According to Sec 12o20 of the California Penal Code, any person who in this state does any of the following is punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year or in the state prison the following acts:

  • Carries concealed upon his or her person any explosive substances other than fixed ammunition;
  • Carries concealed upon his or her person any dirk or dagger;

The following are the elements of this crime:

  • That an individual carried;
  • An explosive substance other than fixed ammunition;
  • A dirk or a dagger;
  • That the explosive substance, dirk or dagger was substantially concealed on your person; and
  • That you knowingly carried the substance, knife or other device capable of ready use as a stabbing weapon that might inflict great bodily injury or death;

The individual must know that there is a weapon being carried and the weapon is prohibited. Carrying the weapon means possession of an explosive substance, dirk or dagger, be it actual or constructive possession. There need not be any intent to use the weapon so long as one is carrying the weapon.

Furthermore, an explosive substance is a substance or a combination of substances whose purpose is detonation or rapid combustion capable of instantaneous or rapid release of gas and heat. A dirk or dagger is any other knife or instrument with or without a handguard capable to be used as a stabbing weapon that can inflict great bodily injury or death.

This criminal offense is a wobbler, meaning that it can be prosecuted as either a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the circumstances of the offense and the individual’s criminal history. If the offense is convicted as a misdemeanor, then the imposable penalties include summary probation, imprisonment of up to one year in county jail and payment of fines up to $1,000. For a felony conviction, the imposable penalties include formal probation, up to one year in county prison or up to sixteen (16) months or two (2) or three (3) years in state prison and payment of fines up to $10,000. A further penalty would be the confiscation and destruction of the weapon.

A related law to this offense is Sec 417 of the California Penal Code which penalizes the “drawing, exhibiting or use of a weapon in a threatening manner.” This can be prosecuted independently from the carrying a dirk, dagger or explosive substance offense.

The crime of possessing concealed dirks, daggers or explosives is a serious offense in California. Should you be or know anyone undergoing this process, do reach out to the lawyers at the Law Offices of Ramiro J. Lluis for a free consultation today.