In addition to being charged with carrying a concealed weapon for having a concealed gun, you can also be prosecuted under the same statute for carrying a concealed knife or other stabbing instruments. In this article we’ll discuss the various kinds of knives and stabbing instruments the statute covers as well as defenses and plea options.
What the Prosecutor Must Prove
To be convicted of carrying a concealed knife the prosecutor must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
- Defendant knowingly carried a dagger, dirk, stiletto, razor, double-edged or non-folding stabbing instrument,
- The weapon was concealed.
- If charged with carrying a concealed weapon in a vehicle—Defendant knew the weapon was in the vehicle, took part in keeping it in the vehicle, or was instrumental in keeping it in the vehicle.
Note: It does not matter the reason why the defendant carried the knife. The prosecutor only has to prove that he knowingly carried the knife and that it was concealed.
What Makes a Weapon Concealed
To be considered concealed by law complete invisibility is not required. In a lot of cases the weapon is at least partially visible which is how a police officer notices it. For example, the tip of the handle could be sticking out of a pocket or the tip of a boot and still be considered concealed. The weapon is concealed if it cannot be easily seen by those who come into ordinary contact with the defendant.
Defining a Knife—Dirk, Dagger, and Stiletto
The carrying a concealed weapon statute prohibits carrying a concealed firearm as well as a dirk, dagger, stiletto, and other stabbing instruments. A dirk is a straight knife with a pointed blade. A dagger is a knife with a short, pointed blade. A stiletto is a small dagger with a slender, tapering blade. The law defines a knife as an instrument having a handle and at least one sharp-edged blade and the blade must be over three inches long. A razor is a sharp-edged cutting instrument for shaving off or cutting hair.
- Defendant Unaware of the Weapon—An essential element is knowingly carrying the weapon. The prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant knew he/she was carrying the weapon.
- Carried in Home, Place of Business, or Land Possessed by Defendant.
- Hunting Knife—This is a large, heavy, wide-bladed knife without a single cutting edge that curves up to a point. It is typically used for skinning and cutting game. It does not apply to knives adapted and carried as hunting knives. The prosecutor has the burden of proving that it was not a hunting knife.
- Fourth Amendment Violations—If the police lacked reasonable suspicion to stop or detain you or if they lacked probable cause for the arrest, those are Fourth Amendment violations that can be made to the court to suppress the evidence. If the police unlawfully searched your person, car, or home then the evidence could be suppressed and the charge dismissed.
Self Defense is NOT a Defense to Carrying a Concealed Weapon
It is not a defense to the charge that you were carrying the weapon for protection or self-defense. The judge would not allow such evidence to be presented at trial as it’s irrelevant. The only issue is whether or not the defendant knowingly carried the knife.
Carrying a concealed weapon is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a fine up to $2,500 plus costs.
Prosecutors treat weapons charges very seriously. A lot of prosecutors have policies against reducing weapons charges, even if it’s your first offense. Other prosecutors will be reluctant if there are aggravating factors such as if there was a violent encounter or if the knife was pulled on someone. If prosecutors are willing to reduce the charge, a common reduction is to Possession of a Switchblade, which is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail.
Carrying a Concealed Knife Lawyer
If you have been charged with carrying a concealed weapon-knife, you need an experienced lawyer representing you to ensure the best possible outcome. Many judges will impose jail sentences even for first offenses is any kind of a weapon is involved. Your future and liberty is at stake, but an experienced lawyer can make all the difference. A weapons charge doesn’t have to ruin your life and career. If you have been charged with carrying a concealed weapon call Austin Legal Services, PLC at (517) 614-1983 to speak to a Michigan weapons attorney today!
Defending carrying a concealed weapon and knife charges throughout Michigan in the counties of: Ingham, Eaton, Clinton, Gratiot, Calhoun, Kalamazoo, Jackson, Livingston, Branch, Kent, Washtenaw, Hillsdale, Barry, and in the cities of: Lansing, East Lansing, Mason, Charlotte, St. Johns, Ithaca, Battle Creek, Kalamazoo, Jackson, Howell, Brighton, Coldwater, Hillsdale, Hastings, Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor.