PC 20170 – Possession of an Imitation Weapon in Public

PC 20170 - Possession of an Imitation Weapon in Public

Possession of an Imitation Weapon in Public – Table of Contents

PC 20170 – Overview

What is Possession of an Imitation Firearm in Public as defined under Penal Code 20170?

Anyone who possesses, displays or exposes an imitation firearm in a public place.

What is an imitation firearm as defined under Penal Code 20170?

Imitation Firearm: Any BB (Ball Bearing) device toy gun, replica of a firearm, or other device that is substantially similar in coloration and overall appearance to an existing firearm that will lead a reasonable person to believe that the device is a firearm.

PC 20170 – Prosecuting

What is considered a public place as defined under Penal Code 20170?

A public place is considered: a sidewalk; bridge; an alley; a plaza; a park; a driveway; a front yard; a parking lot; an automobile, whether moving or not; a building open to the general public, whether or not merchants are placed inside the building providing a service; a public school; a public or private college or university; or a doorway or entrance to a building or dwelling.

What is not considered an imitation firearm as defined under Penal Code 20170?

An imitation firearm is not one which: has the entire exterior of the surface colored in white bright red bright orange, bright yellow, bright green, bright blue, bright pink, or bright purple as the predominate color despite other color arrangements; or one that has a transparent or translucent material that allows the observation of the inner components.

What is the mental state required for a violation of Penal Code 20170?

There is no mental state. The accused does not have to have the specific intent to expose or display an imitation firearm. This means the act in itself with no desire for the act to complete, or a decision as to why or for what purpose, or the consciousness of the consequences that might result is necessary. All that needs to occur is displaying or exposing the firearm.

What does possession mean as defined under Penal Code 20170?

Possession can either be actual or constructive. Actual possession is physical possession over the item in question. Constructive possession is exhibiting control and authority over the item in question despite its physical control by another to assume that same physical custody. The exhibition of control and authority can also be administered to the party retaining the object. In regards to possession: the time, place and manner of possession when illustrated may show the accused’s guilt and the accused’s opportunity to commit the crime. The accused’s conduct or statements or the accused’s failure to explain possession under certain circumstances can also indicate a parameter of guilt.

Are there exceptions to those who can avoid a violation of California Penal Code 20170?

Yes, a peace officer. A peace officer’s initially after certification and training by the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training is any person employed by the:

  • (1) Sherriff;
  • (2) Police Department;
  • (3) Municipality;
  • (4) San Diego Port Harbor Police;
  • (5) Inspectors and investigators employed by the District Attorney’s Office;
  • (6) Attorney General’s Office;
  • (7) Department of Justice;
  • (8) Deputy employed by the Sheriff in all counties of the State of California;
  • (9) California Highway Patrol;
  • (10) University Police Department;
  • (11) Office of Correctional Safety of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation;
  • (12) Department of Internal Affairs and Department of Corrections;
  • (13) Department of Fish and Game;
  • (14) Department of Parks and Recreation;
  • (15) Department of Forestry and Fire Protection;
  • (16) Department of Alcohol and Beverage Control;
  • (17) Board of Directors of the Exposition and California State Fair;
  • (18) Department of Cannabis Control;
  • (19) Deputized persons.

PC 20170 – Sentencing

What are the penalties for a violation of California Penal Code 20170?

The first and second violation of California Penal Code 20170 is charged as an infraction with fines not exceeding $300. A third offense is charged as a misdemeanor with confinement not exceeding 1 year in jail with fines not exceeding $1000.

What are examples of a violation of California Penal Code 20170?

Tariq and Jenna broke up. Jenna called her brother to drive to Tariq’s house to teach him a lesson. Tariq’s roommate answered the door when Hansel arrived and told him that Tariq was at the gym. When Tariq was leaving the gym to go to his car, Hansel drove up and blocked his path. Tariq pointed at Hansel, raised his waist showing the pistol grip of a gun. While Tariq was doing this he verbally insulted Jenna to Hansel, while Hansel remained in his car. While in his car Hansel took a picture and video of Tariq’s display and rants, documenting his name. He sent the photo to the LAPD. The LAPD later arrived at Tariq’s house, asked him to retrieve his gun. Tariq laughed and told the officers it was a fake training gun he purchased at a gun convention. When he presented the gun it was all black with a bright yellow ring around the muzzle. After an inspection, the officers arrested Tariq.

PC 20170 – Defending

What are examples of Defenses against a violation of Penal Code 20170?

  • Necessity.
  • Mistaken identity.
  • Duress.
  • The accused is a peace officer or deputized to prevent an exigent dangerous circumstance.
  • Diminished Capacity.
  • The imitation did not reasonably replicate any weapon or gun retailed to the general public.
  • The victim did not perceive the weapon to be an imitation but rather a novelty.
  • Self Defense.

PC 20170 – Hire a Lawyer

If you or a loved one has been arrested for a violation of California Penal Code 20170, call The Esfandi Law Group, APLC. Seppi Esfandi, Principal Attorney of The Esfandi Law Group, APLC, his staff, and Attorneys are delighted to discuss your legal issues and seek retainment to provide solutions.

Call Us for a FREE Case Review: 310-274-6529

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Lara S.
June 4, 2018
Seppi had my case reduced to just an infraction, and thanks to him I was able to keep my job. Jorge was extremely helpful too, the reason I went with this law firm. Overall pleased.

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