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“Switchblade Knife” is defined in New York as any knife that has a blade which opens automatically by hand pressure applied to a button, spring or other device within the knife’s handle. (For the exact definition of “Switchblade Knife” see NY Penal Law § 265.00(4)).

It is an “A” Misdemeanor to possess a switchblade knife (Penal Law § 265.01(1) – Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Fourth Degree). However, it is not a crime to possess a switchblade knife if it is for use while fishing, hunting or trapping and you have a valid license to fish, hunt or trap issued pursuant to section 11-0713 of the New York Environmental Conservation Law (See Penal Law § 265.20(a)(6).

Although not stated in the statute, in order to be convicted in New York of illegally possessing a switchblade knife, you must “knowingly” possess the knife (See Model Jury Charge for Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Fourth Degree (CJI 2d N.Y. Penal Law § 265.01(1); People v. Ford, 66 N.Y.2d 428, 440, 497 N.Y.S.2d 637).

For example, in People v. Wood, 869 N.Y.S.2d 401 (1st Dept. 2008), defendant’s conviction was overturned where the trial judge refused to instruct the jury that the prosecution had to prove that defendant knew the item he possessed was in fact a switchblade knife.

If you or a loved one have been charged with any New York weapons offense including illegal possession of switchblade knife, illegal possession of a pistol or possession of any other weapon, contact Tilem & Campbell toll free at 1-877-377-8666 for a free consultation or visit us on the web at or

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