Blackjacks and defense batons might seem harmless compared to other dangerous weapons like firearms, but this could not be further from the truth. These weapons are so dangerous that they are illegal in Philadelphia.
It is illegal to carry blackjacks and defense batons in Philadelphia. These are weapons designed to inflict serious harm, and carrying one may be met with criminal charges. Simply having one of these weapons may be a criminal offense, but you can also face charges for using one in the commission of another crime. Even using a blackjack or defense baton in self-defense might land you in legal trouble. If you are facing charges for having one of these weapons, speak to a lawyer immediately. The law does not usually recognize a legitimate use or purpose for these weapons, but there still might be ways you can challenge the charges against you.
Weapons charges related to blackjacks and defense batons are very serious, and the penalties might be harsh. Our Philadelphia weapons charges defense attorneys can help you fight these charges. For a free case review, call The Law Offices of Lloyd Long at (215) 302-0171.
Is it Legal to Carry a Blackjack or Defense Baton in Philadelphia?
Blackjack is a short club covered in leather and filled with lead or another solid material. The handle of blackjack is flexible, allowing the user to inflict serious harm when used to strike someone. Similarly, defense batons are short sticks or clubs a person can use to strike an attacker. While these weapons might seem harmless compared to a firearm, they are extremely dangerous and illegal to carry in Philadelphia. Our Philadelphia criminal defense lawyers can help you if you face charges related to either of these weapons.
According to 18 Pa.C.S. § 908, someone who sells deals in uses or possesses any “offensive weapon” may be criminally charged. The statute defines offensive weapons to include blackjacks, along with various other weapons, blades, and blunt instruments. While defense batons are not specifically mentioned, the law does include a general catch-all phrase. Any implement meant to inflict serious bodily injury and does not serve a common lawful purpose is considered an offensive weapon and prohibited by law. Defense batons can reasonably be interpreted as an offensive weapon.
Criminal Charges Related to Carrying a Blackjack or Defense Baton in Philadelphia
According to the statute mentioned previously, a person carrying a blackjack or defense baton may be criminally charged. Defendants may be charged with first-degree misdemeanors, which are only one step below felonies. Other charges may be piled on if the blackjack or defense baton is believed to have been used in a crime or was intended to be used in a crime.
Under 18 Pa.C.S. § § 907(a)-(b), a person may be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor for possessing a criminal instrument with the intent to use it for a criminal purpose. A person can also be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor for possessing a weapon concealed on their person with the intent to use it in a crime.
The law here specifically defines an instrument of a crime as anything specifically made or adapted for a criminal purpose or anything used for a criminal purpose and possessed by an actor under circumstances not appropriate for a possible lawful use.
All the criminal charges mentioned here may be for first-degree misdemeanors. In Pennsylvania, a first-degree misdemeanor may be punished by up to 5 years in jail. Multiple charges can quickly add up to a very long time in jail. Our Delaware criminal defense lawyers can help you fight the charges and clear your name.
What if I Use a Blackjack or Defense Baton in Self-Defense in Philadelphia?
A claim many defendants charged with crimes related to blackjacks or defense batons share is that they only had the weapon as a means of self-defense. In some cases, defendants claim they had to use the weapon to protect themselves from harm, but they are still criminally charged. While being charged for defending yourself might feel like a grave injustice, you can still be charged because the weapon involved was illegal.
Self-defense claims might help you avoid charges for using the weapon against an attacker, but having the weapon at all might still be a criminal offense. This is especially so if the authorities believe you had the weapon for an unlawful purpose but ended up using it in self-defense in an unplanned incident.
However, if you did not have the blackjack or defense baton for a criminal purpose, we might be able to persuade the prosecutors to be lenient and reduce or even drop the charges if you agree to dispose of the weapon. Our Montgomery County criminal defense attorneys can help you fight the charges.
Fighting Charges for Having an Illegal Blackjack or Defense Baton
There may be numerous possible defenses to charges for having an illegal blackjack or defense baton. In many cases, defendants are overcharged. This often occurs when prosecutors charge defendants with the most severe offenses possible, only to work them down to something more reasonable later. For example, you might be charged with possessing a weapon with the intent to use it in a crime when you had no such intention, and the prosecutor has little evidence to support the allegation. In that case, we might be able to downgrade your charges to something less severe.
One important defense tactic, especially in weapons charges cases, is suppressing the evidence. The key piece of evidence in a prosecutor’s case for weapons charges is the weapon itself. If we believe the blackjack or defense baton in your case was seized by law enforcement illegally, we can have it excluded from your trial. Without the weapon, the prosecutor’s case may fall apart.
Call Our Philadelphia Weapons Charges Defense Lawyers for Help Today
If you are in hot water because of a blackjack or defense baton in your possession, our Northeast Philadelphia criminal defense lawyers can assist you. Call The Law Offices of Lloyd Long to schedule a free case review at (215) 302-0171.