In California, a person can be charged with a crime simply for pointing a toy gun at someone else. While it may seem harmless to some, playing around with a toy gun has potential legal ramifications that could haunt someone for the rest of their life.
To help educate people on this issue, we've put together an informative blog post about the laws associated with using pretend firearms in California.
Is It Illegal to Brandish Replica Firearms and Imitation Firearms in California?
In California, it is illegal to brandish replica firearms or imitation firearms in public. The law also applies to BB guns, airsoft guns, and paintball guns, even if the user believes there is no danger of confusing it with a real firearm. Those found in violation of this law can be charged with a misdemeanor offense and sentenced to up to one year in county jail and fined up to $1,000.
Under the law, anyone caught brandishing an imitation firearm in public must be aware that the behavior may appear threatening or intimidating to others. This means that simply carrying an imitation firearm around could be considered illegal under the law if it is seen by a reasonable person as something that could put another at risk of harm or fear for their safety.
Similarly, displaying the weapon while making verbal threats could also be deemed illegal under the statute. Additionally, using replica firearms while committing any other type of crime can increase the penalties associated with the offense significantly.
The law also makes it illegal for individuals under 18 years old to possess imitation firearms in most public places except when they are used solely for sporting purposes, such as paintballing or airsoft shooting activities which occur on private property away from public view.
Furthermore, those who sell or transfer imitation firearms are required by law to include appropriate warnings about potential risks associated with them being mistaken for real weapons by law enforcement officers and other bystanders alike.
Can I Go to Jail for Pointing a Toy Gun at Someone in California?
Pointing a toy gun at someone in California can have serious legal consequences. If someone is found guilty of brandishing a replica or imitation firearm in California, they could face up to three years in county jail or state prison. Additionally, depending on the facts surrounding the case and any applicable accessory charges, judges may hand out longer sentences if deemed appropriate.
In addition, brandishing a replica or imitation firearm is considered a “wobbler” offense in California, which means that it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony depending on the circumstances of each case.
Furthermore, due to its nature as a wobbler offense, plea bargaining could be used by defense attorneys to reduce the severity of potential penalties associated with this crime.
For more information about what to do if you’re charged with brandishing a toy gun in California, or to discuss your situation with our experienced criminal defense lawyer in Fresno, give The Law Office of Brian C. Andritch a call at (559) 484-2112 or contact us online today.