Published on:

Federal Appeals Court Rules ‘Gravity Knives’ Still Illegal To Possess In New York

A federal appeals Court has held upheld – for now – a criminal statute which makes it illegal to possess a gravity knife in New York.

As former prosecutors who specialize in criminal defense, our attorneys at Galluzzo & Arnone have a great deal of experience assisting people who find themselves in the unfortunate position of being charged with weapons possession, in particular what are commonly referred to as ‘gravity knives.’ Indeed, many of our clients lawfully purchase these knives from such on-line marketplaces as Amazon.com or in popular brick-and-mortar stores like K-Mart. Completely unaware that the possession of such knives is illegal in New York, these clients openly carry the knives on their belts, or clipped to their pockets, only to find themselves in handcuffs and  going to criminal court charged with the Class “A” misdemeanor of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Fourth Degree (which is punishable by up to 1 year in jail).

So what exactly is a gravity knife? A “Gravity knife” is defined under New York Penal Law 265.01(5) as “any knife which has a blade which is released from the handle or sheath thereof by the force of gravity or the application or centrifugal force which, when released, is locked in place by means of a button, spring, lever or other device.” In practical terms, any knife which a police officer can open with the flick of a wrist and which locks into place falls under this definition. Not surprisingly, police officers are particularly adept at opening and locking the knives into place.

Although the Second Circuit Court of Appeals has held that the gravity knife ban is not unconstitutionally vague for the moment, they have not ruled out that a future challenge to the ban on different grounds might be successful. Nevertheless, for the moment, it is still illegal to carry a gravity in New York State. If you find yourself in a position where you have been arrested and charged with possessing a gravity knife, you need to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately.

Many (if not most) of our first-arrest clients accused of possessing gravity knifes are issued “Desk Appearance Tickets” by the police department, a fact which can be deceiving. A person who receives a ticket is commanded to appear in Court on a future date, and failure to do so – as we ALWAYS admonish our readers – can and WILL result in a warrant being issued for your arrest.

Additionally, if you intend to simply “show up” in Court and plead guilty to the charge, you will incur a permanent criminal record. This is why it is imperative to consult with an attorney. To be sure, some of the local District Attorney’s Offices take weapons cases – gravity knife cases in particular – very seriously, and will not make non-criminal offers at your first Court appearance, if at all. Thus, it is absolutely necessary to enlist the help of an experienced attorney who can convince the prosecutor in your case to deviate from the weapons charge and preserve your record and future. Our team of former prosecutors have a proven track record and a long list of excellent results in such cases.

If you or a loved one are charged with possessing a gravity knife, contact our firm immediately. Our lawyers are on call ready to help.