As a prominent criminal defense firm our lawyers have become aware of the dramatic increases in knife arrests in New York City and we have been examining the defenses available to our client’s who find themselves charged with possession of a gravity knife, switchblade or some other dangerous knife in New York. While this is not the forum to disclose the details of our defense strategies to our opponents, there are some generalities that need to be examined.
One of the most basic and obvious defenses is the knife itself. Does it function the way the police say it functions. A surprising number of knives that the police claim are gravity knives or switchblades do not constitute the legal definition to make them illegal.
Another basic defense to any type of possession crime involves the constitutionality of the police conduct. Why the the police stop you, search you and seize the knife? If the police acted illegally then the knife can be suppressed by the Court and the case dismissed.
In addition to issues pertaining to the function of the knife and the police conduct in recovering the knife, there are statutory exemptions which may provide a defense and permit certain people to certain knives under certain circumstances. For example New York law permits people with hunting or fishing licenses to possess switchblades under certain circumstances.
The Supreme Court has recently made clear in both its Heller and McDonald decisions that the right to keep and bear arms is a right of all citizens and in both cases the US. Supreme Court alluded to the possession of knives. It appears that the Second Amendment applies to knives and therefore you may have a constitutional defense to certain knive possession cases.
The bottom line is that defenses do exist to many knife cases. Despite the seriousness of these charges they can often be successfully challenged in Court. It is important to get an experienced criminal defense lawyer involved as early as possible in the process.