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Possession of an Offensive Weapon

Possession of an offensive weapon is a serious offence. If convicted, you could face up to 4 years’ imprisonment, as well as problems finding work in the future and the impact on your family. It’s therefore essential to have the very best legal advice and representation at every stage of criminal proceedings.

Our criminal defence solicitors have been supporting people accused of weapon offences for more than 40 years. We can advise and represent you from your first contact with the police, through investigation and prosecution where required.

By offering clear, practical guidance and sympathetic support, we aim to make this difficult time easier on you while giving you the best chance of securing the right outcome.

We have a strong track record of helping clients to avoid charges for possession of an offensive weapon, as well as getting charges dropped early in an investigation. If you are charged and your case goes to trial, we can ensure you the strongest possible defence and best representation available.

If you have been arrested or charged with possession of an offensive weapon, you can contact us 24-hours a day, seven days a week for an immediate free initial consultation, expert legal advice and representation.

We speak a variety of languages across our team and work with a number of accredited interpreters, so can offer you clear legal advice in any language, helping to protect your legal rights and give you the best possible defence. We are available to clients all over England and Wales for round the clock support.

For a free initial consultation on dealing with an arrest or charge of possessing an offensive weapon, please contact our local offices in London, Birmingham or Manchester.

Need immediate legal support for possession of an offensive weapon? Our accredited Police Station Representatives and solicitors are available 24 hours a day 365 days a year using the emergency numbers listed at the top of the page.

Our expertise with possession of an offensive weapon charges

We have decades of specialist experience defending clients against all types of weapons offences, including:

  • Possession of an offensive weapon in a public place
  • Possession of an article with blade/point in a public place
  • Possession of an offensive weapon on school premises
  • Possession of an article with blade/point on school premises
  • Unauthorised possession in prison of a knife or offensive weapon

Our detailed understanding of the law regarding possession of offensive weapons means we can make sure all of the relevant factors are considered and that no potential angle of defence is missed, giving you the best chance of avoiding charges or achieving the best available outcome during a prosecution.

We also realise how confusing and worrying dealing with these types of serious criminal charges can be, so as well as making sure you have the very best legal advice, we will also provide sympathetic personal support to help see you through this challenging time.

By working with some of the UK’s top criminal defence barristers specialising in weapons offences, we can ensure that if your case does go to trial, you have the very best legal representation for every stage of the proceedings.

What to do if you are arrested for possession of an offensive weapon

When arrested for possession of an offensive weapon, it is essential to remember your rights so you can make sure you do not say or do anything to unintentionally undermine your defence.

Please keep in mind the following four points:

  1. You do not have to answer any questions asked by the police.
  2. You should never answer any police questions without a solicitor present.
  3. You have the right to free legal representation.
  4. You can use the duty solicitor available or choose your own lawyer.

If you are arrested on suspicion of possession of an offensive weapon, the arresting officers must tell you the specific offence you are accused of committing and they must caution you using the words:

“You do not have to say anything. But it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence.”

Following a police interview for possession of an offensive weapon, one of the following will occur:

  • You are released with no further action
  • You are released under investigation
  • You are charged with a specific child sexual offence

If you are charged with possession of an offensive weapon:

  • A date will be set for a court hearing
  • You will either be:
    • Released on bail
    • Kept in custody until your court appearance

Please note, even if you are released with no further action or under investigation, you can be still be rearrested or summonsed to attend a court hearing at any time.

What is considered an offensive weapon?

The CPS defines an offensive weapon as "any article made or adapted for use to cause injury to the person, or intended by the person having it with him for such use".

There is no exhaustive list of what is considered an offensive weapon but some of the most common types of items you might be charged for carrying include:

  • Knives
  • Knife blades
  • Swords
  • Any other sharply pointed bladed item which is made of adapted to cause injury to a person
  • Hammers and other tools
  • Cricket bats, baseball bats and other blunt objects
  • Improvised weapons e.g. a toothbrush sharpened to a point
  • Acid and corrosive substances

Some items, such as kitchen knives, may be considered offensive weapons depending on the circumstances e.g. if you are found to be carrying a kitchen knife around in public without good reason.

Penalties for possession of an offensive weapon

The penalties on conviction for possession of an offensive weapon range from a fine up to 4 years’ custody.

The sentence you receive will depend on the amount of harm caused or that might have been caused by the offence, as well as your level of ‘culpability’ i.e. how responsible you are considered to be for any harm caused or potential for harm to be caused.

Factors that may indicate greater harm for a possession of an offensive weapon offence include:

  • Where the offence was committed at a school, anywhere else vulnerable people might be present, or in prison
  • Where the offence happened under circumstances where there was a risk of serious disorder
  • Where the offence caused serious alarm and/or distress to others

You might be considered to have higher culpability for the offence if:

  • The weapon was bladed or otherwise considered highly dangerous
  • The offence was motivated by hostility towards people with or perceived to have a protected characteristic e.g. religion, race, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity

You may also receive a more serious sentence is there are ‘aggravating factors’, such as:

  • You have a previous conviction for a related offence
  • The offence was committed while you were on bail
  • The offence was committed as part of a group or gang
  • You made attempts to conceal your identity during the offence
  • You attempted to conceal or dispose of relevant evidence
  • You have failed to comply with a court order

What defence is there against a charge of possessing an offensive weapon?

There can be various defence options, depending on the circumstances. For example, it may be that you had a legitimate reason for carrying the article that police have suggested was an offensive weapon. In such circumstances, it is often possible to see charges avoided or dropped early in an investigation.

Where there is no dispute that you were in possession of an offensive weapon, there can be a number of circumstances that may see you receive a reduced sentence, including:

  • Where you have no previous relevant convictions
  • If it can be shown that you are of good character
  • If your age or lack of maturity are considered to reduce your responsibility for the offence
  • If you have a recognised mental disorder or learning disability
  • If you co-operate with the police

Contact our specialist criminal defence lawyers today

For a free initial consultation, urgent specialist advice, immediate representation or to speak to us confidentially about an arrest or charge for possession of an offensive weapon, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

You can contact our dedicated criminal defence lawyers in London, Birmingham, and Manchester by telephone on:

  • Camden Office: 020 7624 7771
  • Manchester Office: 0161 835 1638
  • Birmingham Office: 0121 614 3333
  • City of London: 0207 624 7771 (our senior Solicitors and Partners can meet by appointment in the City)

Or email: solicitors@jdspicer.co.uk

Alternatively, you can fill out our quick online enquiry form, and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

24/7 legal representation for possession of an offensive weapon charges

Please get in touch for a free initial consultation with one of our expert criminal defence solicitors, as well as immediate representation and advice on dealing with an arrest or charges for possession of an offensive weapon.

We are available to represent clients all over England and Wales at any time, so please contact our Emergency Number: 07836 577 556.


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