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Penal Code 136.5: Possession of a Deadly Weapon for the Purposes of Intimidating a Witness Laws in California

PC 136.5: Possession of a Deadly Weapon for the Purposes of Intimidating a Witness

Legal Definition:  “Any person who has upon his person a deadly weapon with the intent to use such weapon to commit a violation of Section 136.1 is guilty of an offense punishable by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than one year, or in the state prison.”

To be found guilty under PC 136.5 the prosecution must prove that you:

  1. You had upon your person a deadly weapon;


  1. You intended to use the deadly weapon to intimidate a witness under PC 136.1.

What does this mean?

A deadly weapon can be obvious items such as a firearm or a knife, but it can also be something as simple as a bottle or a broom. There is no specific definition in California of what a deadly weapon, but it is typically based on the facts of each case. A broom, or a bat, if used in a way to attack another, can be considered a deadly weapon.

This criminal charge essentially expands upon a person who commits the crime of Intimidating a Witness but does this with a deadly weapon. You must also have intended to use the deadly weapon on you, to intimidate another person. In other words, having a firearm or other deadly weapon on you, is not enough for this charge, if you lack the intent to intimidate the witness with that deadly weapon.


A violation under PC 136.5 is a wobbler offense in California. This means you can be charged with this section as a misdemeanor or as a felony offense. Whether you are charged with a felony or a misdemeanor is based on your criminal history and the specific facts of your case. If you are convicted of this charged as a felony, you could be sentenced to State Prison for up to 16 months, 2 or 3 years. If you are convicted of this section as a misdemeanor you could be sentenced to up to one year in County Jail. You would have to serve at least 50% of that time in custody. You would also lose your ability to own or possess a firearm for a misdemeanor conviction in California. This is a lifetime ban if this is a felony conviction.

This is not a strike offense under the California Three Strikes law, and it is not a Sex Offense under PC 290. You could also face a loss of your Professional License if convicted, and if you are not a legal resident, you could face Deportation in Immigration Court since this crime is a crime of moral turpitude.

Common Defenses

  1. Statute of Limitations
  2. Violation of Rights
  3. Insufficient Evidence
  4. Coerced Confessions

You cannot be convicted under this section if you lack the intent to commit the crime. As mentioned, this requires you intentionally using the deadly weapon to commit the crime of intimidating a witness. If you simply are armed with a deadly weapon, but don’t use it, or do not use it in order to intimidate a witness, you cannot be found guilty under this section. Failing to show intent, would mean there is insufficient evidence to prove you guilty of the charge.

Generally speaking, a person who confesses to a crime that is forced out of them by police conduct, it would be inadmissible to be used against them in Court. This makes logical sense, if the police force a confession out of a person illegally, it should not be able to be brought into Court to be used against them. Generally, this can happen during police interrogations where police, believing they have their person, do whatever it takes to make you confess. They can do this through physical abuse or psychological abuse. If police coerce you into confessing to this charge, your Ontario Criminal Defense Attorney can argue this defense, to throw out the confession in your case. This will not dismiss your case, but can strongly push the DA in your case to dismiss if they lack other evidence of you committing this crime.

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The repercussions of a criminal conviction extend far beyond the potential of jail time. It can profoundly impact fundamental rights, such as voting and firearm ownership, sometimes for a decade or even for life. Understanding and navigating these consequences is crucial, particularly when facing charges under PC 136.5 – Intimidation of Witnesses.

In Ontario, our PC 136.5 attorney at Inland Empire Defense is highly experienced in defending against Intimidation of Witness crimes, including those under PC 136.5. Our attorney’s comprehensive understanding of these specific charges ensures that your case is handled with the utmost expertise and dedication.

We recognize the gravity of these accusations and the importance of a strong legal defense to protect your rights and future. Our goal is to provide exceptional legal representation, aiming to achieve the best possible outcome for your case.

If you’re facing charges under PC 136.5, it’s imperative to seek experienced legal counsel promptly. Our Ontario-based team is prepared to offer you the necessary support and defense strategies tailored to your unique situation.

Contact Inland Empire Defense, your local Rancho Cucamonga Criminal Defense Attorney, at 909-939-7126. We are located in Ontario and are ready to assist you with your legal needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Absolutely, Inland Empire Criminal Defense prioritizes your privacy and confidentiality. Every consultation with our attorney is conducted with the utmost discretion, ensuring your information remains secure and private.

Yes, understanding the financial pressures that can come with legal representation, our attorney offers flexible payment plans. This approach ensures that quality legal defense is accessible for all our clients in Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties.

Yes, Inland Empire Criminal Defense offers free consultations. This is part of our commitment to providing accessible and transparent legal services to residents of Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties.

We offer both in-person and over-the-phone consultations to accommodate your preferences and needs. Whether you’re in Riverside, San Bernardino, or Los Angeles County, we ensure that you can access our legal services in the way that suits you best.

Our office is typically closed on weekends. However, we do make exceptions for meetings by special arrangement. Our commitment is to be as accommodating as possible to meet the unique needs of our clients in Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties.

Our legal services are specifically tailored to residents of Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties. For cases outside these areas, we recommend consulting to find appropriate legal assistance. Our focused approach allows us to provide specialized defense catering to the unique legal landscape of these counties.

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