Our Austin criminal defense attorneys explain how Texas weapons laws apply to carrying a knife on your person.
A knife can come in handy. They are useful for hunting, fishing, performing odd tasks, and of course, as a form of protection. A knife can also be considered a potential deadly weapon and in certain situations, could result in serious criminal charges. Granger and Mueller, P.C. has over 25 years of experience as Austin criminal defense attorneys. We explain what you need to know about Texas knife laws to prevent being charged with a weapons crime.
Your Right to Carry a Knife in Texas
Under the Texas Penal Code, a knife is described as any bladed instrument capable of cutting or stabbing and causing serious harm. In regards to carrying them on your person, there are certain stipulations:
- Adults and juveniles under the age of 18 may carry a knife on their person anywhere in the state, provided the blade is no longer 5.5 inches. You can also keep knives in your home, vehicle, or other areas, such as a boat or camper, without fear of criminal charges if stopped by the police.
- Adults can carry knives with over a 5.5 inch blade, referred to by law as a ‘location-restricted knife’ in most public places but they are prohibited in schools, government buildings, and courthouses.
- Juveniles are prohibited from carrying location-restricted knives (those with over a 5.5 inch blade) except under special circumstances, such as on a hunting or camping trip and while under the supervision of an adult.
Does it Matter What Type of Knife I Carry?
There are a variety of different knives, all of which can be used for good purposes. This includes pocket knives, double edged knives, switchblades, machetes, spears, and the long list of knives used in food preparation. Previously, Texas law dealt with these on the basis of the type and shape of blade. For example, it was once illegal to sell or even possess a switchblade. This changed due to major revisions in Texas knife laws over the course of 2013 and 2017. Now, the focus is less on the type of blade than on the knife length.
The 5.5 inch knife length law is based on measurements from the hilt to the tip of the blade. Measurement standards were set through cases such as McMurrough v. The State of Texas, 995 S.W. 2d 944 (1999), in which the defendant’s attorney argued that only the sharpened part of the blade should count. The hilt to blade measurement is also consistent with protocols from the American Knife and Tool Institute (AKTI) and generally relied on by sellers. It is a primary concern when carrying a knife to avoid a weapons charge.
Charged With a Weapons Offense for Carrying A Knife? Contact Our Austin Criminal Defense Attorney
Charged with a weapons offense for carrying a knife on your person? Reach out Granger and Mueller, P.C. To request a consultation, call or contact our Austin criminal defense attorney online today.