It is illegal to possess a dirk or dagger as that is defined in Los Angeles if it is somehow concealed on your person. In other words, it has to be hidden in your pocket – in your waistband – where you can't barely see it or some other location and it has to be the type of a weapon that classifies as a dirk or dagger.
That usually means some sort of a longer knife that's open. Like even like a Swiss army knife could be a dirk or dagger if it was open in the locked position. So, as far as finding a dirk or dagger, it really has to do with some sort of a stabbing weapon or knife that can be used to inflict great bodily injury to another person.
Protecting the Public
Obviously, the California legislature, the prosecutors, the judges and the police don't want people to be able to conceal a knife on their person, become engage and involved in some sort of a fight and then produce that knife and stab another person.
If on the other hand, you have a knife in a sheath – people can see it. They know that you have it. Some people have those things for lawful purposes like for their job or various other activities that are not designed to lure somebody into some sort of a confrontation and then use the weapon against them.
I do see this crime charged a lot, but usually, it's under circumstances where somebody is acting in an unlawful manner. For example, a gang member is concealing a knife and using it to fight against another gang member or another member of the public.
Other scenarios that I see this, as examples, is when somebody becomes angry or enraged and gets involved in a fight with somebody, maybe they're losing the fight or maybe they just want the fight to end so they pull out a concealed dirk or dagger. They stab the other person.
They take advantage of the other person because the other person doesn't know that they have that weapon. Another area where I see this happening is in big parties. A lot of times there will be brawls.
Nobody can see what's going on. It's dark. People are intoxicated or using other drugs. One person with the weapon, concealed dirk, dagger or knife, can do a lot of damage to a party-goer that can't see anything and is involved in some sort of a melee – now the person pulls a dirk or dagger out, stabs him multiple times.
A lot of times it's so sharp people don't even realize they've been stabbed. By the time they realize it it's too late. They've bled-out. A major artery is hit and then they die.
So, I see a lot of these cases and they're usually charged under the circumstance where someone's getting stabbed multiple times during a fight at a party, for example, they'll charge that as murder if somebody dies. If they don't die, they'll charge it as attempted murder.
So, the possession of these dirk or daggers, a lot of times if they're concealed they're charged as a misdemeanor, but if you actually use a dirk or dagger and you inflict some sort of bad injury on somebody, you can be charged with assault with a deadly weapon, attempted murder, or even murder if somebody dies.
Defenses To Possession To A Dirk Or Dagger – PC 21310
Obviously, one defense is that people could see that I had it. It was not concealed. I had it in the sheath. Enough of it is showing that this is going to be a factual issue – whether or not there was enough showing so that somebody could see it.
A lot of times you have seen people say hey, listen, I got into a fight here. This other person was a lot bigger than I was, so I had to pull out a knife to defend myself or the guy would have killed me. That could be a reasonable self-defense claim because for self-defense, you just have to be using reasonable force in order to protect yourself and it might be reasonable if someone is getting the better of you and you have to pull out a knife to defend yourself.
But you would still be guilty of possession of a dirk or dagger if the knife was concealed. So, there's a lot of different scenarios over the course of the last twenty-five years of defending these dirk or dagger cases that I bumped up against. Had a lot of success with them – again, depending on the circumstances.
Reviewing Case Strategy
So, what I have you do is you come into the office. We sit down and go over everything. Obviously, I ask that you be honest and give me all the details and facts surrounding the possession of the alleged weapon or knife, and then we can come up with our game plan on how we're going to defend the case – whether it's going to be a defense at a jury trial or whether it's going to be a scenario where I'm working out some sort of a plea bargain.
What you're doing with the dirk or dagger is obviously an important ingredient in what the prosecutors are going to want to you as far as punish and what they want to have on your record. There's a whole host of charges that can go along with possession of a dirk or dagger.
Some of them are lesser included. Some involve diversion or other programs that can protect your record, while other's involve much more serious crimes like attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon so, you're really going to want a the best criminal defense attorney when it comes to these weapon cases, and specifically, possession of dirk or dagger pursuant to Penal Code Section 21310.
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