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Fourth Degree Criminal Possession of a Weapon: NY PL 265.01(1) Knife Crimes

A person is guilty of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Fourth Degree, pursuant to New York Penal Law 265.01(1) when that person possesses weapons specified in the statute regardless of that person's intent, purpose of goal. In other words, if you possess certain weapons, regardless of whether or not you intended to harm another person or use those weapons in any capacity at all, you are guilty of this misdemeanor weapon crime. Most New York gravity knife lawyers call this statute the “per se” weapon crime law.

A Common PL 265.01(1) Scenario: Gravity Knife or Switchblade Knife Arrest

Practically speaking, most attorneys familiar with switchblade laws in the New York City area see police and prosecutors charging defendants with the “per se” statute when that person is accused of possessing a gravity knife, switchblade knife or some other type of blade. Often time, police officers with the New York City Police Department will see the knife clip protruding from a person’s pocket. The officers will approach that person and either pat down the pocket or ask to see what is inside. Once they confirm it is a knife, the officers will further seek to corroborate it is a “per se” weapon of either a gravity knife or a switchblade knife. If you are like most innocent people accused of New York Penal Law 265.01(1), and you have limited or no prior contact with law enforcement, the NYPD will likely issue you a Desk Appearance Ticket. In this scenario you will avoid the stress of spending up to 24 hours in jail before seeing a criminal court judge in Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan or the Bronx. However, despite the fact that you were not put through the system, you have been arrested and a criminal case is pending against you.

As noted in the general misdemeanor weapon crime section, many jurisdictions in New York charge all weapon crimes as top-level offenses. In fact, the Manhattan District Attorney, for example, follows a guideline at arraignment, when you see a judge and are informed of the charges on the criminal complaint, that specifically does not permit any lower offer to those accused of a New York knife crime. In short, few, if any, experienced criminal lawyers will allow their clients to merely accept a criminal record by pleading guilty to Fourth Degree Criminal Possession of a Weapon. After all, many people accused of PL 265.01(1) had not idea their actions were criminal when they legitimately bought the knife at Home Depot, Lowes or a hardware store. Therefore, it is incumbent upon your counsel to ensure you plead not guilty if the appropriate resolution is not available and when the case is assigned to a prosecutor after your arraignment, challenge the legality of the search, determine whether or not the knife in question is a gravity or switchblade knife (your attorney can ask to see the weapon), and / or mitigate your alleged conduct. Failure to do so will prevent you from securing a non-criminal disposition.

New York Penal Law 265.01(1): Defining and Identifying Knives in Violation of the Law

While some knives are criminal merely to possess, some are only criminal if used in a particular way. The following knives are “per se” weapons:

Gravity Knife A gravity knife is a knife containing a blade that is released from its handle. This blade is released through the force of gravity. Once released, the blade will then lock into place usually by a button or similar device. A gravity knife can be opened with a motion as simple as a flick of the wrist.

Switchblade Knife Unlike a gravity knife, a switchblade knife springs open automatically when a button or pressure is applied to the handle.

Pilum Ballistic Knife Similar to a switchblade knife, a pilum ballistic knife utilizes some form of pressure on the handle to project a knife from within that handle.

Metal Knuckle Knife A combination between “brass knuckles” and a knife, only when the blade is open can a metal knuckle knife serve as both knuckles and a knife.

Whatever the knife crime you are arrested for in New York City or in a Hudson Valley city, town or county, it is critical to protect your future, livelihood, certifications, and clean record. Because failure to implement the best defense will leave you crippled by a criminal conviction, know that day or night you can count on the experience, knowledge and advocacy of the New York criminal lawyers and former Manhattan prosecutors at Saland Law.

Call the New York gravity knife lawyers and former Manhattan prosecutors at (212) 312-7129 or contact us online today.

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