The Legal Ramifications of Carrying a Knife in Public in NSW

Knives can be a tool of safety, common utility, or a potential threat. While you may have your reason, the law considers it primarily as a threat to the public. It is due to the nature of the item—unlike guns, it can harm others even by a mere slip. So, for public safety, the law has imposed certain rules and regulations on carrying these everyday kitchen essentials.

However, you may have to carry one for other reasons, either as part of your job or for trade purposes. Then, how should you go about it? Let’s see it here!

Understanding NSW Knife Laws

Often called a ‘Knife Crime,’ the act of carrying a knife can attract serious consequences involving penalties as well as imprisonment. So, it is crucial to be well-informed about the Knife Laws in NSW and steer clear of the brewing trouble.

The general law says that the custody of knives in public places or schools is prohibited pursuant to Section 93IB of the Crimes Act 1900. The Maximum penalty for a person having a knife in their possession in a public place or school is 4 years imprisonment and/or a fine of $4400.

According to section 93IB(4) of the Crimes Act, it is not a reasonable excuse for a person to have a knife in their custody –

  • for self-defence, or
  • for the defence of another person.

Permissible Reasons to Carry Knives

As mentioned before, a person may have to carry a knife for many other genuine reasons than harming someone. For example, a carpenter may need a knife to do his job, such as opening boxes or carving a block of wood. Similarly, a retailer may carry knives for obvious trade purposes. So, section 93IB(2) of the Crimes Act 1900 stipulates that it is a defence to the charge if the accused person proves they had a reasonable excuse to possess the knife in a public place.

But what is a reasonable excuse?

Section 93IB(3) of the Crimes Act 1900 states that a reasonable excuse includes the person having the knife in custody–

(a) because it is reasonably necessary for:

  • the lawful pursuit of the person’s occupation, education or training, or
  • the preparation or consumption of food or drink, or
  • participation in a lawful entertainment, recreation or sport, or
  • the exhibition of knives for retail or other trade purposes, or
  • an organised exhibition by knife collectors, or
  • the wearing of an official uniform, or
  • genuine religious purposes, or

(b) because it is reasonably necessary during travel to or from or incidental to an activity referred to in paragraph (a), or

(c) in circumstances prescribed by the regulations.

Important Classification of Knives

In Australia, knives are divided into two primary categories—Prohibited and Restricted. Prohibited knives must not be purchased, sold, used, or possessed without a proper reason. On the other hand, the restricted knives can be sold or bought but not carried in public places. It is also illegal to import, make, sell, or possess a knife made of prohibited material.

Minors Caught with Knives in Possession

The law states that individuals under 18 years old must not own or buy knives. If they do, their parents become responsible for their actions, particularly when they have knowingly allowed the child to carry the knife. Here are a few outcomes you can expect from breaching the knife laws as a minor:

  • Charging the parents with a maximum of 5 penalty units.
  • The child’s own liability for the action stays unaffected.
  • Only one punishment, even when the incident raises charges under multiple laws.

Similarly, it is also a punishable offence to sell knives to anyone under the age of 16 years. It attracts a fine of a maximum of 50 penalty units. However, some specific knives or situations can be exempt, as stipulated by the regulations.

Community Awareness and Education

The knife laws in NSW have helped reduce knife violence drastically, making our communities safer and more peaceful. So, it is rather important to be able to follow the defined rules. The most crucial thing here is to be able to distinguish what is permissible from what is not and act by the law.

Further, you can also improve lawful living by:

  • Enhancing community awareness regarding knife laws and their implications.
  • Seeking legal advice immediately when in doubt.
  • Practising responsible ownership of knives.
  • Following initiatives aimed at reducing knife violence and promoting safety.
  • Work in tandem with law enforcement in promoting compliance and public safety.

Charged with an offence? Call Oxford Lawyers Now!

Are you someone who deals with knives? Or have you already been charged with a knife offence? Wait no more. Call our Sydney Criminal Lawyers right away and learn about the knife laws in NSW. It is a criminal offence to be caught carrying a knife in public places, and when this charge is not averted, it can become a permanent mark on your record. This can have a devastating effect on your future, including limited employment opportunities.

So, do not take it lightly! We are here to clarify and defend your rights relentlessly, helping you get out of this legal predicament.

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