Knife crime is, unfortunately, still too common in Scotland. The Government and Police are keen to crack down on those suspected of carrying offensive weapons.

Carrying an Offensive Weapon in Scotland

The law prevents you from carrying an offensive weapon in a public place.

The offence of carrying an offensive weapon is committed when an individual has on their person, without lawful authority or a reasonable excuse, an 'offensive weapon'. A weapon is defined as offensive if it is made or adapted for the purpose of causing injury. It is an offence to carry a bladed weapon if the weapon in question is not a folding knife with a blade of less than three inches.

You will not be committing an offence if you are carrying a weapon with 'lawful authority'. This means that you are legally allowed to be in possession of the weapon, for instance a soldier who has a bayonet in possession while on duty will not be committing an offence.

Likewise, you will not be committing an offence if you are in possession of an article that may be deemed a weapon but there is a reasonable for you to have this article in your possession. A common example is that of the factory worker walking home in possession of a box cutter. In such a situation, there is plainly a reasonable excuse for having the boxcutter in your possession.

The offence must be committed in a public place. This is a fairly wide definition and includes premises to which the public have access to, whether on a paid basis or not. As such, concerts and nightclubs are included.

Searching and Offensive Weapons in Scotland

If a Policeman has reasonable grounds to suspect you are carrying a weapon then they may search you without a warrant and detain you for long enough to carry out the search. They are obliged to inform you of the reason you are being detained.

If you intentionally obstruct a police officer in the course of carrying out this search or attempt to conceal the weapon, then you will be committing an offence. At this point, you may be arrested.

What is an offensive weapon?

Offensive weapons fall into three main categories.

It must be:

  • An item that would objectively be regarded as an 'offensive weapon'. That is to say it must be created or designed with violence in mind. This category includes things like machetes, swords, flick knives or truncheons. Things like lock back knives, razors, penknives etc. are not regarded as offensive weapons per se as they can have an alternative innocent purpose.
  • An object adapted or altered to cause injury. This includes things like broken bottles, a baseball bat with nails in it, a broken snooker cue and so on.
  • Something that is not designed, built or intended to cause injury but is being carried for that purpose. This would include objects like hammers, boxcutters or even stones.

Contact McSporrans Criminal Defence Lawyers

If you have been accused of carrying an offensive weapon, it's vital you act fast. Our team of expert criminal defence lawyers are on hand to ensure that you are given the right advice at the right time to ensure that you have the best chance of success in your case.

With a team of Solicitors including a Solicitor-Advocate, McSporrans have represented clients in the High Court, Sheriff and Justice of the Peace Courts. If you have been charged with an offence, call us today on 0131 557 9151 (24hrs) for a free, no obligation discussion. Alternatively, request a callback or fill out our online enquiry form and we will be straight back in touch with you.

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