Possession Of Or Bringing A Weapon Into Court – Penal Code Section 171
It’s illegal to bring any sort of a weapon into a courthouse in Los Angeles County that would violate Penal Code Section 171. It would probably also violate other Penal Code sections depending on what type of a weapon it was and what the circumstances were. The types of weapons that are obviously excluded from being brought into court are knives, guns, any other type of weapons – tear gas, any weapons that would be illegal to possess would obviously be illegal to bring into court. The courthouses – I’ve been doing this for twenty-five years – going in and out of the LA courthouses, and the courthouses are very particular about what you can bring in there. If anything is related that looks like any type of a firing device – even lighters or matches – anything that can be used as a weapon, if though if it is not normally thought of as a weapon – they’re not going to let you bring it in.
So, if you bring a weapon into court, again, depending on the circumstances, they will arrest you right there on the spot, seize the weapon, and obviously they won’t have far to take you to get you into custody so, it’s not a good idea to bring a weapon into court and violate Penal Code Section 171. Sometimes what I see though is that the circumstances surrounding the weapon being brought into court in LA are not that serious and the person really didn’t do it on purpose. Under those circumstances, obviously, you have a fighting chance at a defense and a lot of times we can work things out. But if on the other hand, it’s clear you brought the weapon in the court intentionally and they think you were going to use it in the court in any way, you’re looking at a significant amount of time in prison, and it’s a very serious offense.
Defenses To Bringing A Weapon In Court Pursuant To Penal Code Section 171
One defense would be you did not know you had the weapon. I’ll tell you, one time I saw an attorney who had a case where part of the case was there was a replica gun – it basically looked exactly like a gun – but it was a lighter. His client had allegedly used it to commit a crime in Los Angeles County and unbeknownst to him when he got all the discovery from the prior attorney, the gun was placed inside of his briefcase, so he goes in through the metal detector in one of the Los Angeles courts and obviously they see gun – he’s immediately grabbed and seized. Obviously, in that scenario, he didn’t even know he had the gun in there. That’s not going to be a situation where he’s going to be prosecuted for anything. It’s a mistake, and in fact, there’s an argument that it’s a lighter, it’s not a weapon. So, if it’s not a situation where it’s actually a real weapon that can be used as a weapon, then obviously you’re not going to be prosecuted. But if on the other hand, you’re bringing the fake gun into court to use it in some way to commit some sort of a crime, threaten somebody, help an inmate escape or some other reason someone would bring some sort of a weapon or a replica weapon into court, then obviously they’re going to treat that very seriously.
They don’t mess around in the courts. They make you take off your belt, your shoes in some of the courts, take all things out of your pockets, so, if you bring a weapon into a court and you violate Penal Code Section 171, there’s going to be consequences and it’s going to be serious. You need to get in front of a criminal defense attorney immediately. Get your revision of events across to that attorney. Let them know exactly what happened. Don’t put any spin on things; really give them the truth about what happened so that they can help you. You don’t know how many criminal defendants are crossing through their days every day. So, the bottom line is, you need to get someone on your side to turn the tide in your favor in one of these possession of a weapon in court cases and let the attorney do some damage control here – mitigate the situation and do everything they can to get you out of the criminal justice system as fast as possible, get your side of the story out there and do some damage control here so that your freedom, your rights, your reputation and your record can be preserved.
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