up to 6 months in jail per violation. However a first time offense of possession of a stun gun is only an infraction, with a fine of $50 plus penalty assessments. There are many potential circumstances where a person accused of possessing a stun gun or TASER may be factually innocent of the charges. The legal defenses for Penal Code 22610 PC include: you were rightfully allowed to possess a stun gun in the first place and the police were mistaken, the stun gun was discovered in your home or vehicle but it did not belong to you, the police violated your constitutional rights when they searched or arrested you. More info at https://www.shouselaw.com/stun-guns or call (888) 327-4652 for a free consultation. If you or a loved one is charged with a crime we invite you to contact us at Shouse Law Group. We can provide a free consultation in office or by phone. We have local offices in Los Angeles, the San Fernando Valley, Pasadena, Long Beach, Orange County, Ventura, San Bernardino, Rancho Cucamonga, Riverside, San Diego, Sacramento, Oakland, San Francisco, San Jose and throughout California.


Penal Code 22610 PC is the California statute that says any person may purchase, possess, or use a stun gun unless he or she is:

  • a convicted felon,
  • a person guilty of a crime involving assault,
  • a person convicted of misuse of a stun gun,
  • a person addicted to narcotics, and
  • a minor under the age of 16.

PC 22610 states:

“Notwithstanding any other provision of law, any person may purchase, possess, or use a stun gun, subject to the following requirements:

(a) No person convicted of a felony or any crime involving an assault under the laws of the United States, the State of California, or any other state, government, or country, or convicted of misuse of a stun gun under Section 244.5, shall purchase, possess, or use any stun gun.

(b) No person addicted to any narcotic drug shall purchase, possess, or use a stun gun.

(c) (1) No person shall sell or furnish any stun gun to a minor unless the minor is at least 16 years of age and has the written consent of the minor's parent or legal guardian.

(2) Violation of this subdivision shall be a public offense punishable by a fifty-dollar ($50) fine for the first offense. Any subsequent violation of this subdivision is a misdemeanor.

(d) No minor shall possess any stun gun unless the minor is at least 16 years of age and has the written consent of the minor's parent or legal guardian.

Examples of illegal acts under this code section include:

Defenses

Luckily, there are several legal defenses that a person can raise if accused of a crime under Penal Code 22610. These include showing that the defendant:

Penalties

A first time violation of PC 22610 is charged as an infraction and the offender must pay a $50 fine.

Any subsequent violation is charged as a misdemeanor (as opposed to a California felony). The crime is punishable by:

  • imprisonment in county jail for up to six months, and/or
  • a maximum fine of $1,000.

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

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

military man holding stun gun
Penal Code 22610 PC is the California statute that deals with "Stun Guns"

1. What is prohibited under California Penal Code 22610 PC?

Penal Code 22610 PC is the California statute that says any person may purchase, possess, or use a stun gun except:

  • a convicted felon,
  • a person found guilty of a crime involving assault,
  • a person convicted of misuse of a stun gun,
  • a person addicted to narcotics, and
  • a minor under the age of 16.1

Please note that a minor at least 16 years of age may purchase and use a stun gun, but only if he has the written consent of a parent.2

Also note that it is a crime under PC 22610 for a person to sell a stun gun to a minor at least 16 years of age, unless that minor has the written consent of a parent.3

2. Are there legal defenses to PC 22610 accusations?

If a person is accused of unlawfully buying, using, or possessing a stun gun, then he can challenge the accusation by raising a legal defense. A good defense can often get a charge reduced or even dismissed.

Three common defenses to PC 22610 accusations are:

  1. no past convictions,
  2. no possession, and/or
  3. coerced confession

2.1. No past convictions

Note that stun gun use, possession and purchasing is a crime under this statute for those convicted of:

  • a felony,
  • a crime involving assault, and
  • the misuse of a stun gun.

This means that if a defendant was charged with PC 22610, and the prosecutor wants to show that the accused has a past conviction, the accused simply has to show that he in fact has no prior convictions.

2.2. No possession.

Penal Code 22610 makes it illegal for some people to possess a stun gun. For these persons, they can challenge an accusation of wrongdoing by showing they did not have actual possession of a gun. For example, perhaps the gun was not the defendant's and it was not on his person or within his control.

2.3. Coerced 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.
money under gavel
A violation of this law can result in a fine and potentially jail time

3. Penalties, punishment, and sentencing

A first-time violation of PC 22610 is charged as an infraction and the offender must pay a $50 fine.4

Any subsequent violation is charged as a misdemeanor. The crime is punishable by:

  • imprisonment in county jail for up to six months, and/or
  • a maximum fine of $1,000.5

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

4. Related Offenses

There are three laws related to PC 22610. These are:

  1. California's BB gun laws
  2. imitation firearms – PC 12556, and
  3. brass knuckles – PC 21810.

4.1. California's BB gun laws

There are several important California laws regarding BB guns. These laws include:

  • it is generally legal for a person to own a BB gun in California. However, it is illegal for a person 18 years of age or younger to own a BB gun without parental permission.
  • under California Penal Code 12556, it is against the law for a person to display an “imitation firearm” in a public place. A BB gun falls into the definition of an imitation firearm.
  • a person can generally carry most types of BB guns in his car.

A violation of the above laws is typically punishable by a fine. Sometimes, however, a violation can lead to misdemeanor charges.

4.2. Imitation firearms – PC 12556

Penal Code 12556 is the California statute that makes it a crime for a person to display an “imitation firearm” in public.

An “imitation firearm” includes objects like a:

  • BB gun,
  • toy gun, and
  • replica of a firearm.6

A person that violates PC 12556 is charged with an infraction.7 A first offense is punishable by a $100 fine; and, a second offense is punishable by a $300 fine.8

A third or subsequent violation of this section is punishable as a misdemeanor.9

4.3. 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.

A violation of PC 21810 is a wobbler, meaning it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. In either case, the crime is punishable by:

  • substantial jail time, and/or
  • a significant fine.

Were you accused of purchasing, using, or possessing a stun gun in California? Call us for help…

california stun gun attorneys
Call us for help at (855) LAW-FIRM

If you or someone you know has been accused of a crime under Penal Code 22610 PC, we invite you to contact us for a free consultation. We can be reached 24/7 at 855-LawFirm.

For similar charges and accusations in Colorado, please see our article on: Colorado Use of Stun Guns 18-12-106.5 C.R.S.


References:

  1. California Penal Code 22610 PC. This code section states: “Notwithstanding any other provision of law, any person may purchase, possess, or use a stun gun, subject to the following requirements:

    (a) No person convicted of a felony or any crime involving an assault under the laws of the United States, the State of California, or any other state, government, or country, or convicted of misuse of a stun gun under Section 244.5, shall purchase, possess, or use any stun gun.

    (b) No person addicted to any narcotic drug shall purchase, possess, or use a stun gun.

    (c) (1) No person shall sell or furnish any stun gun to a minor unless the minor is at least 16 years of age and has the written consent of the minor's parent or legal guardian.

    (2) Violation of this subdivision shall be a public offense punishable by a fifty-dollar ($50) fine for the first offense. Any subsequent violation of this subdivision is a misdemeanor.

    (d) No minor shall possess any stun gun unless the minor is at least 16 years of age and has the written consent of the minor's parent or legal guardian.”

  2. See same.

  3. See same.

  4. California Penal Code 22610 c2 PC.

  5. See same. See also Penal Code 19 PC.

  6. California Penal Code 12556 PC.

  7. Penal Code 12556(b) PC.

  8. See same.

  9. California Penal Code 12556(c) PC.

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