How to navigate your teen’s knife possession charge
In California, juveniles can face adult charges for possessing illegal knives. While you may have hoped not to have to deal with the juvenile justice system, if caught with a blade, your teen could face felony or misdemeanor charges.
Over 40% of arrested juveniles face felony charges, whereas the other approximately 40% face misdemeanors. When it comes to knife charges, the prosecutor may decide how to proceed with the charge.
What constitutes an illegal blade?
California defines illegal blades by specific characteristics and mechanisms. Switchblades, for instance, have blades that release upon a button push must be under two inches. Likewise, your teen cannot carry a ballistic knife, which can shoot blades as projectiles. Other offenses include carrying a dirk or dagger underneath your clothes.
Why do teens carry knives?
Teens do not necessarily carry knives due to violent intent. Instead, many kids do not know how strict California’s knife laws are. They may possess a knife without recognizing that they could face criminal charges. Often, teens like knives because they are curious about them or have a simple interest in them.
Other kids may give in to peer pressure or want to impress their friends with a knife. They may try to demonstrate bravado or show others they can defend themselves.
When teenagers face possession charges for illegal blades, those charges could remain on their criminal record for the rest of their lives. Additionally, they could face juvenile detention, fines and a loss of their rights regarding weapon possession.