Austin Criminal Attorneys
Laws Governing Switchblades
There is frequently a large amount of confusion concerning switchblades and their legality. This particular item is covered by both state and federal laws.
A mandatory minimum sentence takes into account three basic factors: the type of drug, the weight of the drug mixture or alleged weight in conspiracy cases, and the number of prior convictions an individual has. A judge is unable to consider other factors such as the offender’s role, motivation, and the likelihood of recidivism (repeated or habitual relapse).
The Texas laws that concern switchblades are found in the Texas Penal Code. They start with section 46.01 and go through section 46.05. Section 46.01 defines an illegal knife as a knife with a blade more than 5.5 inches long; a hand instrument designed to cut or stab another by being thrown; a dagger; a bowie knife; a sword; and a spear.
Switchblades are also covered in Section 46.01 of the Texas Penal Code. It is here where confusion arises. Any knife that has a blade that folds, closes, or retracts into the handle or sheath and that either opens automatically by pressure applied to a button or other device located on the handle or opens or releases a blade from the handle or sheath by the force of gravity or by the application of centrifugal force can be considered a switchblade. While the first part of the definition is rather clear, the second part brings in a lot of confusion as pretty much any knife that folds can be opened when gravity and centrifugal force are applied.
Section 46.05 of the Texas Penal Code makes a person that knowingly or intentionally manufactures, transports, repairs, or sells a switchblade knife guilty of a crime.
Switchblades are also covered by federal law. In particular, they are covered by the Federal Switchblade Act of 1958. This added new sections to the US Code in both the commerce section (Title 15) and the crimes section (Title 18). In Title 15, Congress made selling and transporting a switchblade across state lines a crime. Title 18 makes switchblades items that are prohibited in the mail.
If you have been accused of a weapons crime, contact the Austin weapons crimes lawyer, Ian Inglis, at 512-472-1950 to discuss the charges and to determine the best plan for your defense.
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