A man was recently pulled over for expired tags. During questioning, the officer asked him if he had any weapons in his car. The man said that he had a baseball bat in the back seat. The officer retrieved the bat. A number of holes were partially drilled through the handle and it had a leather wrist strap. The holes made the bat lighter and easier to grip. The bat had been painted black. The officer asked the man about the bat and he said that he repossessed cars for a living and needed it for protection. The man was arrested and charged with the felony possession of a billy club.
Under California Penal Code section 22210 it is illegal to give, lend, or possess any leaded cane, any instrument or weapon of the kind commonly known as a billy, blackjack, sandbag, sandclub, sap, or slungshot. Under certain circumstances, this section of the law also makes it illegal to possess a harmless object such as a baseball bat or pool stick.
When Does the Possession of a Harmless Object Become A Felony?
The possession of an object with innocent uses, such as a baseball bat or pool stick, may be illegal if the prosecution proves that the object was possessed as a weapon. The only way to prove it, is by evidence indicating that the possessor would use the object for a dangerous, not harmless purpose. A simple example would be if the pool stick is carried to a fight, then it would be considered an illegal weapon. On the other hand, a baseball player at bat, would not be penalized for holding the bat.
However, as mentioned above, real life arrests for illegal weapons are not so simple because there are always two sides to a story.
When arrested for the illegal possession of an item commonly used for a nonviolent purpose, a criminal defense attorney should always look at the surrounding circumstance, such as the time, place, destination of the possessor, the alteration of the object from standard form and other relevant facts indicating that the possessor would use the object for a dangerous, not harmless purpose.
If you were arrested for the possession of an illegal weapon, call us right away. We offer a free and confidential consultation. Our law office is located near the Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta, California. We represent individuals who have been arrested in Temecula, Murrieta, Lake Elsinore, Wildomar, Menifee, Perris, Banning, Hemet, Corona and Riverside.