Can You Get In Legal Trouble for Carrying a Knife?
Maybe we should start out with the obvious. Not all knives are created equal. Like many people, you may not be carrying a knife without any bad intentions. Nevertheless, you could still find yourself in legal trouble if you’re walking around with a particular type of knife.
Take for example the case of Paul Montana. He’s been collecting knives since as long as he can remember. Paul is particularly enthusiastic about antique knives, particularly the vintage ones with fixed blades. He enjoys displaying them in a case at home.
Recently, Paul learned that he could face legal issues regarding the manner in which he transported one of his vintage knife finds. To Paul’s delight, he was lucky to find another private collector who had an antique fixed blade knife. It was a small piece, and Paul stuck it in the sheath and into his pocket.
It certainly didn’t seem like such a big deal. However, that same night, Paul stopped at the bar and had a few too many drinks. Long story short, he got behind the wheel and was arrested for drunk driving. Paul’s luck really turned sour when he was asked to empty his pockets.
Know why? A fixed blade knife is also known as a dagger. And, daggers are illegal to carry in the State of New Jersey. In addition to the DWI charges, Paul found himself facing criminal charges for possession of a dagger.
What Types of Knives are Prohibited in New Jersey?
Although the story we told you about Paul is fiction, it does not mean that something along these lines can’t happen to anyone carrying a knife in New Jersey. With that in mind, you should know what types of knives are prohibited in New Jersey. The list is found in NJSA 2C:39-3 (e):
- Gravity Knife: Some refer to gravity knives or hunter’s knives. The blade is contained in the knife’s handle, and gravity causes the knife to open. While it stands to reason that you might carry this type of knife if you’re on a hunting expedition, you would have to explain to the judge why it’s in your possession for other purposes.
- Switchblade Knife: Switchblade knives are also referred to as automatic knives. The blade is contained in the handle and generally pops out when a button is pushed.
- Dagger: A dagger has a very sharp point and most often has a fixed blade.
- Dirk knife: A dirk knife is a long thrusting version of a dagger.
- Ballistic knife: A ballistic knife actually allows the blade to be detached so it can be thrown.
Right about now, you’re fumbling for that pocket knife you’ve been carrying in your pocket for years. Could it be illegal? Quite possibly. However, if you can show you have an explainable lawful purpose for carrying a knife, there should be no problem.