Possession of a Dirk or Dagger – Defenses (Penal Code 21310)
Our attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have over 40 years of experience successfully defending our clients’ charges with serious crimes such as unlawful possession of a dirk or dagger under Penal Code 21310 (PC 21310).
There are several defenses we can employ to help you win your case, which are explained in greater detail in this section.
Defense #1: Lack of Knowledge
If you did not knowingly possess or carry a stabbing weapon capable of inflicting serious bodily injury or death, you have a very good defense to the charges against you. Knowing you were in possession is crucial.
Perhaps you were given someone else’s property to hold, and you were unaware that the weapon was concealed in this property. Our attorneys at Wallin & Klarich may be able to argue that since you had no knowledge that you were in possession of an unlawful weapon, you cannot be convicted of the crime.
Defense #2: Weapon Not Concealed
Provided that you did not attempt to conceal a knife or similar instrument that is legal to possess, you are not guilty of violating Penal Code 21310. A properly sheathed legal knife that is carried openly is permitted.
In this case, your criminal defense attorney from Wallin & Klarich could argue that the charges against you must be dismissed.
Keep in mind, however, that this defense only applies to a weapon that is legal to possess in the first place. Carrying a switchblade, even openly, is illegal.
Defense #3: Unlawful Search and Seizure
Unless you are under some form of community supervision – probation or parole, for example, you have a 4th Amendment right to be free from unreasonable or warrantless searches and seizures.
For example, let’s say you were stopped driving your car because a police officer said you were speeding on a public street. He searches your vehicle, discovers a knife hidden in the glove compartment and charges you with possession of a concealed weapon. You contest the speeding accusation and are able to prove that you were, in fact, traveling the speed limit. The traffic stop was not lawful, which means the discovered knife was the product of an unreasonable search.
Law enforcement officers must have legal cause to arrest you on a weapons charge, subject to the following conditions:
- You voluntarily consented to a search of your person or property;
- A police officer had probable cause to detain you. This means that the officer had a “reasonable suspicion” that you had committed a crime; or
- Law enforcement failed to obtain or did not properly execute a valid search warrant issued by a judge prior to conducting a search of you and your property. A search warrant must describe “with particularity” the scope of the search in order to be valid.
If these conditions are not met, your criminal defense attorney can file and argue a Motion to Suppress Evidence under Penal Code Section 1538.5. A successfully argued motion means the evidence unlawfully obtained must be ruled inadmissible, often resulting in the charges against you being dismissed.
Defense #4: Police Misconduct
Unfortunately, a law enforcement officer may resort to questionable tactics in order to manufacture probable cause to detain, search and charge you when investigating criminal activity. For example, “planting” evidence, coercing confessions, or falsifying police reports.
If you believe your were the victim of police misconduct, your criminal defense attorney may be able to file a “Pitchess Motion” in your defense, which is a formal request to examine the officer’s record to determine if he or she has been frequently disciplined for abuse of his or her position.
If the record substantially confirms that the arresting officer has a history of repeated misconduct, the prosecutor may offer to dismiss the charges against you.
Call Wallin & Klarich
Hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney from Wallin & Klarich is your best chance to avoid a conviction for unlawful possession of a weapon such as a dirk or dagger under Penal Code 21310. If you or someone you care about is facing weapons charges, contact Wallin & Klarich today.
Our attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have over 40 years of experience successfully defending our clients throughout Southern California. We may be able to prevent you from having to serve a jail sentence, pay heavy fines and suffer other consequences of a criminal conviction. We may be able to have your charges reduced or dismissed altogether.
With offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Tustin, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, our criminal defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to provide you with the very best legal representation. We will help you get the best result possible in your case.
Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free telephone consultation. We will get through this together.