The state of California generally prohibits individuals from carrying dangerous weapons in public places. This includes firearms and bladed weapons such as switchblades. The state uses California Penal Code Section 21510: Carrying a Switchblade to prosecute individuals who carry this kind of knife.
You can find more information about PC 21510 right here with the Simmrin Law Group. Use this article to consider:
- The exact definition of a switchblade
- The penalties for a PC 21510 conviction
- Other charges for carrying a weapon
- Legal defenses for PC 21510 accusations
Consider California’s Definition of a Switchblade
Not all foldable knives are considered switchblades in the state of California. A switchblade is specifically a knife that has a blade – or multiple blades – that can be automatically released by:
- Flipping your wrist
- Pressing on the handle
- Flicking a button
- Operating another mechanical device or mechanism
- The weight of the blade
In order to result in PC 21510 charges, a switchblade must resemble a pocket knife. The blades of the switchblade must also be at least two inches long. There are many different names for switchblade knives, along with several styles. All of these knives are prohibited under PC 21510:
- Automatic knives
- Push Button knives
- Ejector knives
- Switch knives
- Sprenger or Springer knives
- Flick knives
- Spring-blade knives
- Snap-blade knives
- Gravity knives
Exceptions to the Laws on Carrying a Switchblade
You should be aware that there are some exceptions to PC 21510 in the state of California. A knife that is opened with thumb pressure on the blade or a thumb stud hooked to the blade may not be considered a switchblade if it has a mechanism that:
- Pushes the blade back into a shut position.
- Causes resistance when opening the blade.
Dogs, spring-operated balls, and catches can all serve as restricting mechanisms in this case. A knife that fits this description may be legally carried as long as it is shut.
Charges for Carrying Other Weapons in California
California restricts individuals from carrying and using other weapons throughout the state. Depending on the type of weapon they are using, an individual could face criminal charges like:
- California Penal Code Section 16590: Manufacturing, Selling Or Possessing Dangerous Weapons
- California Penal Code Section 21310: Carrying a Concealed Dirk or Dagger
- California Penal Code Section 25400: Carrying A Concealed Firearm
- California Penal Code Section 25850: Carrying A Loaded Firearm
- California Penal Code Section 26350: Openly Carrying An Unloaded Handgun
California Does Not Allow Anyone to Carry a Switchblade
Some bladed weapons may be carried in California as long as they are sheathed and shut. Individuals cannot carry a switchblade even if they sheath the blade. In fact, individuals can face criminal charges for:
- Carrying a switchblade
- Possessing a switchblade in the driver’s area of a car
- Possessing a switchblade in the passenger’s area of a car
Additionally, PC 21510 charges can apply if an individual:
- Sells or tries to sell a switchblade
- Loans, give away, or transfers ownership of a switchblade
The Penalties for Carrying a Switchblade in California
Individuals accused of carrying a switchblade can face misdemeanor charges in the court system of California. A conviction under PC 21510 can result in the following penalties:
- Fines of up to $1,000
- Jail time of up to six months
Note that these penalties may be increased if a switchblade is used in the commission of a crime such as a battery.
Defenses for Carrying a Switchblade in Los Angeles
You can get legal help on your side quickly if you were accused of carrying a switchblade. A criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles can review all the facts surrounding your case. Based on your unique legal situation, your lawyer could defend you by working to show:
Your Knife is Not Actually a Switchblade
You should only face PC 21510 charges for acts involving a switchblade. If you were in possession of a different type of knife, you should not be charged under PC 21510. Note that it is still illegal to carry some other bladed weapons in California.
You Did Not Know You Had a Switchblade
PC 21510 charges should only apply if you were knowingly carrying a switchblade. If someone slipped a switchblade into your car or your pocket, for example, you could be able to avoid a conviction under PC 21510.
Speak with a Lawyer About Carrying a Switchblade
Make sure you’re ready to take on California Penal Code Section 21510: Carrying a Switchblade charge by contacting the Simmrin Law Group. You can call us at (310) 997-4688 or complete our online contact form to learn more about how we can help.
Our criminal defense lawyers in Los Angeles are standing by to offer you a FREE case evaluation.