January 2, 2024 By Paul Wallin

California Knife Laws | What You Need To Know


The regulations pertaining to the possession and carrying of knives in California can be intricate. While it is not universally unlawful to carry a knife, having any type of weapon on your person can heighten the likelihood of encountering legal issues with law enforcement. Even if you are ultimately determined to be acting lawfully, you may still undergo the inconvenience of an arrest, work disruptions, and associated expenses. To prevent potential criminal charges, it is imperative to familiarize yourself with the law.

Choosing Wallin & Klarich to represent your case puts you in a better position to receive the best outcome for your case. We have over 40 years of experience in Southern California. Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL  for your free appeal consultation!

Illegal Knives

Understanding the types of knives that are permissible to possess is crucial. According to California law, certain knives are classified as dangerous weapons and are prohibited from being owned, sold, or manufactured. Generally, illegal knives are those that are designed to be undetectable or deceptive in appearance, making them frequently employed in criminal activities. In California, knives that fall under this illegality encompass ballistic knives, cane knives, air gauge knives, lipstick knives, belt buckle knives, writing pen knives, switchblades with a two-inch or longer blade, and undetectable knives constructed from materials that cannot be detected by metal detectors.

It is important to note that even with knives that are legal to carry, there are laws regulating how they must be carried. Generally, folding knives can be carried openly or concealed if they are in the closed position. Folding knives include swiss army knives and pocket knives. 

Penal Code Section 21310

California Penal Code Section 21310 governs what makes carrying a knife legal – or illegal. This implies that these knives cannot be concealed in a pocket, purse, backpack, or any other container while in public. Rather, they must only be carried in a sheath affixed to the carrier’s waist. The knives covered by this “open carry” statute are referred to as “dirks and daggers,” which encompass knives with fixed blades, stiletto knives, and even chef’s knives. Dirks and daggers are subjected to this specific regulation because they can be easily utilized as stabbing weapons capable of causing severe bodily harm or death. Consequently, the law aims to prevent surprise attacks by ensuring that anyone in close proximity to the individual carrying the knife can readily observe the weapon.

Penalties

If you are discovered in possession, sale, or manufacture of a prohibited knife, the prosecution has the option to charge the offense as either a misdemeanor or a felony. In the case of a misdemeanor, potential consequences include:

  • Fines of up to $1,000
  • County jail time of up to 6 months or 1 year

When charged as a more severe felony, potential repercussions include:

  • Fines of up to $10,000
  • County jail time ranging from 16 months to 3 years

Carrying a concealed dirk or dagger can also result in charges of either a misdemeanor or a felony. A misdemeanor charge carries penalties such as:

  • Fines of up to $1,000
  • County jail time of up to 1 year

A felony charge, on the other hand, may entail:

  • Fines of up to $10,000
  • County jail time ranging from 16 months to 3 years

If you have been charged with violating California’s knife laws, you need an aggressive defense attorney on your side. In addition to fines and jail time, you risk potential consequences in other areas of your life. For example, if you are convicted of a felony, it might be harder to find a job and steady income. When facing a charge like this, it is important to have an experienced defense attorney who can help you through every step of the process. Our attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have the experience you need for your case. Plus, we offer exceptional service, experience, and affordable payment options to help you manage the cost of hiring a defense attorney.

Contact Wallin & Klarich Today 

If you have been accused of violating California’s knife laws, you need an aggressive defense attorney to fight for your freedom. With 40+ years of experience, our attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have helped thousands of clients win their cases or get their charges reduced to a lesser degree. We know the most effective defenses to argue on your behalf, and we will do everything in our power to help you achieve the best possible result in your case. 

You may not be aware of all your options. Calling our office costs you nothing, but picking up the phone could be the difference between years in prison and years of freedom. Let our skilled attorneys examine your case to find the best way to avoid prison.Discover how our team can assist you. Contact us today, toll-free at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free consultation with a skilled defense attorney.

AUTHOR: Paul Wallin

Paul Wallin is one of the most highly respected attorneys in Southern California. His vast experience, zealous advocacy for his clients and extensive knowledge of many areas of the law make Mr. Wallin a premiere Southern California attorney. Mr. Wallin founded Wallin & Klarich in 1981. As the senior partner of Wallin & Klarich, Mr. Wallin has been successfully representing clients for more than 30 years. Clients come to him for help in matters involving assault and battery, drug crimes, juvenile crimes, theft, manslaughter, sex offenses, murder, violent crimes, misdemeanors and felonies. Mr. Wallin also helps clients with family law matters such as divorce and child custody.

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