Unlike its neighbor, California, Nevada state law has very few provisions that regulate the possession and use of knives. That being said, those laws that are on the books regarding the issue are quite strict and carry prison time as a consequence. A knowledgeable Nevada criminal defense attorney may be able to successfully get a knife charge down to a lesser crime or even dismissed altogether.
Nevada Knife Crimes
Generally speaking, it is perfectly legal to carry around a knife in Nevada, whether concealed or not. There are, however, four main exceptions:
It is illegal to carry a concealed dagger, dirk, or machete without a local sheriff’s permit;
Unless you have sheriff’s permission, Clark County does not allow someone to conceal carry a knife that is three inches long or longer;
A person may not carry dirks, daggers, or switchblades at schools, child-care facilities, or state-run universities;
A person is forbidden from drawing or brandishing a knife in a threatening or rude manner in front of two or more people.
Penalties for Knife Charges
Of note, municipal knife laws in Nevada are stricter than parallel state laws. Violations of Nevada knife laws can range from misdemeanors to category C felonies. Nevada misdemeanors carry up to six months in jail and/or up to $1,000.00 in monetary fines. A category C felony, on the other hand, carries one to five years in Nevada state prison and fines of up to $10,000.00. Depending on the facts of the case, the Nevada district attorney may be willing to reduce the offenses charged and/or the judge may chose to impose probation instead of jail time.
Defenses to Nevada Knife Charges
While the best defense to a Nevada knife charge depends on the facts of the case, there are common defenses put forth by those accused of the crime. This includes:
Lack of knowledge—if the person is unaware that the knife was there, he or she should not be held criminally liable because there is lack of intent;
The knife is not actually illegal—if the knife in question lacks illegal features, but the law enforcement officer mistook it for having them, charges should be dropped against the accused;
Misconduct of police—if the knife is found through an unlawful search and seizure, it may be excluded from the evidence and could leave the prosecution with too weak of a case to pursue further.
In short, while Nevada has few provisions regulating the possession of knives, if you do not follow them closely you can be charged with illegally having or using one. If you or someone you know has any questions about Nevada knife laws or any other legal questions, contact the knowledgeable Nevada attorneys at Parry & Pfau. With years of experience representing clients across the state of Nevada, these skilled attorneys can help you understand your rights and obligations under the law.
(image courtesy of Vladislav M)