Carrying a Dangerous Weapon

In Massachusetts, carrying a dangerous weapon on your person, or in your vehicle, is punishable by 6 months up to 2 1/2 years in jail. However, while the statute sets out exactly what constitutes a "dangerous weapon" for purposes of this section, it is not uncommon for a police officer to arbitrarily consider an object a "dangerous weapon." Fortunately, that subjective determination is not enough for you to be convicted under this statute.

MGL c. 269 s. 10(b) defines a dangerous weapon as any stiletto, dagger or device or case which enables a knife with a locking blade to be drawn at a locked position, any ballistic knife, or any knife with a detachable blade capable of being propelled by any mechanism, dirk knife, any knife having a double-edge blade, or a switch knife, or any knife having an automatic spring release device which by the blade is released from the handle, having a blade of over one and one half inches, or a slung shot, blowgun, blackjack, metallic knuckles of any substance which could be put to the same use with the same or similar effect as metallic knuckles, nunchaku, zoobow, also known as klackers or kung fu sticks, or any similar weapon consisting of two sticks of wood, plastic or metal connected at one end by a length of chain, rope, wire, or leather, a shuriken or any similar pointed starlike object intended to injure a person when thrown, or any armband, made with leather which has metallic spikes, points or studs or any similar device made from any other substance or a cestus or similar material weighted with metal or other substance and worn on the hand, or a manrikigursari or similar length of chain having weighted ends.

If you have already been convicted of carrying a firearm or dangerous weapon, you now face a minimum mandatory of 5 years in state prison, up to 7 years in prison. A third offense carries a minimum mandatory of 7 years up to 10 years in state prison, and a fourth offense carries a minimum mandatory of 10 years up to 15 years in state prison.

The facts and circumstances surrounding the way in which you were found to be in possession of the dangerous weapon is very often the most critical issue in this type of case. If the police were not justified in searching your person or vehicle, the evidence (in this case, the dangerous weapon) must be suppressed and the case dismissed. It is very important that you never volunteer information to the police, such as admitting that you have a dangerous weapon in your possession. Your consent to perform a pat-frisk of your person, or to search your car, is all the justification they need.  It is important that you exercise your constitutional right to remain silent until you've had the opportunity to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney.

If you have been charged with carrying a dangerous weapon in Massachusetts, contact our office for your free initial consultation:

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