22010. Except as provided in Section 22015 and Chapter 1
(commencing with Section 17700) of Division 2 of Title 2, any person
in this state who manufactures or causes to be manufactured, imports
into the state, keeps for sale, or offers or exposes for sale, or who
gives, lends, or possesses any nunchaku is punishable by
imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year or imprisonment
pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170.
What that last section means is that the offense can be charged as either a Misdemanor or a Felony depending on the mood of the prosecutor. In legalspeak it is called a "wobbler." If charged as a misdeamor the maximum sentence is 12 months in the county jail. If charged as a felony the maximum sentence (usually) is 36 months (usually) in the county jail.
There is nothing to add to Mr. Hagopian's great answer to your specific question. What I would like to add, however, is that if you are being charged under this statute, recent developments in constitutional law may provide you a new defense under the Second Amendment. It is by no means settled, but some court have found these weapons to be "arms" protected under the Second Amendment. As such, their possession for self-defense cannot be criminalized (at least not if you are inside your home).
You should speak to a few attorneys about your case and see what they say. Most offer free consultations. Choose the one you feel most comfortable with. But you should get a few opinions, especially if the attorneys you speak to discard the Second Amendment angle completely. They may not be aware of the current state of the law in that respect.
Michel & Associates, PC
Second Amendment Attorneys
All my comments here are intended for general legal purposes. None of my comments here establish an attorney-client relationship with anyone. None of my comments should be relied on in taking legal action without first consulting an attorney.
The charges can be a felony or a misdemeanor. The DA has the option to charge either as a felony or misdemeanor. Lastly the judge is some circumstances can reduce it to a misdemeanor even if the DA doesn't want to. Reductions are not common but they do occur.
You need an attorney either to (1) Attempt to get the charges reduced (2) Get the best possible resolution and (3) If needed fight for you at trial.
The above information does not establish an attorney client relationship nor is it meant to provide legal advice.
THIS IS A WOBBLER OFFENSE MEANING IT CAN BE CHARGED AT THE DISCRETION OF THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY AS EITHER A MISDEMEANOR OR FELONY. THIS IS WHY HIRING A GOOD CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY IS IMPORTANT BECAUSE THEY WILL BE ABLE TO MARSHAL THE EVIDENCE AND FACTS TO GET THE CHARGES DROPPED, OR THE FELONY REDUCED TO A MISDEMEANOR OR SOME OTHER RESOLUTION OR TAKE IT TO TRIAL IF NECESSARY.