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Note that a violation of the above laws is typically punishable by a fine. Sometimes, however, a violation can lead to misdemeanor charges (as opposed to a charge of a California felony or an infraction).
Also note that if a person shoots someone with a BG, he can be charged with either:
Our California criminal defense attorneys will answer the following five key questions about BB gun laws in the state:4. What are the penalties if a person shoots someone with a BB gun?
A violation of BB Gun laws can result in a fine and/or jail time
4. What are the penalties if a person shoots someone with a BB gun?
It is a crime in California if a person intentionally shoots a BB gun at another person, per California’s assault and battery laws. This holds true even if a person shoots at someone else and misses.
Depending on the specific facts involved in the shooting, the shooter could be charged with either:battery, per California Penal Code 242 PC,assault, per California Penal Code 240 PC, orassault with a deadly weapon, per California Penal Code 245(a)(1)
4.1. Battery, per Penal Code 242
Under PC 242, the California crime of battery consists of any willful and unlawful use of force or violence on someone else.10
Since intentionally shooting a BB gun at another (and hitting him) definitely involves the willful and unlawful use of force, it could be a battery if a person shot a BBG at another.
A violation of Penal Code 242 PC is a misdemeanor under California law. The offense is punishable by:a maximum fine of $2,000.11
4.2. Assault, per Penal Code 240
PC 240 defines an assault as an attempt to use force or violence on someone else.12 While a battery involves the actual use of force or violence, assault specifically focuses on the attempt to use such force or violence.
This means a person could be charged with assault if he shot a BB gun at a person and for whatever reason missed. Even though the intended victim was not hurt, the attempt to inflict violence still occurred.
Penal Code 240 is a misdemeanor under California law. The offense is punishable by:imprisonment in the county jail for up to six months; and/or,a maximum fine of $1,000.13
4.3. Assault with a deadly weapon, per Penal Code 245(a)(1)
PC 245(a)(1) says that the crime of assault with a deadly weapon (“ADW”) consists of an assault that is committed either with:a so-called “deadly weapon,” or
A “deadly weapon” is defined as any object, instrument, or weapon which is used in a manner that makes it capable of producing death or great bodily injury.
This includes the obvious deadly weapons such as guns and knives. But, it also includes items (like BB guns) that can be used in a way that could kill someone or cause them substantial harm.
“Great bodily injury” is defined as any serious impairment of someone’s physical condition. Some examples include:concussions,bone fractures, andwounds requiring extensive suturing.
Therefore, if a defendant assaulted another person by means of a BB gun, he could be charged with ADW if the facts also show that:the BB gun was used as a “deadly weapon;” or,in a way likely to cause “great bodily injury.”
A violation of PC 245(a)(1) is a wobbler offense, which means it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony.
If charged as a misdemeanor, the maximum jail sentence is one year in county jail. If charged as a felony, ADW can lead to two, three, or four years in state prison.
5. What are some important safety tips regarding BBGs?
There are four important safety tips regarding BB guns. These are:Follow all California State laws involving BBGs.Never use a BBG if you have been drinking or are under the influence of drugs.BB guns are not toys. They should be handled with care and used wisely.Every person that uses a BBG should get safety training on appropriate use.
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