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Possession of a Dirk or Dagger Laws (PC 16590(i), PC 16470, & PC 21310) in California

California Penal Code 21310: Possession of a Dirk or Dagger

Legal Definition: Any person in this state who carries concealed upon the person any dirk or dagger can be charged with a misdemeanor or felony offense.

For a person to be convicted of a violation of PC 21310, the prosecution must prove the following:

1. You carried on your person a dirk or dagger;

2. You knew that you were carrying it;

3. It was substantially concealed on your person;


4. You knew that it could readily be used as a stabbing weapon.

What does this mean?

A dirk or dagger is a knife or other instrument with or without a handguard that is capable of ready use as a stabbing weapon that may inflict great bodily injury or death. Great bodily injury means significant or substantial physical injury. It is an injury that is greater than minor or moderate harm. A knife carried in a sheath and worn openly suspended from the waist of the wearer is not concealed. It does not need to prove that you intended to use the dirk or dagger as a weapon, but only that you knew that the dirk or dagger could be readily used. In addition, a conviction under this section generally also carries with it a lifetime ban from a person to legally own a firearm in the state of California.


Carrying a concealed dirk or dagger is a wobbler offense, meaning it could be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. If you are convicted under PC 21310/16590/16470 as a misdemeanor offense, you could be sentenced to County Jail for up to one year. If you are convicted of these offenses are a felony, you could be sentenced to State Prison for upwards of 16 months, 2 or 3 years. You would be required to serve 50% of that sentence in Jail or Prison. Whether you are charged with a felony or a misdemeanor charge here is based on the specific facts of your case, as well as your criminal history.

Carrying a concealed dirk or dagger is not a strike offense under the Three Strike Law. Carrying a concealed dirk or dagger is not considered a crime of moral turpitude, which means that the crime is not considered a crime that can affect Immigration Status or a person’s Professional License. However, people who are in the United States on a temporary basis could face additional issues, even if the crime is not a Crime of Moral Turpitude.

Common Defenses

  1. Statute of Limitations
  2. Insufficient Evidence
  3. Violation of your Rights
  4. Mistake of Fact

A common defense here is that you did not actually conceal the weapon in a substantial way, thus making your charge unable to be proved because there is insufficient evidence to prove this element of the crime. Another defense is having a concealed weapon, but it is covered in a sheath, so it is not readily able to be used. This can be because there is some kind of locking mechanism on the sheath, among other ways it can prevent this access to the dirk or dagger.

Call Today

Charges under PC 21310, which involve the illegal possession of a concealed dirk or dagger, carry consequences far beyond the prospect of jail time. A conviction can result in the permanent loss of your Second Amendment rights, including the ability to own and possess firearms. Moreover, the repercussions may extend to significant financial penalties, a lengthy probation period, and, for non-citizens, the potential for deportation from the United States.

Given these severe potential outcomes, the importance of securing a knowledgeable and assertive criminal defense attorney cannot be overstated. At Inland Empire Criminal Defense in Ontario, CA, our PC 21310 attorney has a proven track record of successfully defending clients against possession offenses and similar charges.

Why Choose Inland Empire Criminal Defense for Your PC 21310 Case?

  • Experienced Legal Representation: Our dedicated PC 21310 Ontario criminal defense attorney brings a wealth of experience to the table, having successfully navigated numerous cases involving possession offenses.
  • Personalized Defense Strategies: Understanding the unique circumstances of each case, we provide tailored defense strategies aimed at achieving the best possible outcomes, whether that means case reduction or outright dismissal.
  • Round-the-Clock Support: Recognizing the urgency and stress associated with facing criminal charges, we offer 24/7 availability to address your concerns and answer any questions you may have.

Initiate Your Defense Today

If you or a loved one is facing charges under PC 21310, taking immediate action is critical. Engaging with an experienced criminal defense attorney can significantly impact the direction and outcome of your case.

Contact Inland Empire Criminal Defense

Don’t let a possession offense dictate the course of your future. Reach out to Inland Empire Criminal Defense at 909-939-7126 for a free initial consultation. Our commitment to your defense is unwavering, and we’re prepared to utilize our expertise and resources to fight for your rights. Our office is conveniently located in Ontario, CA, making it easily accessible for clients throughout the Inland Empire.

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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