In the late afternoon of Saturday, July 27, deputies working out of the SCV Sheriff Station were patrolling parking lots when they discovered a man lounging on a couch near a dumpster. The deputies recognized the individual as a man that business owners had previously complained about trespassing.
When the deputies approached the man, they noticed he had narcotics paraphernalia and pepper spray in plain view. Since the man had several felony convictions, he was not legally allowed to carry pepper spray. Therefore, he was arrested on charges involving illegal possession of pepper spray, narcotics paraphernalia, and trespassing, and taken to the Santa Clarita Sheriff Station.
Pepper spray is generally legal to carry on one’s person, provided the individual follows a few guidelines. The guidelines tend to vary from state-to-state, but in California, to legally carry pepper spray one must:
- Carry a container holding no more than 2.5 ounces of pepper spray
- The device can only dispel it in aerosol form
- The canister must have a visible warning that says you can only use it for self-defense purposes
- The manufacturer must include a shelf-life date as well as first-aid instructions on how to help someone who has been pepper sprayed
- The label must also include a description of the legal consequences if the spray is misused
Some people are not legally allowed to carry pepper spray. They include:
- Felons or convicts of assault crimes
- People convicted of misusing pepper spray
- Narcotic drug addicts
Violating California’s pepper spray laws can result in a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on which regulation(s) you break and how often. The potential penalties include up to 3 years in prison, a fine of up to $1,000, or both. Since the suspect has several charges against him, he will likely be facing significant jail time should he be convicted.