Penal Code 17235 PC defines a switchblade as a pocketknife with a blade of 2 or more inches that can be released by a flick of a button, pressure on the handle, flip of the wrist or another mechanical device. If you knew you were carrying a knife, but you didn’t know it had the characteristics of a switchblade. 3 1 It should also be noted that a pocketknife that was legal when manufactured, but is broken or modified so that it will open freely, is a switchblade within the meaning of the statute. Penalties for mailing a switchblade or ballistic knife include: California and federal laws making it a crime to carry a concealed switchblade were first enacted in 1957 and 1958, respectively. Subscribers all over the U.S. received their new copy of Woman’s Home Companion. Under Penal Code 21310 PC, carrying a concealed dirk or dagger is a wobbler, meaning it could be filed as a misdemeanor or a felony. Violation of Penal Code 21510 PC is a misdemeanor under California law, that can be punished by as much as: Often, however, California misdemeanor violations are punished by misdemeanor (summary) probation, with little or no jail time. Mautner v. Quattrone (1989) 211 Cal.App.3d 1389, Understanding Bias Toward Closure and Knife Mechanisms, People v. Barrios (1992) 7 Cal.App.4th 501. Definitely recommend! See our related article on California’s laws on dirks and daggers. That amendment also added language exempting from the definition of switchblade knives containing a detent or other mechanism giving the knife a bias toward closure.44. (There are certain exceptions, such as where the knife is for use in a “lawful occupation, for lawful recreational purposes, or as a recognized religious practice.”) The County of Los Angeles has a similar rule, which makes it illegal to openly carry, in public, “any knife having a blade of three inches or more in length; any spring-blade, switch-blade or snap-blade knife; any knife any blade of which is automatically released by a spring mechanism or other mechanical device; any ice pick or similar sharp stabbing tool; any straight-edge razor or any razor blade fitted to a handle.” In other words, it is illegal in Los Angeles County to openly carry any knife with a blade of 3″ or longer. 16 months, or two or three years in county jail, and/or. Nonetheless, the Los Angeles law is still on the books. The three most common types of knives — switchblades, folding knives, and fixed blade knives (also known as dirks and daggers) — have certain rules surrounding them and are explained in more detail below. California criminal defense attorney Neil Shouse explains what spring assisted knives are, and if they are legal in California. California Penal Code 21110 – Except as provided in 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 ballistic knife is punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year or imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170. 18 USC § 1716 – Injurious articles as nonmailable. Your knife doesn’t meet the legal definition of a switchblade. Sometimes, however, people with legal folding knives are accused of carrying switchblades. Penal Code 171b PC makes it a crime to bring or possesses within any state or local public building — or at any meeting required to be open to the public — any of the following: Violations of Penal Code 171b are punishable by up to one year in county jail as a misdemeanor, or up to 3 years in California state prison as a felony. Knives that are misleading or undetectable by a metal detector. When Jane’s grandfather died, he left her a small butterfly knife, with a 3″ blade, which he got in the Philippines during World War II. This includes, cane swords, belt-buckle knives, lipstick case knives, air gauge knives, writing pen knives, etc. Misdemeanor penalties include up to 1-year county jail and/or up to a $1,000 fine. imprisonment of not more than one (1) year. (b) Carries the knife upon the person. 4 5. Before you can be convicted for violating Penal Code 21510 PC, the prosecutor must prove that: The prosecutor does not need to prove that you used — or intended to use — the switchblade as a weapon.14 If you knowingly have a switchblade on your person… or in the interior cabin of a motor vehicle… you violate Penal Code 21510, even if you had no intention of using it as a weapon. Part III of the Criminal Code defines such knives as prohibited weapons (armes défendues). .” The law with regard to college campuses is similar, but less restrictive. 2. Mautner v. Quattrone (1989) 211 Cal.App.3d 1389, 1395 [260 Cal.Rptr. If you or a loved one is charged with Penal Code 17235 PC & 21510 PC carrying a switchblade and you are looking to hire a criminal defense attorney for representation, we invite you to contact us at Shouse Law Group. See also, note 3. However, the California Courts have determined that butterfly knives fit within the definition of switchblades. Various knives disguised as other objects are prohibited. The following are considered capable of ready use as a stabbing weapon that may inflict great bodily injury or death… only if the blade of the knife is exposed and locked into position: Legal defenses to carrying a concealed dirk or dagger. (People ex rel. The Gerardoi court rejected the holding of Bass, and found that the city code was valid. Only switchblades are illegal in California. As a misdemeanor, carrying a concealed dirk or dagger carries possible penalties of: Under Penal Code 20200 – California’s “open-carry” knife law — you may carry a dirk or dagger on your person as long as it is: Folding knives that don’t meet the legal definition of a switchblade may also be concealed on your person, as long as they are carried in the folded position. How does California law define a switchblade? a lack of cooperation with the police during your arrest. It is important to remember that state laws are not always the same as the local or federal laws. You must adhere to these conditions in order to avoid going to jail… or returning to jail. Effective January 1, 2012, Penal Code 16965, 17235, and 21510 replaced, without substantive change, former Penal Code 653k. air gauge knives [items that appear to be air gauges, but are actually knives]. Source(s): 30+ years as a criminal defense attorney. Shouse Law Group › Criminal Defense › Penal Code › 21510 PC - Possession of a Switchblade. 