Individuals in California cannot display imitation firearms in public. Displaying these items can lead to criminal charges under Penal Code 20170. The state previously used Penal Code 12556 to prosecute the public display of imitation firearms. However, this has since changed.
In most cases, displaying imitation firearms in public is considered an infraction. However, the court sometimes treats PC 20170 as a misdemeanor. Find out more by contacting the Simmrin Law Group at (310) 997-4688.
Imitation Firearms in California
Imitation firearms are items made to resemble firearms here in California. Sometimes, imitation firearms are toys. Other examples of imitation firearms can include BB guns and firearm replicas.
In general, any item that could be reasonably mistaken for a firearm is considered an imitation firearm. The court makes a final decision about whether or not an item is an imitation firearm.
Public Places and PC 20170 Charges in California
Individuals can face criminal charges if they display an imitation firearm while in public in California. Public places are all areas where the public can move about openly. There are a number of public locations around the state, including:
- Parking lots
Public buildings like libraries are also considered public places. Additionally, an individual’s front yard can be considered a public place. Even automobiles are considered public places here in California. Displaying an imitation firearm in any of these places is against the law. Find out more by contacting the Simmrin Law Group at (310) 997-4688.
Penalties for Displaying an Imitation Firearm in California
In most cases, PC 20170 charges are treated as infractions by the court system. Infractions are relatively minor offenses. However, you should know that the penalties become more severe each time an individual is convicted of displaying an imitation firearm. For example:
- First-time convictions can lead to fines of up to $100
- Second-time convictions can lead to fines of up to $300
PC 20170 charges are not always treated as infractions. Individuals can face misdemeanor charges if they have three or more convictions for displaying an imitation firearm. Misdemeanor charges can actually lead to jail time in California. They can also result in higher fines.
Charges Similar to PC 20170 in California
There are many other charges that resemble PC 20170 offenses. Many of these charges focus on the possession of actual weapons. Possessing a real weapon is treated more seriously by the court system. Individuals can face charges for:
- Brandishing a weapon
- Possessing a switchblade
- Carrying a loaded firearm
- Carrying an unloaded handgun
California has strict gun control laws. Individuals are not allowed to openly carry firearms in California. It is also illegal to carry a concealed firearm in most cases. However, in some cases, individuals may have a permit to carry a firearm.
The penalties are harsher if you use or discharge a firearm. Using a firearm can result in felony charges if someone is hurt or killed.
Defenses for Displaying Imitation Firearms
There are legal defenses to PC 20170 charges in California. A criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles can help you review these defenses. We can help you work to show that:
You Didn’t Have an Imitation Firearm
PC 20170 charges specifically apply to individuals who display imitation firearms. Let’s say you were walking through town with a stick, and you were pretending the stick was a firearm. However, because a stick does not resemble an actual firearm, you should not face a conviction under PC 20170.
You Were Not in Public
PC 20170 charges should only apply if you had an imitation firearm while you were in public. This charge should not apply if you had an imitation firearm on private property. For example, let’s say you showed a friend an imitation firearm in your home. This should not lead to a PC 20170 conviction.
Ask a Lawyer About How to Fight Charges for Displaying an Imitation Firearm
Reach out to the Simmrin Law Group if you are accused of displaying imitation firearms. We understand Penal Code 20170 and the charges formerly covered under Penal Code 12556. Allow us to assess your needs with a free consultation with a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles now.
Get legal help by calling us at (310) 997-4688. You can also complete our online contact form.