Knife offence lawyers for criminal Defence to all Knife Crimes & Possession
Have you been accused of a knife offence? Are you seeking to overturn or appeal against a conviction for a knife offence?
The Draycott Browne criminal defence lawyers have years of experience protecting the rights of individuals charged with knife crimes across the UK.
In response to the increase in prevalence of knife crime in the UK over the last few years, the sentencing council issued new guidelines in 2018 with harsher sentences designed to act as a deterrent. Across the board, weapons offences are being taken more seriously by the Courts than ever, so you need to seek advice from an expert criminal defence solicitor as soon as possible.
If you’re under investigation, have been arrested, charged or released on bail, we can act in your defence and help you achieve the most favourable outcome possible in the circumstances.
If you are facing charges in relation to any type of knife crime, the most important thing you can do is to call one of our qualified criminal defence lawyers as soon as possible.
Possession of a Knife Crime
Carrying a knife is likely to get you into more dangerous situations than it will ever protect you from. Even if you don’t use it, you can still be prosecuted for just carrying it.
Simply carrying a knife, even if there was no intention to use it, may lead to a criminal charge.
Since 17th July 2015, a “two strikes” policy has been in place, meaning that being convicted for a second offence of possession of a knife will result in an immediate prison sentence of between 6 months and 4 years.
What are the sentences for knife crime convictions?
Sentences for all kinds of violent crime have been getting tougher, particularly for knife crime.
Public anxiety about the rise in incidents of stabbings, changes to legislation and firmer guidance for judges and magistrates since 2015 have led to higher sentences. The average prison term has increased from around five months to over eight months over the last 10 years.
Offenders under 18 are still more likely to be cautioned than sent to prison.
The maximum sentence for illegally carrying a knife is 4 years in prison and an unlimited fine.
The penalties are higher if you injure someone or use a knife to commit a crime.
There is a mandatory minimum sentence of six months custody for offenders who use any type of weapon to threaten.
To determine a sentence, the court will consider the degree of culpability and harm.
Culpability is determined as follows:
Harm is determined as follows:
A combination of culpability and harm is used to determine a corresponding start point for sentencing within the range below.
Once a starting point for the sentence has been arrived at, adjustments may be made upwards or downwards when there are aggravating or mitigating factors present. For example, other relevant recent convictions are likely to result in an upward adjustment.
Other aggravating factors include:
- The offence was committed as part of a gang
- The offence was committed while on bail
- Attempts were made by the defendant to conceal their identity
- The offence was committed under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Attempts were made to conceal or dispose of evidence
Mitigating factors include:
- The defendant has no previous convictions
- Good character or exemplary conduct
- Mental disorder or learning difficulty
- Cooperation with the police
- The defendant is the primary carer for dependant relatives
What to do if you’re arrested for carrying a knife
If you are arrested for carrying a knife, the first thing you should do is call an experienced criminal defence solicitor for expert advice. We can represent you at the police station and advise you at every step of the process.
The police can stop and search any person or vehicle, and anything in or on the vehicle if they have reasonable grounds for suspecting that they will find:
- Stolen goods
- An offensive weapon or an object with a blade or point
- Any article made or adapted for use in offences like burglary or theft
- Items that could damage or destroy property; e.g. spray paint cans.
- Illegal Drugs
- equipment or materials associated with terrorism or banned groups
If an item categorised as an offensive weapon is found in your possession, you could receive a community sentence, a fine or imprisonment depending on the circumstances and any aggravating or mitigating factors.
There are three main acts that allow police forces in England and Wales to carry out ‘stop and searches’.
- Section One of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984
- Section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994
- Sections 44/47A of the Terrorism Act 2000
In reality, the police have a great deal of leeway to conduct a 'stop & search' under the "'reasonable grounds" provision.
The vast majority of all searches are carried out under Section One and "associated legislation" such as the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.
In terms of knives specifically, it is illegal to:
- carry a knife or try to buy one if you’re under 18
- use a knife in a threatening way
- carry a type of knife that's banned
- carry a knife in public without good reason - unless it’s a knife with a folding blade 3 inches long (7.62 cm) or less
- sell a knife of any kind to anyone under 18 years old
Our Knife Crime Solicitors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Do not hesitate to contact Draycott Browne solicitors for help.
What's considered a 'good reason' for carrying a knife?
There are of course times when a person may need to carry a knife from one place to another for a good reason.
