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Possession of Nunchaku
PC 22010 Law & Defense

Information on the crime of possession of nunchaku is found at California penal code section 22010.

Nunchaku Defined: A nunchaku is a martial arts weapon consisting of two hardwood sticks joined together with a chain, rope or thong. It is the basic design of the weapon that is illegal, not the exact design. For example, if the hardwood sticks are replaced with metal, the weapon still qualifies as nunchaku.  

Possession Defined: Possession of nunchaku can be actual or constructive. Actual possession means that the defendant has the weapon on his person or within his immediate reach. Constructive possession means that the weapon is within the defendant's control and access.


For example, if the defendant is pulled over in his vehicle and the police find nunchaku in the defendant's vehicle, then the weapon is in actual possession of the defendant. On the other hand, if the weapon is in defendant's vehicle while his vehicle is parked at the defendant's house and the defendant is not home, then the defendant has constructive possession of the weapon. both actual and constructive possession will qualify as possession for purposes of PC 22010.

PC 22010: With some exceptions, it is illegal for any person to manufacture, import for sale, store for sale, offer for sale, lend, give or possess any nunchaku (Abbrev.).


Wobbler: PC 22010 is classified as a wobbler, which means that the crime may be charged as a misdemeanor or as a felony. Misdemeanor convictions carry less punishment than felony convictions. Whether the district attorney files misdemeanor or felony charges depends on the facts of the case and the defendant's criminal history.

Felony: When possession of nunchaku is charged as a felony the defendant may face up to 16 months, 2, or 3 years in jail (depending on the presence of any mitigating or aggravating factors in the case.

Misdemeanor: When possession of nunchaku is charged as a misdemeanor the defendant may face up to 1 year in the county jail.

Probation Sentence: A probation sentence is a period of supervision in lieu of actual jail. A probation sentence is allowed in PC 22010 cases, but it is not guaranteed. Whether or not the defendant will be granted a probation sentence after a conviction for possession of nunchaku depends on the facts of the case, the defendant's criminal history, the terms of any plea bargain , and more.

Note: Probation sentences for felony convictions are monitored by probation officers and probation sentences for misdemeanor convictions are monitored by the court (misdemeanor probation is also called informal, summary, or court probation).

Work Release: Jail sentences that are ordered as part of a probation sentence may usually be served alternatively on work release or house arrest. Work release is a type of manual labor wherein the defendant collects garbage around highways or jails. House arrest is an order to remain at home except for periods of time wherein the defendant is at work, school, doctors, etc.


PC 1170(h) Sentence: If the defendant is not granted a probation sentence after a conviction for PC 22010,then the defendant may serve his or her incarceration in a local county jail as opposed to a state prison. Also, any jail commitment related to possession of nunchaku may be split (served partially out of jail on work release), or suspended (not served unless the defendant violates his or her conditions of out of custody sentence).


Three Strikes Law: Possession of nunchaku is not a strike crime according to California's Three Strikes Sentencing Law.


CIMT: PC 22010 is not a crime involving moral turpitude; however, convictions for PC 22010 may still negatively affect professional licensing or immigration status (especially for a felony conviction).


In addition to the penalties listed above, if found guilty of PC 22010, the defendant may also suffer any of the following punishments: fines and fees, denial of entry into the US armed forces, criminal protective orders, civil lawsuits, loss of the right to own a firearm, and more.


Common defenses to a charge of possession of nunchaku include: insufficient evidence, mistake of fact (as to the defendant having a weapon in his possession, such as when another person places a weapon within the defendant's constructive possession without the defendant's knowledge), statute of limitations, insanity, duress, illegal search and seizure, and more.

Note: Temporary possession taken only for the purpose of self defense, defense of others, or in an emergency situation, is a defense to PC 22010. For example, if the defendant takes nunckaku from a person who is using the weapon against a third person without legal justification, the defendant has temporary possession of the weapon but it is only for the purpose of defending fthe third person (defense o others).

Martial Arts: Limited exceptions may apply to the law against possessing nunchaku in certain setting, such as under the guidance of an instructor at a school for martial arts or when used in sanctioned martial arts competition. 

If you have been arrested or charged possession of nunchaku (also manufacture, selling, storing, or giving nunchaku), or PC 22010, contact out criminal defense lawyers today for a free consultation. Thank you.



Quick Legal Reference​

Crime: Possession of Nunchaku

Code: PC 22010 (CalCrim No. 2500 et seq.)

Wobbler: Yes. PC 22010 is a wobbler crime. This means that PC 221010 may be charged as a felony or as a misdemeanor.


Incarceration:Felony PC 22010 jail sentence range: 16 months, 2 or 3 years. Misdemeanor jail sentence up to 1 year.

Probation: Probation is allowed in felony and misdemeanor PC 22010 cases (assuming other crimes or enhancements that bar a 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 22010 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 may apply

Strike: PC 22010 is not a strike offense listed in California's Three Strikes law.

Credits: 50% good conduct credits available.

CIMT: PC 22010 is not a crime involving moral turpitude.


Firearms: Felony PC 22010 convictions prohibit a defendant from owning or possessing a firearm. 

Bail: $25,000 (Felony); $5,000 (Misdemeanor) (San Bernardino)

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Hesperia, San Bernardino, Chino, Colton, Highland, Yucaipa, Ontario, Loma Linda, Rancho Cucamonga, Redlands, Victorville, Fontana, Rialto, Upland

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