Do you know if your pocket knife is illegal in New York?

Intent matters in some criminal charges, but not always in cases of possession of illegal weapons. You may believe that the knife in your pocket complies with state law, but the courts may not agree with your interpretation of state laws.

Many people who work in manual trades, from delivery people to carpenters, carry folding knives to help them do their work. New York places limits on what kind of knife you can carry in order to deter violent crime. Unfortunately, tradespeople may end up paying the price if they get stopped by law enforcement.

Under current knife laws, it is possible for innocent workers to wind up prosecuted for carrying a folding knife. Many popular folding knives used in professional settings fall under a broad definition of the term "gravity knife."

Lawmakers have been attempting to change these laws, going so far as to pass revisions to the law to clarify and reduce the scope of banned knives several years in a row. These bills have all gotten vetoed, but that hasn't stopped the Assembly from passing yet another bill aimed at reducing unnecessary arrests and prosecution for knife offenses.

What kind of knives are illegal in New York?

First and foremost, it is illegal to carry a knife if you intend to use it to harm another person. It isn't legal to own any knife primarily used as a weapon. It's also important to note that you can't carry a knife that is more than four inches long.

The following knives aren't legal in New York:

  • metal knuckle knives
  • pilum knives aka ballistic knives
  • throwing stars
  • cane swords
  • gravity knives
  • switchblades

The notable exception to these limits is the legality of folding knives or switchblades carried for fishing or hunting, provided the carrier has a valid fishing or hunting license. It's also important to note that non-citizens of the United States aren't allowed to carry knives.

What is a gravity knife?

If you are wondering if your folding pocket knife could get considered a gravity knife, you aren't alone. A gravity knife has a concealed blade within its handle. A gravity knife should open by gravity alone. Many have mechanical devices that keep the knife locked in an open position until a button or level is depressed. The law is vague, allowing for a lot of confusion about what knives are legal.

Law enforcement officers often use a "flick test" to see if a folding knife is a gravity knife. If they can open it by flicking their wrist or arm, they classify the knife you were carrying as a gravity knife. That means it is illegal. The knife could get confiscated or the carrier could get charged with a crime.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
View Our Testimonials
  1. What Our Clients Say

    Pedro from Nassau County “I was arrested and charged with being the getaway driver during a knife point robbery. The police stopped my car a block away from the robbery with my co-defendant in the car with me. The victim identified my co-defendant to the police within 5 minutes of the robbery... - GREAT JOB MR. DiDIO!”

  2. What Our Clients Say

    Johnny From Astoria "Mr. DiDio represented me during a murder trial in 2008. I was acquitted of all charges and released from jail after a four-week trial. I am now pursuing a civil suit against the police to compensate me for the time I was wrongfully incarcerated. Mr. DiDio literally saved... - I would highly recommend him as a trial attorney.”

  3. What Our Clients Say

    Frank from South Jamaica “Narcotics officers from Queens County arrested me in front of my house and claimed I had pre-recorded buy money in my pocket after they said I sold cocaine to an undercover officer a few minutes earlier. I was not guilty of the charges and planned to go to trial to prove... - There is no better criminal defense lawyer in NYC.”

  4. What Our Clients Say

    Lamar from Brooklyn “The Special Narcotics Prosecutor in Manhattan indicted me for the possession of a large quantity of crack cocaine. The police officers claimed they saw me make a sale of cocaine to a female and while they were arresting me, they said a softball size bag of crack cocaine fell from... - Thank you so much Mr. DiDio for the fantastic job you did on my case.”

  5. What Our Clients Say

    Pedro from Nassau County “I was arrested and charged with being the getaway driver during a knife point robbery. The police stopped my car a block away from the robbery with my co-defendant in the car with me. The victim identified my co-defendant to the police within 5 minutes of the robbery... - GREAT JOB MR. DiDIO!”

  6. What Our Clients Say

    Kenny From Jamaica Queens “I don’t know how to thank Mr. DiDio and his Staff. When I first hired the Law Office of Robert DiDio & Associates, I had two violent felony charges pending against me. I had little or no hope of avoiding significant jail time. My former attorney was encouraging me... - Thank-you for a great job done.”

  7. What Our Clients Say

    Christian from Long Island "My mother hired Mr. DiDio to represent me for my first and only criminal case. I was charged with criminal possession of a loaded firearm and other minor charges. Prior to indictment the Prosecutor's Office offered me a plea bargain that would include me pleading guilty to... - My family and I thank him very much for his hard work.”

Email Us For a Response

Tell Us About Your Case

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy

Robert D. DiDio & Associates

Robert D. DiDio & Associates
8002 Kew Gardens Road
Suite 307
Kew Gardens, NY 11415

Phone: 917-300-0984
Kew Gardens Law Office Map

Map