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Possession of an Assault Weapon
PC 30605 Law, Sentence, & Defense

Information on the crime of possession of an assault weapon is found at California penal code section 30605. 


An assault weapon includes, but is not limited to, the following: 


  • A semiautomatic, center fire rifle that does not have a fixed magazine but has any one of the following:​

  • A folding or telescoping stock

  • A flash suppressor

  • Pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon

  • A semiautomatic, center fire rifle that has a fixed magazine with the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds

  • A semiautomatic, center fire rifle that has an overall length of less than 30 inches

  • A semiautomatic pistol that does not have a fixed magazine but has any one of the following:

  • A threaded barrel, capable of accepting a flash suppressor, forward handgrip, or silencer
  • A second handgrip

  • A shroud that is attached to, or partially or completely encircles, the barrel that allows the bearer to fire the weapon without burning the bearer’s hand, except a slide that encloses the barrel.

  • The capacity to accept a detachable magazine at some location outside of the pistol grip.

  • A semiautomatic pistol with a fixed magazine that has the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds​

  • Any shotgun with a revolving cylinder.

Note: The above list is a partial list of the type of firearms that qualify as an assault weapon.

Note: Antique firearms are not considered assault weapons. In addition, the law carves out exceptions for some pistols that might otherwise qualify as assault weapons due to their characteristics.

Note: 30605 does not apply to the possession of an assault weapon by a person who has possessed the assault weapon prior to January 1, 2017, if all of the following are applicable:
  • (a) Prior to January 1, 2017, the person was eligible to register that assault weapon (Abbrev.).

  • (b) The person lawfully possessed the assault weapon prior to January 1, 2017.

  • (c) The person registers the assault weapon by January 1, 2018 (Abbrev.)


Note: Other restrictions and requirements may apply.


Possession Defined: Possession of a n assault weapon does not mean that the defendant has to have the assault weapon on his or her person. Possession can be actual (on his or her person) or constructive. Constructive possession means the defendant has access and control over the assault weapon. For example, if the defendant has an assault weapon in his or her vehicle, which is registered to the defendant, the defendant may have constructive possession of that assault weapon.


Jail: PC 30605 is charged as a misdemeanor or as a felony. When PC 30605 is charged as a felony the defendant may face up to thee years in jail. When PC 30605 is charged as a misdemeanor the defendant may face up to one year in the county jail.

PC 1170(h): Jail sentences for PC 30605 are served in county jail (even for felony charges). In addition, a jail sentence after a conviction for possessing an assault weapon may be split or suspended (also called joint suspension), which means the defendant may serve part of his or her jail sentence out of custody on work release or house arrest (split) or not served at all subject to a subsequent violation by the defendant (suspended).

Probation: Probation sentence , with or without some work release, are allowed in PC 34065 cases, but they are not guaranteed. Whether or not the defendant will be granted a probation sentence after a conviction for possession of an assault weapon depends largely on the defendant's criminal history , if any, and the facts of the case.

Note: PC 30605 crimes are neither strike offenses under California's Three Strikes Law, nor crimes involving moral turpitude (for immigration and professional licensing concerns).

In addition to the penalties listed above, if found guilty of possession of an assault weapon, the defendant may face any of the following : criminal protective orders (restraining orders), forfeiture of the assault weapon, fines and court fees, denial of entry into the military , loss of the right to own or possess a firearm, and more.

PC 30605 Defenses: See Defense to Crime

If you have been arrested or charged with possession of a n assault weapon, or PC 30605, contact out criminal defense lawyers today for a free consultation. Our criminal defense lawyers will explain all of your rights and possible defenses to a an PC 30605 charge. Call today!.



Quick Legal Reference​

Crime: Possession of an Assault Weapon

Code: PC 30605 (CalCrim No. 2560-2561)

Wobbler: Yes. PC 30605 is a wobbler crime. This means that PC 30605 may be charged as a felony or as a misdemeanor.


Incarceration:Felony PC 30605 jail sentence range: 16 months, 2 or 3 years jail. Misdemeanor jail sentence up to 1 year.

Probation: Probation is available in both felony and misdemeanor PC 30605 cases (assuming other crimes / enhancements that bar probation sentence are not present). Whether or not a probation sentence is offered by the District Attorney, or granted by the court, depends on several factors, including the defendant's criminal history and the facts of the case.​

Work Release or House Arrest: In some cases, a probation sentence can include actual in-custody county jail, house arrest (electronic monitoring), or work release (or some combination of these penalties); however, most in-custody jail sentence orders that are required as a terms of probation are much shorter than the maximum jail sentence.

PC 1170(h)): Yes. PC 30605 is subject to PC 1170(h) sentencing. This means that any jail or prison sentence may be:

  • Split (half in-custody / half out-of-custody)

  • Suspended (possibly never served)

  • Served in county jail (not state prison)

  • Note: Limitations ma apply

Strike: PC 30605 is not a strike offense listed in California's Three Strikes law.

Credits: 50% good conduct credits available.

CIMT: PC 30605 is not a crime involving moral turpitude.


Firearms: Felony PC 30605 convictions prohibit a defendant from owning or possessing a firearm.  Misdemeanor convictions prohibit the defendant from owning or possessing a firearm for 10 years. 

Bail: $25,000 (Felony); $5000 (Misdemeanor) (San Bernardino) 

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