35+ Years Criminal Defense Experience in California


Possession of a Dirk or Dagger – FAQ’s (Penal Code Section 21310)

The following are some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) from other clients facing charges of unlawful possession of a dirk or dagger in violation of Penal Code Section 21310.

1.      How is a “dirk or dagger” defined under California Law?

A dirk or dagger means a knife or other instrument capable of being used as a stabbing weapon and likely to cause serious bodily injury. It does not matter if the weapon has a hand guard or not. A screwdriver can be considered an “instrument capable of being used as a stabbing weapon” depending on how it is carried.

2. Isn’t it legal to possess a knife?

Usually, yes. It depends on the type of knife. Many knives are legal to possess, such as folding (or pocket) knives, utility knives (for example, a “Swiss Army” knife), fish and game knives and kitchen knives. However, switchblades with a blade length of two or more inches are never legal to possess in public.

3.      What makes possession of a knife illegal?

Dirk or dagger possession - knife laws
Those who possess a knife in California must abide by certain regulations.

How it is carried. Carrying a concealed knife (or dirk or dagger) is what makes possession illegal. Certain knives maybe openly carried, but not hidden on your person or in your property. A properly sheathed knife hanging from your waist and outside your clothes is not considered a concealed weapon. Carrying a knife in a tool chest, provided that it is not unfolded and locked into position or the blade exposed is also legal.

4.      What if the knife was partially concealed?

You can be prosecuted for carrying a partially concealed knife if the knife was substantially concealed. For example, you tucked a straight knife into your waistband, hiding the blade but exposing the hand guard. You may think you are openly carrying the knife because part of it can be seen; but in this case, the knife’s blade is hidden. Therefore, it can be considered substantially concealed.

5.      Can I be sent to jail for carrying a concealed knife?

Absolutely…if you are convicted. Carrying a concealed knife (a dirk or dagger) is a crime in California that is punishable as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances and whether you have a prior criminal history. If you or someone you love has been arrested for carrying a concealed weapon, you should consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

6.      Can I get a permit to carry a concealed weapon?

A firearm qualifies for a concealed weapons permit. California law permits an eligible person to carry a concealed weapon if that weapon is authorized for a Carry Concealed Weapon (CCW) license and the applicant meets strict eligibility requirements.

However, knives or other instruments that are capable of being used as a stabbing weapon are not permitted to be carried concealed.

7.      I am not a U.S. Citizen. Can I be deported if I am convicted for unlawful possession of a concealed knife?

It is certainly possible. Anyone who is either a legal U.S. immigrant non-citizen, visiting foreign national, or undocumented (illegal) alien who is convicted of a felony in any jurisdiction in the United States may be subject to deportation proceedings by the Department of Homeland Security, Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

However, a crime that is punishable by one or more years in custody may qualify as well, which can include a misdemeanor conviction in violation of California Penal Code Section 21310. It doesn’t matter if you serve a jail sentence or not. It only matters how the crime may be punished.

Contact Wallin & Klarich Today

Wallin and Klarich - knife laws
Partners of Wallin and Klarich Law Firm

If you or someone you care about has been charged with unlawful possession of a dirk or dagger in violation of Penal Code 21310, our experienced criminal defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich are available immediately to assist you. The sooner you contact us, the better we can protect your rights.

Our attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have over 30 years of experience successfully defending those facing concealed weapons charges. Hiring an attorney from Wallin & Klarich is your best chance to avoid the serious consequences of a conviction for unlawful possession of a stabbing weapon such as jail time, heavy fines and other consequences, including deportation if you are not a U.S. citizen.

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.

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