Interviewer: Are knife possession charges pretty serious? Where I come from you can buy a knife that’s over 4 inches at a gas station.
Carl Spector: We’re talking specifically about the City of New York. In fact, the case that I was just discussing with you, the statute actually has a long discussion which I’d like to put here to you so that maybe you can understand.
I really appreciate the question because the administrative code section 10-133 states that possession of knives or instruments, and this is what their legislative findings are and this is very specific to the city, to the administrative code violation.
In New York, Knife Possession in Public Places Are Considered a Menace to the Population
It says it is hereby declared and found that the possession in public places, street and parks of the city of large knives is a menace to the public health, peace, safety and welfare of the people of the city.
That the possession in public places, streets and parks with such knives has resulted in the commission of many homicides, robberies, maiming and assaults of and upon the people of the city; that this condition encourages and fosters the commission of crimes and contributes to juvenile delinquency, youth crimes and gangsterism; that unless the possession or carrying in public places, streets and parks of the city of such knives without a lawful purpose is prohibited, there is danger of an increase in crimes or violence and other conditions detrimental to public peace, safety and welfare.
It is further declared and found that the wearing or carrying of knives in open view in public places while such knives are not being used for a lawful purpose is unnecessary and threatening to the public and should be prohibited.
New York City Is Comprised of Five Boroughs and Has a Population in the Millions
I completely understand and appreciate that this is a New York City edict and therefore New York City law. New York City comprises the boroughs of Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan and Staten Island. It involves millions of people who might otherwise feel that they’re carrying a knife lawfully and then get involved with the police, legally or not and windup having that knife confiscated. They are then charged with this administrative code section and usually do not know what to do.
A Number of People Regularly Carry Knives for Work Use and Are Unaware They are Violating the NYC Statute
Interviewer: I would imagine a large number of people do not carry a knife for the purpose for violence per se but for everyday usage.
Carl Spector: In the City of New York, that particular law, administrative code is in play and people do find themselves subject to that. I certainly agree that a knife of 4 or 5 inches in length, while it could certainly be used against other people as a weapon could also be used as a tool in a regular course of anybody’s day.
New York City Statute Also Prohibits Consuming Alcohol in Public Places; as This Code Differs from Other States It Results in a Number of Code Violations
Then you have other places such like New Orleans where you can drink in public and I think it’s more common in most areas that you can’t drink in public or have even a bottle in a bag. In the City of New York you can’t drink alcohol even out of a bottle, in a bag, or a can in a bag, that is also a violation of administrative code and it leads to people being charged. I’ve represented several of those cases like that successfully and had many of those cases actually result very favorably.
Different areas of the country have different rules.
Interviewer: I agree and I know in Louisiana, if you’re driving a car your passenger could be drinking.
Carl Spector: That’s actually a good point because that’s not tolerated in NYC either. An open container in New York is not tolerated; it is an offense. I understand that completely.
Interviewer: That particular case with that individual, how long did that case last?
Carl Spector: He was charged in February 26th of this year and the case was just heard yesterday which is May 15th. It was three months, but we only made one court appearance.
While Knife Possession Is a Code Violation, a Conviction Will Result in a Permanent Criminal Record
Interviewer: I think it’s also good for the individual because otherwise if he hadn’t had you there it could have resulted in a situation that could have affected the rest of his life.
Carl Spector: You would not want to have a record of that on his record especially with having a good job and a bright future. He’s been working for quite some time.
What Transpires in the Event a Case isn’t Resolved during the First Court Appearance, Known as the Arraignment?
I think that you bring up another good point and that is what happens if on that first appearance, what we call an arraignment, that case isn’t resolved, isn’t dismissed or resolved in some other way. I think that’s what people want to know. Generally speaking, if the case is not dismissed on the first appearance or if the person doesn’t enter some type of a plea arrangement, then what happens next?
There Are Additional Court Appearances and a Trial Is Scheduled
What happens next is that the person would have to come back for a trial. While that’s fine for some people, other people can get quite nervous under those circumstances and not understand what they’re facing.
You could have more than one appearance on a case like that. Obviously, this short and sweet result was just that very, very sweet. Have that case not been dismissed, we were prepared to come back and have the court notify the police officer and take it to the next step which would have been a trial.