California law criminalizes the act of carrying certain weapons into a public building or a meeting open to the public. You may be facing these charges right now, and if so, a proactive attorney can effectively advocate for your rights. Riverside defense lawyer Gregory H. Comings represents people accused of weapons offenses, including California Penal Code 171(b) PC. Attorney Comings provides individualized attention to each client, clearly communicating status updates and answering any questions about the legal process. At the Law Offices of Gregory H. Comings, clients throughout Riverside and surrounding areas receive dedicated and passionate legal representation.
California Penal Code section 171(b) outlaws bringing and possessing a weapon in a state or local public building. There are exceptions to this prohibition. Law enforcement officers, people using the weapon as evidence in a legal case, and others specifically granted permission may bring a weapon into a public building or meeting.
Understanding the specifics of this law prohibiting unauthorized possession of weapons in public buildings and meetings is important. A “state or local building” is a building owned or leased by the state or local government, if employees are present in the building carrying out their official duties. An example of this type of building is a courthouse. Additionally, an open meeting to the public, whether it is inside or outside, is covered by this statute. This may include a city council meeting, a town hall meeting, and a community meeting.
While the State of California prohibits unauthorized possession of weapons in public buildings and meetings, not all weapons fall under this statute. Specifically, firearms, as well as taser or stun guns are not allowed. Also, it is against the law to bring unauthorized tear gas weapons, and knives with blade lengths of more than four inches that can be fixed in an unguarded position. Dirks, daggers and other knives that meet the length requirement are prohibited.
If you are convicted of Penal Code 171(b), you may face felony or misdemeanor penalties. As a misdemeanor, this crime can result in up to one year in county jail. Felony offenses may result in 16 months, 2, or 3 years in state prison. Enhanced penalties can apply if there were aggravating factors, if anyone was hurt or injured, or if you attempted to use the weapons involved in the charges. If you are convicted of a felony, it can impact your immigration status.
In some cases, people can be charged with other related offenses, such as California Penal Code 25400, carrying a concealed weapon. If the accused has been convicted of felony in the past, they may be charged with California Penal Code 29800, felon with a firearm.
An experienced criminal defense attorney can work to reduce any potential criminal sentence by applying an appropriate legal defense. For instance, if the weapon in question was not unlawful, or is not listed under Penal Code 171(b), you should not face charges for violating the statute. A skilled lawyer may set forth evidence that the alleged weapon was not prohibited. Another defense that may apply is false accusation. If law enforcement is concerned that there is an unauthorized weapon in a public building, they may falsely accuse you of violating PC 171(b).
There are long-lasting penalties and unforeseen consequences of a conviction for a weapons offense. By contacting the Law Offices of Gregory H. Comings, you are taking an important step toward protecting your rights. As a top-rated Riverside defense lawyer, Attorney Comings prioritizes building the strongest defense possible for every client. Call our office today to schedule a free consultation, at no-obligation. We can be reached at (951) 686-3457 or online.