New York Knife Possession Crimes: FAQ

by ECL Writer

New York has strict laws when it comes to knife possession. Understanding the regulations is crucial to avoid legal issues that could result in fines, imprisonment, or both. In this article, Eastcoastlaws.com will cover frequently asked questions about New York knife possession crimes to help you stay informed and avoid any legal troubles.

What Are The Knife Possession Laws In New York?

In New York, it is illegal to possess any gravity knife, switchblade knife, pilum ballistic knife, metal knuckle knife, billy, blackjack, bludgeon, or plastic knuckles.

What Knives Are Illegal To Carry In New York City & State?

Criminal defense attorneys knowledgeable in the Penal Law will inform you that carrying or owning certain knives, such as switchblades, metal knuckles, or pilum ballistics, in New York State or the City is prohibited and in violation of Penal Code 265.01. (1). You may also break Criminal Code 265.01(2) if it can be demonstrated that you meant to use the knife for an illegal purpose, such as to intimidate, threaten, or harm another person.

The NYPD, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, and most, if not all, other prosecutor’s offices see carrying any blade “for your protection” as an unlawful purpose, even though the legality of it is still somewhat debatable. That would imply that you would probably be detained, charged with a crime, and given an appearance ticket, desk appearance ticket, or DAT. Remember that you might spend up to a year in jail if you are found guilty of these offenses.

No matter how you plan to use them or why you are carrying them, some types of blades are prohibited from being in your possession, as was mentioned above. They are referred to as “per se” weapons, which means that the legislature has decided they are illegal per se and that there is no justification for owning them. Another opinion holds that because they are inherently hazardous, no one should ever own them. They include automatic weapons like stilettos or cane swords, switchblades, pilum ballistic knives, metal knuckle knives, and so forth.

What Is The Penalty For Possessing An Illegal Knife In New York?

Penal Code 265.01 is a class “A” misdemeanor that if found guilty carries a maximum one-year prison sentence. Yet, the law permits prosecutors to “bump up” your case to a class “D” felony of Penal Code 265.02 if you have any past criminal history (1). A court may impose a prison term of up to seven years in this situation. On the other hand, NYC has local legislation that can result in up to 15 days in jail.

Can I Carry A Pocket Knife In New York?

Yes, you can carry a pocket knife in New York as long as the blade is no longer than four inches and is not a gravity knife, switchblade, or other prohibited knife.

Yet, the answer to this question also fully depends on the features of the specific item. It may be acceptable to carry a pocket knife if it is not a “per se” weapon and the owner has no intention of using it for any illegal activity (or has no reason to believe that they were). Remember that whether or not they are in violation of Penal Code 265.01, knives longer than four inches are prohibited in New York City. Such a blade is prohibited per NYC Administrative Code 10-133.

Can I Carry A Knife For Self-Defense In New York?

No, it is not legal to carry a knife for self-defense in New York. The state has a strict “no weapons” policy, and carrying a knife for self-defense is considered a violation of the law.

Can I Possess a Butterfly Knife In New York?

In general, it is acceptable to own a butterfly knife as long as there is no intent to use it illegally. But, be aware that definitions of this type of “weapon” may differ, and if it does not comply with the law, it may be unlawful.

Are There Any Exceptions To The Knife Possession Laws In New York?

Yes, there are some exceptions to the knife possession laws in New York. For example, members of the military or law enforcement can carry certain knives as part of their duties. Additionally, individuals who use knives as part of their job, such as chefs, can carry certain types of knives while at work.

Can I Transport A Knife In My Car In New York?

Yes, you can transport a knife in your car in New York as long as it is in a closed container and not readily accessible to the driver or passengers.

What Should I Do If I Am Charged With A Knife Possession Crime In New York?

If you are charged with a knife possession crime in New York, it is important to seek legal representation as soon as possible. A qualified attorney can help you understand your rights and work to minimize the penalties you may face.

What is the Legal Size Of A Knife In NYC?

Notwithstanding the fact that the state has no size restrictions, AC 10-133 forbids carrying knives with blades longer than four inches. Given that we have them in the kitchen, for instance, and that they are easily accessible in stores all around the United States, this would seem absurd. Despite the obvious problems, owning such a thing is illegal regardless of the reason why; it’s punished by a fine or up to 15 days in jail. It goes without saying that in these situations, police discretion is severely weighted, and the law is enforced through the use of “pink” summonses.

Is It Legal To Carry A Gravity Knife?

A knife is referred to as a gravity knife if it contains a blade inside the handle that can be released by either gravity or centrifugal force and then locks in place in the open position. For many years, simply owning this “weapon”—even without intending to use it for any illegal activity—was a crime. This term is extremely inclusive and might be used to any varieties of what are typically regarded as “regular” knives, such as those used for work and easily accessible on online or in stores like Home Depot.

On May 30, 2019, Governor Cuomo approved a bill that struck these items from the list of “per se” firearms under the legislation. This measure updated the legislation to comply with a federal court ruling that said our laws in this area were unconstitutional because they were too ambiguous. The fact that these blades are no longer regarded as “deadly weapons” is also important. Hence, as long as no other circumstances exist that may otherwise render it criminal, carrying is now legal.

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