Knife Crime and Offensive Weapons
Knife crime as it is commonly known falls under two offences :
- Possession of an offensive weapon.
- Possession of a bladed article.
It is illegal to carry either of these items in a public place.
An offensive weapon is either an item that is :
- Made purely for the purpose of causing harm to another, for example a flick knife or
- Adapted for the purpose of causing harm to another, for example a pool cue with a sharpened or a squeeze bottle filled with acid and is
- Being carried with the intention to cause injury to another person.
A person found carrying a baseball bat or a knuckle duster without any innocent explanation may be deemed to have been in possession of an offensive weapon.
There are several defences to the charges of being in possession of an offensive weapon, each person’s case and circumstances are different; depending on the facts surrounding their arrest. We would be happy to discuss any potential defences with you
A bladed Article is any item that :
Has a blade or point or if it’s a folding pocket knife it has a blade more than 3 inches long. Once you are found in possession of these items you are guilty of the offence unless you can prove that it was being carried for work, as part of religious costume or national dress. An example of an offence potentially being committed is if you decide to keep a kitchen knife in your pocket whilst walking about in public.
Both of these offences can be tried by either magistrates or a Judge and Jury in The Crown Court.
Threatening with an offensive weapon
A person is guilty of this offence if they intentionally and without lawful excuse threaten another person with an offensive weapon that they have with them in a public place creating a risk of serious physical harm. For example you have an argument with someone outside your home, take a knife from the kitchen and run after them in the street.
Possessing an offensive weapon on school premises
A person is guilty if they are fund on school premises carrying an offensive weapon without lawful authority. A pair of scissors in a school rucksack is would normally amount to a defence, but a pen knife with a blade larger than 3 inches would not, unless it is for educational use.
If I am found guilty or plead guilty will I go to prison ?
We have represented many clients who have avoided custody, as we said above each case is dependant upon the circumstances and background.
Possession of an offensive weapon and possession of bladed article – The court’s sentencing powers range from a fine for the least serious cases involving non bladed weapons where they have not been used in dangerous circumstances to four years imprisonment and three to four years where there are knifes used in high risk situations.
However, if convicted a second time, an adult is likely to face a minimum 6 months imprisonment and four months for a young person aged between 16 and 18years old . However we would normally make all efforts to persuade the court that it is unjust to impose these sentences.
Threatening with an offensive weapon – The court must pass a prison sentence of at least four months for a person aged between 16-18 and six months for a person aged over 18, unless it is considered to be unjust to do so. That again depends upon the facts of the offence and defendant. The Maximum sentence for an adult is 4 years imprisonment.
If you or a friend or relative have been stopped by police in possession of a weapon or other prohibited item, please contact us as soon as possible on 02078373456
The Law has been updated at of 20th May, please read our latest blog