My friends at a California MRO (or Motorcycle Rights Organization, for those of you who don’t know) have asked me to do a breakdown of the knife laws in California for their monthly newsletter. It seems that lots of bikers like carrying blades. Who knew? I’m usually armed only with my charm and quick wit. (I’m in trouble, right?) Nonetheless, I thought I’d give my readers a preview of the info. For a look at the complete article, check out our page on Knife Laws in California.
Oh, but of course, I wouldn’t be a very good attorney without giving a few caveats before I begin. First, remember that carrying any weapon, even one that is not illegal, can cause you a lot of grief with law enforcement. Cops routinely write tickets and make arrests for things they incorrectly think is illegal. Being found not guilty, or having baseless charges dropped, will not make up for the time and aggravation of getting arresting and missing work — not to mention the high cost of a competent attorney. Also be aware that this analysis covers only California law. As you’re all aware, state laws can vary greatly, and taking a knife that is legal in California over state lines may run afoul of federal laws. Local ordinances may also impact the legality of your knife. Lastly, remember that this article is written for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.
With those warnings of the way, California laws covering switchblades, daggers, and disguised blades are discussed below. For those of you with a short attention span, here is the summary:
In California, the following are illegal: (1) Any knife with a blade of 2″ or longer, that can be opened with a button or the flick of your wrist; (2) concealed possession of any “dirk,” “dagger,” or knife with a fixed blade, regardless of blade length; and (3) possession or sale of any disguised blades, i.e., cane swords, writing pen knives, lipstick knives, etc., or any knife that is undetectable to metal detectors. It’s also illegal to flash or waive any knife in a threatening manner. And on school grounds in California, it’s unlawful to possess a knife with a blade over 2 1/2″.
Readers should be aware that certain municipalities have their own laws that may affect the legality of carrying a knife. In Los Angeles, for example, it’s illegal to openly carry any knife with a blade longer than 3″. If you decide you need to carry a knife, we recommend checking out local ordinances before doing so.
If you’d like more details on these issues, here are the specific California statutes:
California Penal Code section 653k
Concealed knives, dirks, and Daggers:
California Penal Code section 12020
Cane Swords and other Disguised Knives:
California Penal Code section 20200 et seq
Carrying Knives near Schools or Universities:
California Penal Code section 626.10
My advice, as your friendly neighborhood motorcycle accident lawyer? Leave your knives at home, or in your tool kit. You don’t need the hassle from cops, and it’s hard to imagine any good coming from carrying weapons. A message of peace and love from the motorcycle accident attorneys at Riderz Law.