Examples of good reasons include:
- taking knives you use at work to and from your place of work
- taking knives to a gallery or museum to be exhibited
- the knife is going to be used for theatre, film, television, historical re-enactment or religious purposes
There is a complete ban on the sale of certain knives, including:
- flick knives - where the blade flicks out when a button is pressed
- butterfly knives - where the handle splits in two around the blade when it’s closed
- disguised knives - where the blade is hidden inside something, like a fake mobile phone
- push daggers
- gravity knives
- 'airport' or stealth knives
- samurai swords
- kusari-gama (sickle attached to a rope or similar)
- kyoketsu shoge (hook-knife attached to a rope, cord or similar)
What is a bladed article?
A bladed article is any object that has a blade or is sharply pointed, unless it is a folding pocket knife which has a blade of less than 3 inches in length.
Bladed articles are often classified as offensive weapons in UK law, meaning that in most circumstances it is illegal to carry a knife in public, even if you do not intend to use it.
Possession of a bladed article is a criminal offence in contravention of the Criminal Justice Act 1988.
A blunt butter knife is considered a bladed article, even though it has no sharp point and no cutting edge. It has a blade and is therefore a bladed article.
What is an offensive weapon?
Section One of the Prevention of Crime Act 1953 defines an offensive weapon as:
‘Any article made or adapted for use to cause injury to a person, or intended by the person having it with him for such use.’
There are three categories of offensive weapon classified under UK law:
- Objects made with the intent of causing harm
- Objects not made for that purpose, but adapted for the purpose of causing harm – such as a snooker ball in a sock, or a potato with a blade inserted into it
- Objects neither made nor adapted but the person is carrying it with the intention of causing harm or injury to another
What are the available defences for possession of an offensive weapon?
There are very few available defences for being found in possession of a knife or offensive weapon.
If the weapon is classified in either of the first 2 categories outlined above, the prosecution are not required to prove the defendant was carrying the weapon with the intention to commit harm or injury.
In order to prove the third category, the prosecution must show that there was an intention to cause actual injury. The mere brandishing of an item would not in itself be sufficient for a category three conviction.
If the court is satisfied that the item used is an offensive weapon, the defendant would normally only be acquitted if they successfully claim lawful authority or a reasonable excuse, such as:
- The object is a tool of your trade
- It was for self-defence, but only if the threat of violence is imminent and the possession of the offensive weapon is more than just a precautionary measure.
Knife Crime Statistics
In the year ending March 2020 21,498 knife and offensive weapon offences were formally dealt with by the Criminal Justice System. This is a decrease of 3% when compared to the previous 12 months ending March 2019.
This comes after a rise of 35% over a 5 year period from 16,431 in the year ending March 2014 to 22,124 in the year ending March 2019.
This dramatic increase was driven by ‘possession of an article with a blade or point’ offences, which increased to 14,012 offences in the year ending March 2019.
The fall over the latest year has been driven by a 6% fall in the number of ‘possession of offensive weapon’ offences from 7,222 in the year ending March 2019 to 6,790 in the year ending March 2020.
24 HOUR AVAILABILITY
Our legal advisors are available to respond to your needs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We will represent you at the police station and throughout the duration of your case to make sure you are treated fairly and appropriately.
To assist you with the financial cost of defending your name, we can help you apply for legal aid so that you can focus on what really matters.
The criminal defence lawyers at Draycott Browne can guide you through the application process so that you have the best chance of receiving the financial assistance you need.
Contact the Knife Crime and Offensive Weapon Solicitors at Draycott Browne Today
If you or a loved one has been arrested for a knife or offensive weapon crime, it is essential that you engage the expertise of professional solicitors who will be able to help and advise you on a defence strategy as soon as possible.
By entrusting your case to us, you can be assured that you will have a team of highly experienced and tenacious legal specialists who have a thorough and comprehensive knowledge of this area of law.
As one of the UK's leading Criminal Defence Law Firms, we are highly regarded nationally across the legal profession and noted for consistently delivering positive results for our clients.
Our expert Knife Crime Solicitors regularly act for clients in Manchester, Preston, Blackpool, Liverpool, Leeds, Nottingham, Birmingham, and London. As recognised Criminal Lawyers we can represent you wherever you live in England and Wales.
Our legal team is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you or somebody you know has been arrested and needs expert legal representation, contact Draycott Browne today.