Offensive Weapons and Prison Sentences

It is an offence to carry a bladed article or an offensive weapon in a public place without a reasonable excuse. If you possess either on a second occasion then the minimum sentence for a person aged 18 or over is 6 months custody and for a 16 or 17 year old is 4 months in custody, unless there is a reason why this would be unjust.  There is no minimum sentence for persons under 16 years of age.

The difference between a folding knife and a lock knife

Not everyone realises the difference between a folding knife and a lock knife. If a knife folds out, but also has a locking mechanism, such as with a Swiss army knife, then this is an offensive weapon.

Folding knives are only unlawful if there blade is over 3 inches, but many knives that people think are folding knives are now being defined as locking knives. Stanley knives and other knives used for lawful purposes are illegal unless carried for a good reason.

You can’t carry a knife without good reason

It is not a defence that you have forgotten that it is in your pocket! Items that are mundane, such as belts, can become offensive weapons if they are used as such.

Knives can kill and as such should not be carried unless for a legal reason. People are known to say that they carry them, but would not use them.

This is not necessarily the case and is not a defence. If they are carried then they may be used to scare and from a bad situation things can only get worse.

Carrying knives leads to more people carrying knives. This often results in serious injury or death.  Prison sentences for carrying knives is toughening up, but is nothing compared to the sentence for murder if the knife is used to seriously injure or kill.

If you need advice on this or any other criminal matter then please contact our criminal department on 0116 201 8566 or crime@dodds-solicitors.co.uk or for 24 hour police station assistance 0116 251 0000.