653k.) up to six months in county jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. Switchblades and other spring-loaded knives in excess of 2″ length are illegal to possess on your person or in your vehicle in California, and are also not legal to sell, loan, or give away. Yes Are automatic/switchblades allowed? On appeal, the defendant cited the Bass case, arguing that the city code was invalid. specifically Hayward, CA. See also CalCrim No. . that may inflict great bodily injury or death. A few caveats, however: First, remember that carrying any weapon, even one that’s legal, can cause you a lot of grief with law enforcement. With those warnings out of the way, California laws covering many types of knives including switchblades, daggers, and disguised blades are discussed below. This might happen if the arresting officer or a prosecutor is able to open your knife one-handed with a sharp flick of his or her wrist, despite the presence of a detent. App. This unfortunately makes butterfly knives illegal to carry in the State of California. Possess the knife in the passenger’s or driver’s area of any motor vehicle in any public place or place open to the public, Carry the switchblade upon your person, or. Penal Code 626.10(a)(1) PC makes it illegal to bring any of the following onto a public or private school instructing children in grades kindergarten to 12: Violation of Penal Code 626.10 is punishable by up to one (1) year in county jail. Such mechanisms ensure there is a measure of resistance (no matter how slight) that prevents the knife from being easily opened with a flick of the wrist. Ballistic knives are a special type of spring-loaded knife, and are covered under Penal Code 16220 and Penal Code 21110.7 Possession of a ballistic knife is punishable by up to one (1) year in county jail. Switchblades are generally legal to possess under Nevada state knife laws, but local governments often restrict the length of the blade and where switchblades may be carried. Other knives may or may not be legal, depending on how and where you carry them, and where you are in California. Currently Bowie Knives are legal in California, as they have not been restricted by any existing regulation. It defines a “switchblade knife” as any knife having a blade which opens automatically by either: Under the federal switchblade law, it is a crime to: “Interstate commerce” means commerce between any State, Territory, possession of the United States, or the District of Columbia, and any place outside thereof.38. What is prohibited under Penal Code 21510 PC? What can a defense attorney do to fight the charges? It is enough for you to have control over the switchblade, or the right to control it, either personally or through another person.15. Code, § 21510 for exact statutory language of this misdemeanor infraction. What is even more interesting is that other, more recent cases completely contradict the decision in People v. Bass. Possession of Knives on School Grounds – Penal Code § 626.10, It is illegal for any person to bring or possess “any dirk, dagger, ice pick, knife having a blade longer than 2 1/2 inches, folding knife with a blade that locks into place, [or] razor with an unguarded blade . Since the weapon is right next to your body, a prosecutor will most likely be able to prove you knew you had a switchblade on your person. You didn’t know that you were carrying a switchblade. “novelty” knives, such as belt buckle knives and cane swords. Penal Code 626.10(a)(1) – Any person, except a duly appointed peace officer as defined in Chapter 4.5 (commencing with Section 830) of Title 3 of Part 2, a full-time paid peace officer of another state or the federal government who is carrying out official duties while in this state, a person summoned by any officer to assist in making arrests or preserving the peace while the person is actually engaged in assisting any officer, or a member of the military forces of this state or the United States who is engaged in the performance of his or her duties, who brings or possesses any dirk, dagger, ice pick, knife having a blade longer than 2 1/2 inches, folding knife with a blade that locks into place, razor with an unguarded blade, taser, or stun gun, as defined in subdivision (a) of Section 244.5, any instrument that expels a metallic projectile such as a BB or a pellet, through the force of air pressure, CO2 pressure, or spring action, or any spot marker gun, upon the grounds of, or within, any public or private school providing instruction in kindergarten or any of grades 1 to 12, inclusive, is guilty of a public offense, punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170. Even though Jane never had any intention of using the knife as a weapon, she gets charged with the crime of possession of a switchblade. “Motorcyclists representing Motorcyclists”. These knives serve an important utility to many knife users, as well as firefighters, EMT personnel, hunters, fishermen, and others.”43. It contained one of the most lurid examples of anti-knife muckraking to ever be written, an article titled, The Toy That Kills. It is important to note that Penal Code § 626.10 has very broad exceptions for the 2 1/2″ blade length limit on school grounds for lawful uses such as food prep, eating, residences, and scope of employment. introduce or transport a switchblade in interstate commerce. The state of California has ruled that a Balisong knife is a switchblade because of how easily it can be opened. Being accused or arrested for a crime does not necessarily mean you will be convicted in court. Subsection (b) of the statute provides that it is illegal for any person to bring or possess “any dirk, dagger, ice pick, or knife having a fixed blade longer than 2 1/2 inches upon the grounds of, or within, any [college or university].”. Worse, California courts have been inconsistent in ruling on the enforceability of these local laws. What does it mean “knowingly” to carry a switchblade? Why are butterfly knives illegal in California? You are caught with a switchblade tucked into the waistband of your jeans. 2502 for California jury instruction regarding switchblades. Very helpful with any questions and concerns and I can't thank them enough for the experience I had. Switchblades are illegal to carry and to possess in Michigan. As a result, law enforcement or the courts have been compelled to return these dangerous weapons.”41, To plug up this hole, in 2001, then-state Senator Betty Karnette introduced California SB 274. Any fixed blade knife can be a “dirk or dagger” under California law and should be carried openly in a sheath suspended from the waist. Thus, most utility knives and folding pocket knives, regardless of length, are not switchblades under Penal Code 17235… as long as there is some mechanism that provides resistance to opening the knife. The federal change was made after intense lobbying efforts by knife owners, retailers and manufacturers, who were concerned that prior restrictions on switchblade possession were making pocket knives, as well as work and hunting knives, illegal. Each of the above issues is discussed in greater detail below. Switchblades having the blade of more than two inches are illegal in California for carrying openly, selling, transferring or anything related to these. Fortunately, there are a number of legal defenses that a good criminal defense lawyer can present on your behalf. . Specifically, if a switchblade has a blade two inches or more in length, it is a crime to: Violation of California’s switchblade laws is a misdemeanor offense, punishable by either: Unlike some other knives, which may be carried on your person if closed or if openly worn, switchblades may not be carried at all, even if the blade is not exposed.2 In other words, there is no “open-carry” exception to the switchblade laws. Moreover, a detent or similar mechanism is prudent and a matter of public safety as it will ensure that a blade will not inadvertently come open. Furthermore, are daggers illegal in California? Writing in support of SB 274, the American Knife and Tool Institute wrote: “The exception for one-handed opening knives was designed to decriminalize the legitimate use of these extremely functional tools by law-abiding citizens. See People ex rel. Penal Code 16470. Federal switchblade law 15 USC 1241 – 44 and 18 USC 1716, 8. Under Penal Code 21510 PC, California law makes it a crime to carry, possess in public, sell or give away a switchblade. Read more from shouselaw.com and duilawyers. Violation of California's switchblade laws is a misdemeanor offense, punishable by either: Probation, and/or. And if you carry a switchblade concealed on your person, you could be charged instead with a violation of Penal Code 21310, which prohibits carrying a concealed “dirk” or “dagger.”3 If you are convicted of carrying a concealed dirk or dagger, you could face up to 3 years in state prison. There are no blade length laws. In California, it is illegal to brandish any deadly weapon, including knives. A similar concern was addressed in the 2009 amendment to the Switchblade Knife Act of 1958, 15 U.S.C.1241- 45. Most laws about non-firearm weapons are by state, with very few existing at the Federal level. Penal Code 20200 PC — A knife carried in a sheath that is worn openly suspended from the waist of the wearer is not concealed within the meaning of Section 16140 [air gauge knife], 16340 [cane sword], Section 17350 [writing pen knife], or 21310 [dirks and daggers]. Switchblades are subject to strict limitations in California. At Law Offices of Patrick S. Aguirre we can work with you or your loved one if they are facing a charge in California. To clarify the legislative intent behind the proposed amendment, Senator Karnette wrote a letter, dated July 18, 2001, which was read into the Senate’s official record. 15 USC 1243 – Manufacture, sale, or possession within specific jurisdictions; penaltyWhoever, within any Territory or possession of the United States, within Indian country (as defined in section 1151 of title 18), or within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States (as defined in section 7 of title 18), manufactures, sells, or possesses any switchblade knife, shall be fined not more than $2,000 or imprisoned not more than five years, or both. Felony penalties include up to 3 years in county jail and/or up to a $10,000 fine. Ballistic (throwing) knives are illegal. What Should I Do After a Motorcycle Accident? Penal Code 16600 PC — As used in Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 25100) of Division 4 of Title 4, “great bodily injury” means a significant or substantial physical injury. Usually it will be easy to tell whether your knife meets the legal definition. has a blade, or blades, two or more inches in length, which can be released automatically by: thumb pressure applied solely to the blade of the knife, or, provides resistance that must be overcome in opening the blade, or. Note that you do not need actually to hold or touch a switchblade in order to possess it. in a rude, angry, or threatening manner, or . At the time, movies like West Side Story and Rebel Without a Cause were popularizing the image of a young delinquent with a switchblade or flick knife.