Knife Violence Lawyers in London

Are you facing knife crime charges?

If you or a family member has been detained by the police in relation to a knife crime, contact our specialist knife crime criminal defence solicitors today to represent you, before a police interview and before any formal questioning takes place.

You need to seek expert legal representation from a criminal defence lawyer as soon as you are able, to obtain the best possible outcome for your case.

We provide 24-hour legal representation, including assistance at police stations across London. We can also provide legal advice over the phone or in person at our London office by appointment only.

London knife crime statistics

With the recent rise in violent knife crime in London – prevalent across the capital and extensively covered in the media – there is a new focus on deterrent sentences to prevent knife possession.

Government figures for England and Wales show a 16% increase in the number of knife and offensive weapon offences between March 2021 and March 2022. The number of offences in the year ending in March 2022 was 40,920.

Recent surges in knife crime led the Sentencing Council to issue new guidelines relating to knife crime offences, which became effective from 1st June 2018.

What is considered to be a knife crime?

Knife crime and bladed article offences classified under the new Sentencing Council guidelines include:

  1. Possession of an offensive weapon in a public place
  2. Possession of an article with a blade or point in a public place
  3. Possession of an offensive weapon on school premises
  4. Possession of an article with a blade or point on school premises
  5. Unauthorised possession of a knife or offensive weapon in prison
  6. Threatening with an offensive weapon in a public place
  7. Threatening with an article with a blade or point in a public place
  8. Threatening with an article with a blade or point on school premises
  9. Threatening with an offensive weapon on school premises

Based on the new Sentencing Council guidelines, the courts are imposing harsher and longer sentences for those convicted of, or pleading guilty to, offences involving knives or other offensive, bladed or pointed weapons – making specialist legal advice and representation vital.

Which knives are illegal in the UK?

Knives which are prohibited under UK law – with no exceptions – include:

  1. Flick knives – also known as switchblades
  2. Disguised knives – where a blade is hidden inside an item such as a belt
  3. Butterfly knives  – where a handle splits in two to reveal a hidden blade
  4. Sword sticks
  5. Samurai swords – unless the item is purely decorative or an antique

Swiss army knives are permitted in the UK, providing the blade measures less than 7.6cm and does not lock.

What are the knife crime sentencing guidelines?

Knife crime is classified as a criminal offence in contravention of the Prevention of Crime Act 1953 and the Criminal Justice Act 1988.

If you have been accused of a knife crime – including possession of a bladed article or being found in possession of an offensive weapon – it is crucial to seek expert legal advice as soon as you are able to do so.

If you are convicted of a criminal offence involving a knife or bladed article, the sentencing process can be complicated and the court has a very wide range of options and sentences depending on various factors.

Factors that affect the sentencing of knife crime charges

UK sentencing guidelines for possession of a knife and similar offences pay particular attention to culpability. 

You’ll be regarded as being more culpable for any harm or potential harm if the weapon was considered to be highly dangerous. Or it could be that your offence was motivated by hostility towards people based on their religion, race, sexual orientation or another protected characteristic.

Other aggravating factors include committing an offence at a prison or somewhere with vulnerable people present, such as a school. Knife offences are also deemed to be more serious if your offence risked serious disorder or caused serious distress to others

The range of sentences for knife crime extends from:

  • A low-level community order
  • A maximum of four years’ imprisonment, plus a fine

Sentencing will depend on the severity of the individual offence, together with any mitigating or aggravating factors involved. However, even in the absence of any aggravating factors, the guidelines, to which the courts MUST have regard, require the court to consider whether a prison sentence of six months would be appropriate. If there is a previous conviction for certain knife offences, then a minimum custodial sentence of six months must be imposed unless it would be unjust in all the circumstances.

Expert legal advice from solicitors and lawyers – who know how to identify the key points is vital to ensure the best outcome is achieved.

Knife crimes including possession of a bladed article are triable either way, meaning they can be heard in either the magistrates’ court or the Crown Court.

What defence is there against knife crime charges?

Sometimes, people have a legitimate reason for carrying an item deemed to be an offensive weapon, such as for work. Self-defence is not, however, a good reason or a reasonable excuse

You can carry a folding pocket knife or a knife measuring less than 28cm which doesn’t lock into place. However, there are many grey areas around knife crime, so seeking expert legal advice is a must.

Even if you’re on the wrong side of the law by carrying a knife, there are mitigating factors that can lead to lighter sentencing or charges being dropped. They include:

  • Immediate cooperation with the police
  • A lack of previous convictions or being of good character
  • Reduced culpability due to youth
  • A mental disorder or learning disability in certain circumstances

Why choose Lawtons knife violence lawyers?

We are highly experienced in defending and dealing with knife crime offences in London and all round the UK. We have considerable expertise in cases of knife crime, bladed articles and the updated legislation, and sentencing guidelines relating to these offences, and we have successfully represented  many clients in cases of knife crime in London.

If you are asked to attend a police station in London on a voluntary interview basis, or you are being held on police bail or released under investigation, we can offer expert legal assistance and help to guide you through the procedure. Specialist criminal defence representation is advised at all times.

We can also represent you in court, with Lawtons’ team of knife crime solicitors in London regularly representing and defending clients in criminal cases at magistrates’ courts and Crown Courts across London.

Need urgent assistance from a knife crime solicitor in London?

Sentencing for knife crime is complex and our experienced knife crime solicitors in London will work with you to obtain the best possible outcome in your individual case. If you or a member of your family are in urgent need of legal assistance or advice from expert London knife crime solicitors please get in touch with us:

Lawtons Criminal Law Solicitors – London
5 St John’s Lane, Farringdon
Telephone: 0333 577 0522

FAQs about London Knife Crime

What happens if you’re caught with a knife?

Police can search you if they think you are carrying a knife. Even if you are carrying the knife for someone else or you believe you need to carry a knife for your own protection, you can still be sent to prison for up to four years.

Is carrying a knife a crime?

Yes, it is a crime to carry a knife as a weapon. Some knives are banned from public places as offensive weapons. You will be arrested and prosecuted if you are caught illegally carrying a knife or gun — even an imitation one.

Can I carry a Swiss Army knife?

Swiss Army knives are not illegal, but the law requires you to have a good reason for carrying it. You can be prosecuted if the Swiss Army knife is used in a threatening way.

What if I’m carrying a knife with good reason?

A court will decide if you are carrying a knife illegally or not. Possible understandable reasons include for film or television, a knife used at work, religious reasons (such as a Sikh’s kirpan) or a knife being transported to an exhibition at a museum. Where someone claims to have a good reason for having a knife, a court will look closely at the circumstances and examine the context of what was happening and what is said.