It is against the law to bring weapons into public buildings in the state of California. The court system prosecutes this action under Penal Code 171b. PC 171b is a “wobbler” in California. This means that prosecutors can charge PC 171b as either a misdemeanor or a felony.
Basic Facts About Bringing Weapons into Public Buildings
In the state of California, a charge under PC 171b applies if individuals bring weapons into “meetings open to the public” and “public buildings.” As far as the kinds of weapons covered under PC 171b, the law specifically mentions:
- Taser or stun guns
- Projectile weapons
- Some knives
- All deadly weapons
Note that there are some exemptions to PC 171b. Individuals who are exempted from the regulations surrounding PC 171b are allowed to carry weapons into public buildings.
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Exemptions for PC 171b Charges in California
Some individuals are exempt from prosecution under California’s PC 171b. These individuals are legally allowed to carry a weapon into a public building. Examples of exempted individuals include:
- Police officers
- People transporting weapons as evidence
- Security officers
Additionally, some people with a firearm license can carry a weapon in a public building. A criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles may review additional exemptions with you. Find out more about California’s laws on carrying weapons in public by calling (310) 997-4688.
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Examples of PC 171b Violations in California
You may have an easier time understanding PC 171b charges if we consider some examples:
Man A has been ordered to appear in court after an arrest for driving under the influence (DUI). He brings a stun gun with him when he arrives and is stopped at the door. He could face charges under PC 171b.
Man B goes to his meeting at his town hall to discuss redistricting efforts. He wears a long knife on his belt. Depending on the length of the knife, he could end up charged with bringing a weapon into a public building.
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Results of a Conviction for Bringing a Weapon into a Public Building
PC 171b is a “wobbler” in the state of California. This means the prosecution may treat it as a misdemeanor or a felony. Generally, the prosecution considers the facts of a case and an individual’s past criminal history when deciding how to handle PC 171b charges.
Misdemeanor convictions for bringing weapons into a public building may lead to up to one year of jail time. Felony charges are more serious and could result in up to three years of prison time. There are also a number of other charges associated with PC 171b violations in California. Some individuals are also charged under:
- Penal Code 417: Brandishing a Weapon or Firearm
- Penal Code 18710: Possession of Destructive Devices
- Penal Code 25400: Carrying a Concealed Weapon
Convictions for these criminal acts may lead to increased time behind bars, as well as fines. Other legal penalties are possible, in some situations.
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Consider Your Defenses for a PC 171b Accusation
You don’t just have to accept a conviction if you are charged with bringing a weapon into a public building. You may work with a lawyer to consider possible defenses. Remember that some people are legally exempt from PC 171b charges.
A lawyer may also work to defend you by taking steps to show that you were not carrying a restricted weapon. Remember that the legal codes in California specify the weapons you are not allowed to carry into public buildings. You may avoid a conviction if a lawyer shows that you did not carry a restricted weapon. For example, not all knives are prohibited under PC 171b.
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Contact a Lawyer About Bringing Weapons into a Public Building
Are you facing charges under Penal Code 171b? Take steps to get legal help on your side right now by contacting the Simmrin Law Group. Allow our criminal defense lawyers in Los Angeles to focus on your specific needs. Just call (310) 997-4688 or complete our online contact form.
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