When talking about dangerous weapons, most people probably think of firearms first, but there are other weapons to consider. Swords and machetes are not illegal per se, but they are not without restrictions.
Swords and machetes are not categorically barred in Philadelphia. However, large blades like machetes or swords will draw heavy suspicion from law enforcement, and you might be charged. You can be charged for carrying an illegal blade if it is an automatic blade (e.g., switchblades) or if you use it for an unlawful purpose. You must have a legitimate purpose for carrying a sword or machete to avoid criminal charges. We can help you defend yourself by examining the nature of the laws surrounding weapons and blades. While having a large blade can seem dangerous at first glance, you should not be charged if you have a reasonable and legal reason for having a sword or machete.
You might face weapons charges for having a sword or machete, and our Philadelphia weapons charges defense lawyers can help you explain the situation and hopefully get the charges dropped. For a free case review, call The Law Offices of Lloyd Long at (215) 302-0171.
Are Swords and Machetes Illegal in Philadelphia?
Various weapons, both blades and firearms, are subject to heavy restrictions in Philadelphia. Although swords and machetes are not inherently illegal, they are likely to draw attention wherever you take them. Even if your possession of the sword or machete is legal, you might still be stopped and questioned by law enforcement. Our Philadelphia weapons charges defense lawyers can help you if you are charged in relation to your sword or machete.
According to 18 Pa.C.S. § 908(a), certain “offensive weapons” are prohibited, and someone using, dealing in, selling, or possessing any such weapons may be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor. A first-degree misdemeanor is only one step below felonies, so these are very serious potential charges. Under the law, prohibited offensive weapons include daggers, knives, razors, blades that are exposed by an automatic switch, like a switchblade, and any other implement for the infliction of serious bodily harm that has no common lawful purpose. Swords and machetes are dangerous blades and fall within the meaning of a prohibited offensive weapon.
Swords and machetes may be illegal in Philadelphia, depending on the circumstances. Even if you have a legal exception or reason for the blade, that does not necessarily mean you can walk around with a sword or machete strapped to your hip. Carrying a weapon anywhere in public is almost certain to draw suspicion and possible police intervention. If the police stop you for carrying a sword, machete, or other blades, call our Philadelphia criminal defense lawyers for help immediately.
Potential Criminal Charges in Philadelphia Related to Swords and Machetes
Swords and machetes are very large and dangerous weapons. Even if you are not using the weapon illegally, the police might be very suspicious and unwilling to let you go. Call our Bucks County criminal defense attorneys for help if you feel you have been unjustly charged.
One possible criminal charge is possession of a weapon on school property under 18 Pa.C.S. § 912(b). While carrying a sword or machete might not be illegal in most places, schools are different. This law prohibits the possession of a wider variety of weapons, including any instrument capable of inflicting great harm. If charged, you might face penalties for a first-degree misdemeanor.
A person might also be charged with the possession of a firearm or other dangerous weapon in a court facility under 18 Pa.C.S. § 913(a) if they bring a sword or machete to a court. Simply bringing a sword or machete to court might lead to charges for a third-degree misdemeanor. If the defendant is alleged to have intended to use the weapon in a crime at the court facility, they might face charges for a second-degree misdemeanor.
A person can be criminally charged for possessing a machete or sword with the intent to use the weapon for a criminal purpose. According to 18 Pa.C.S. § 907, you can be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor. The charges might instead be for a first-degree misdemeanor if the weapon was concealed.
It is important to note that misdemeanor charges are still harshly punished, although not as severe as felonies. First-, second-, and third-degree felonies can be punished by up to 5, 2, and 1 year in jail, respectively.
When Am I Allowed to Have a Machete or Sword in Philadelphia?
Although there are restrictions on weapons such as swords and machetes, you can still legally carry them under specific circumstances. However, you are likely to be stopped by law enforcement and questioned about the weapons if you carry them openly and in public. Even so, the police should not charge you if you can prove you are not doing anything illegal. If you cannot produce some proof that your weapon meets a valid legal exception to the law against prohibited weapons, you may be arrested and charged.
One possible explanation that many blade enthusiasts use is the Curio Exception. This rule is found under 18 Pa.C.S. § 908(b)(1) and is a defense to criminal charges for possession of prohibited offensive weapons. Essentially, if you can show by a preponderance of the evidence that you had the sword or machete because it is being displayed as part of a collection, used in a theatrical production, or something similar, your charges may be dropped. While this applies to keeping a blade as part of a collection, it does not necessarily cover you if you carry it in public. In that case, you might need to prove to the officer that you were transporting the blade to or from your collection. Proof of purchase from a lawful seller of such weapons might be necessary.
Enthusiasts and collectors who buy swords and machetes to display in private or public collections can have their charges dropped or dismissed. Often, these defendants face trouble when transporting the weapons to or from display areas like museums. Our Montgomery County criminal defense attorneys can help you if you are facing charges but are only blade enthusiasts.
Call Our Philadelphia Weapons Charges Defense Lawyers for Help Now
If you are facing charges related to a sword or machete, you can call our Delaware County criminal defense attorneys for help. While blades are certainly dangerous, they are not necessarily illegal, and charges are sometimes the result of misunderstandings with law enforcement. Call The Law Offices of Lloyd Long at (215) 302-0171 for a free case review.