Law Offices of Jess C. Bedore III - Certified Specialist in Criminal Law
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Can you buy and carry pepper spray in California?

If you're looking for a self-defense weapon that you can legally carry, but you want something that is non-lethal, you may be leaning toward mace or pepper spray. It's important to know how the laws in California govern the buying and use of this substance. You don't want to run into criminal allegations simply because you made assumptions about the law and didn't look into it far enough.

First off, pepper spray is legal within the state. You can carry it, and, if someone attacks you, you have the right to use it to defend yourself. You don't need a permit to do this.

There are laws about how much you can have. The maximum amount in the can has to be no more than 2.5 ounces. This is for the active product. Smaller amounts are fine, of course, but no more than 2.5 ounces is permitted.

Additionally, retailers are supposed to put a warning label on the pepper spray can telling you that you're only legally allowed to use it in a self-defense situation. You have to fear for your own health -- and perhaps your life -- to use it. If you use it illegally -- perhaps by using it as an offensive weapon -- you could face three years behind bars and/or fines of $1,000.

You have a right to protect yourself, but you must use protective weapons in a way that matches up with state laws. If you think you did so and you're facing weapon's charges or assault charges anyway, remember that you have the right to a fair trial. You get your day in court to tell your side of the story.

Source: Pepper Spray Store, "California Pepper Spray Use Laws and Ownership Regulations," accessed Dec. 08, 2016

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