Knife crime and sentencing changes
Leading criminal lawyer, David Wells advises on knife crime sentencing.
It seems in recent times that not a day passes without there being some reference in the media to someone being attacked and injured with a knife, and ever more frequently cases which result in death. Knife crime in London and the inner cities is very much on the rise. Some reports suggest that knife crime in London alone has increased by 21.2%. The courts are now recognising this problem and are imposing ever increasing sentences. These are designed to deter the possession and use of knives.
It was no surprise that, in direct response to such an increase, new guidelines for dealing with offenders were introduced by the Sentencing Council. The guidelines, effective from June 2018, are now routinely used by the courts and cover numerous possession offences, including:
- Possession of an article with a blade or point in a public place
- Possession of an article with a blade or point on school premises
- Unauthorised possession of a knife in prison
- Threatening with an article with a blade or point in a public place
- Threatening with an article with a blade or point on school premises
The same offences apply to possessing and using offensive weapons in identical circumstances; see our offensive weapon blog for further information.
Sentencing for knife offences
There is little doubt that offenders now more than ever are at real risk of receiving a custodial sentence if convicted of an offence involving the use of a knife or the threat of the use of a knife. A Ministry of Justice report stated that custodial sentences are now at the highest level they have been, whilst the proportion of offences resulting in a caution is at its lowest level. It is therefore essential that offenders facing court proceedings instruct a lawyer immediately.
What knives are illegal to possess?
- Flick knives
- Knives with the blade hidden from view
- Butterfly knives
- Samurai swords (a few exceptions apply)
Are any knives legal to possess?
- Swiss army knives, but only if the blade measures less than 7.6cm and the blade does not lock.
Interviewed about a knife crime?
If you have been asked to attend the police station for a formal interview under caution for a knife crime then we strongly advise getting in touch today to discuss your case and to arrange for you to be represented during the interview itself. There is no cost to you at all for attending the police station with a solicitor. It is completely free regardless of your income or assets.
Released under investigation for, or charged with, a knife crime
Have you been interviewed already by the police for a knife crime or charged to attend court? We strongly advise getting in touch today to discuss your case and to arrange for you to be represented. You may have a complete defence to the allegation; it may be that you were present at the scene of an incident, but it wasn't you who possessed a knife as is being alleged. Even if you do not have a defence, you will need to be advised on what can be done to ensure the court imposes the most lenient sentence possible.
What can I do now?
Contact David Wells direct on 07939 026751, or contact the Wells Burcombe offices and ask to speak to a knife crime expert - West Drayton, London on 01895 449288 or St Albans, Hertfordshire on 01727 840900 or email us via our contact page.