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PC 171 Weapon in Court

Penal Code section 171b Bringing Firearm, knife, unauthorized tear gas weapon, taser, stun or pellet gun or deadly weapon into state or local public building or public meeting; exceptions.

PC 171b(a) Any person who brings or possesses within any  state or local public building or at any meeting required to be open to the public pursuant to Chapter 9 (commencing with Section 54950) or Part 1 of Division 2 of Title 5 of, or Article 9 (commencing with Section 11120) of Chapter 1 of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of, the Government Code any of the following is guilty of a public offense punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year, or in the  state prison:

'(1) Any firearm

(2) Any deadly weapon described in Section 653k or 12020.

(3) Any knife with a blade length in excess of four inches, the blade of which is fixed or is capable of being fixed in an unguarded position by the use of one or two hands.

(4) Any unauthorized tear gas weapon.

(5) Any taser or stun gun, as defined in Section 244.5.

(6) Any instrument that expels a metallic projectile, such as a BB or pellet, through the force of air pressure, CO2 pressure, or spring action, or any spot marker gun or paint gun.

(b) Subdivision (a) shall not apply to, or affect, any of the following:

(1) A person who possesses weapons in, or transports weapons into, a court of law to be used as evidence.

(2) (A) A duly appointed peace officer as defined in Chapter 4.5 (commencing with Section 830) of Title 3 or Part 2 a retired  peace officer with authorization to carry concealed weapons as described in subdivision (a) of Section 12027, a full-time paid peace officer of another state or the federal government who is carrying out official duties while in California, or any person summoned by any of these officers to assist in making arrests or preserving the peace while he or she is actually engaged in assisting the officer.

(B) Notwithstanding sub paragraph (A) subdivisions (a) shall apply ot any person who brings or possesses any weapon specified therein within any courtroom if he or she is a party to an action pending before the court.

(#) A person holding a valid license to carry the firearm pursuant to Article 3 (commencing with Section 12050) of Chapter 1 of Title 2 of Part 4.

(5) A person who has permission to possess that weapon granted in writing by a duly authorized official who is in charge of the security of the state or local government.

(6) A person licensed or registered in accordance with, an acting within the court ans scope of Chapter 11.5 (commencing with Section 7512) or Chapter 11.6 (commencing with Section 7590) of Divisions 3 of the Business and Professions code who has been hired by the owner or manager of the building if the person has permission pursuant to paragraph (5).

(7) (A) A person who for the purpose of sale or trade, brings any weapon that may otherwise be lawfully transferred, into a gun show conducted pursuant to Sections 12071. and 12071.4.

(c) As used in this section "state or local public building" means a building that meets all of the following criteria:

(1) It is a building or part of a building owned or leased by the state or local government, if state or local public employees are regularly present for the purposes of performing their official duties.  A state or local government, if state or local public employees are regularly present for the purposes of performing their official duties. A state or local public building includes, but is not limited to, a building that contains a courtroom.

(2) It is not a building or facility, or a part thereof, that is referred to in Section 171c, 171d, 626.9, 626.95, or 626.10 of this code, or in Section 18544 of the elections Code.

(3) It is a building not regularly used, and not intended to be used by state or local employees as a place of residence.

Common questions that a person charged with a violation of PC 171 may ask:

Will I go to State Prison if I violate PC 171?

The sentencing triad for a violating of Felony PC 171 is 16, 24, 36 months in sate prison.  However, it could be significantly more if the violator has prior strikes, prison priors, or other charges and enhancements.

Can a violation of Felony PC 171 be reduced to or charged as a misdemeanor?

Yes, PC 171 is what is referred to as a "wobbler" which may wobble down to a misdemeanor.  Each case is factually distinct and the facts of each situation will help determine if it is charged and/or sentenced as a misdemeanor.

Can I receive a grant of probation if I am convicted of a Violation of PC 171 for bringing a gun or pocket knife into a courtroom?

Yes, a judge may offer terms and conditions in exchange for a grant of probation, which may include up to one year in county jail.

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