As previously reported, New York State’s highest court, in a ruling that caught us and others by complete surprise, upheld the conviction of a person who possessed an assisted-opening knife as being an illegal switchblade. Knife Rights submitted a motion for reargument based on ineffective counsel, but it was denied. Owners of assisted-opening knives in New York State are now put in legal jeopardy.
Based on reports from a number of defense attorneys, prosecutors who previously dropped switchblade charges when the knife was shown to be an assisted-opener are now continuing with prosecutions based on this ruling.
Our advice at this point to those residing in, or traveling through, New York is to avoid carry of an assisted-opening knife. Individuals with a prior conviction might consider the possible consequences if they are found to possess an assisted-opening knife under any circumstances given the likelihood of any illegal knife charge involving an assisted-opener being upgraded to a felony.
And, just to be clear, this assisted-opener issue covers the entire state of New York and is entirely separate from New York City’s gravity knife arrests and prosecutions. Although, having said that, those arrested in New York City while carrying an assisted-opener are perhaps most at risk from this ruling.