Penal Code 21810 PC - Possession of Brass Knuckles

Under California Penal Code 21810 PC, brass knuckles are prohibited, which means it's a crime to manufacture, sell, lend, or possess them.

Brass knuckles are metal objects worn on a hand to increase the power of a punch. The force behind a punch from someone using brass knuckles can be dangerous and lethal. Many are shaped to fit around a clenched fist.

Possession of Brass Knuckles - Penal Code 21810 PC

There are several examples of when they are illegal, such as carrying brass knuckles in your pocket, buying them outside California, and then bringing them back here.

Brass knuckles are illegal under the state's law on “generally prohibited weapons” defined under Penal Code 16590 PC, which says, “(o) Metal knuckles, as prohibited by Section 21810.

PC 21810 says, “anyone who manufactures or causes to be manufactured, imports into the state, keeps for sale or offers for sale, or who gives, lends, or possesses any metal knuckles are punishable by county jail imprisonment not exceeding one year.”

You might face harsh consequences if you have a prohibited weapon in California. Other illegal weapons include cane swords, switchblade knives, dirk and daggers, belt buckle knives, and a lipstick case knife. Let's review this state law further below.

What Are the Related Crimes?

Several California offenses are related to Penal Code 21810 PC possession of brass knuckles, such as the following:

  • Penal Code 21110 PC – ballistic knife;
  • Penal Code 21510 PC – possession of a switchblade;
  • Penal Code 22610 PC – stun guns and taser;
  • Penal Code 16470 PC – dirk or dagger;
  • Penal Code 22010 PC – nunchucks;
  • Penal Code 22210 PC – possession of a baton;
  • Penal Code 20610 PC – lipstick case knife;
  • Penal Code 20410 PC – belt buckle knives;
  • Penal Code 20310 PC – air gauge knife;
  • Penal Code 24410 PC – cane gun;
  • Penal Code 20710 PC - possession of a shobi-due;
  • Penal Code 22410 PC - possession of shurikens;
  • Penal Code 33215 PC – short-barrel shotgun;
  • Penal Code 24610 PC – undetectable firearm;
  • Penal Code 30210 PC – flechette dart;
  • Penal Code 20170 PC - BB gun laws;
  • Penal Code 12556 PC - imitation firearms;
  • Penal Code 24710 PC – wallet gun;
  • Penal Code 243(d) PC – aggravated battery;
  • Penal Code 415 PC – disturbing the peace;
  • Penal Code 647(f) PC – public intoxication.

All of the above crimes are wobblers that can result in up to one year in county jail and a fine of up to $1,000 if a misdemeanor. Felonies carry a fine of up to $10,000 and prison time.  

What are the Penalties for PC 21810?

The laws on prohibited weapons are typical “wobblers” that can be filed as either a misdemeanor or felony, based on the facts and circumstances of the case.

Penalties for Possession of Brass Knuckles

If you are convicted of possession of brass knuckles as a misdemeanor, you are facing the following penalties:

  • up to one year in county jail;
  • a fine of up to $1,000;
  • informal summary probation upon conviction.

The judge has the discretion to impose probation instead of jail.

If the possession of brass knuckles is a felony, you could be facing the following:

  • up to three years in state prison;
  • a fine of up to $10,000;
  • formal felony probation.

Again, the judge can sentence a defendant to felony probation instead of jail or prison.

A conviction for possessing brass knuckles could impact your immigration status if you are a green card holder or in the United States on a visa.

In other words, any crimes of moral turpitude, or an aggravated felony, could result in deportation or be deemed inadmissible, meaning they can be denied entry into the United States.

In certain situations, getting a Penal Code 1203.4 PC expungement for misdemeanor possession of brass knuckles conviction is possible. Felonies cannot be expunged in California.

What Are the Defenses for PC 21810?

A California criminal defense lawyer can use several strategies against Penal Code 21810 PC charges possessing brass knuckles, such as those discussed below.

Defenses for PC 21810 Possession of Brass Knuckles

Perhaps we can argue that the object used does not meet the statutory definition of brass knuckles. Maybe there was no possession of brass knuckles. Perhaps we can say you are free from prosecution under Penal Code 22010 PC.

Perhaps we can argue that the police illegally acquired the brass knuckles or other evidence in the case or that there was a forced or coerced confession.

If law enforcement used overbearing techniques to get a confession, we might be able to exploit this misconduct as a legal defense, and the judge might dismiss the case.

The court could suppress unlawfully obtained evidence after a legal motion from the defense. If the evidence is suppressed, it could lead to a dismissal of the charges.

Perhaps we can negotiate prefiling to persuade the prosecutor from filing formal criminal charges in the first place, called a “DA reject.” We offer a free case evaluation via phone or contact form. The Hedding Law Firm is based in Los Angeles, California.