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Lawyers help you cut through Ohio knife laws

ohio knife laws - switchblade knife

Sure, statewide laws regarding knives in Ohio are rather limited, but that doesn’t mean the issue isn’t complex. Most cities and towns have their own ordinances relating to knives, so wading into specific cases can be difficult. What is legal in one city may not be in another.

If you’re facing charges related to a knife, the Columbus criminal defense lawyers at Yavitch & Palmer know Ohio knife laws and can help. Read on for a general overview of Ohio knife laws.

Is it legal to own a knife in Ohio?

The only types of knife expressly banned in Ohio are ballistic knives, spring-loaded blades that can be fired over a distance and fall under the definition of “dangerous ordnance.” There is, otherwise, no official law against owning or carrying a knife in Ohio.

Some types of knives are considered especially dangerous or are considered to be manufactured for the purpose of illicit use. The following types of knives cannot be sold in Ohio.

  • Switchblade knives: A knife with a folding or sliding blade concealed in its handle
  • Springblade knives: A switchblade knife that opens by pushing a button with a spring-operated release
  • Gravity knives: A switchblade designed to be opened with one hand with the force of motion or gravity

ohio knife laws - switchblade knife

Switchblade knife
Copyright: kocetoilief via 123RF Stock Photo

Copyright : gavran333 via

Springblade knife
Copyright : gavran333 via 123RF Stock Photo

Gravity Knife
Credit: YouTube user David Henry

Is it legal to carry a knife in Ohio?

You might think owning a license for a Concealed Carry Weapon (CCW) in Ohio means you can also carry a concealed knife. You would be wrong. Only handguns are covered in those laws, and knives can fall under the category of “deadly weapons.” In some cases, that could result in weapon possession felony charges.

Ohio Revised Code defines a “deadly weapon” as “any instrument, device, or thing capable of inflicting death, and designed or specially adapted for use as a weapon, or possessed, carried, or used as a weapon.”

That definition obviously can include most any knife, although rulings in the state take into consideration their use and intent.

In one case, courts ruled that a one-and-a-half- to two-inch pocket knife carried by a student was not acceptable. Another case found a court noting that not every type of knife was intended as a weapon, even though they could be used as such, noting that under that definition “every workman, camper, hunter and fisherman could be found guilty of a first-degree misdemeanor.”

Even more recently, an Ohio high school senior was jailed for 13 days over a folding-blade pocketknife that was found during a search of his vehicle on school grounds. With rules varying across the state, an experienced attorney is your best bet to answer specific questions.

What if you have a knife during commission of another crime?

Having a knife on your person can also result in increased charges in some criminal cases, and a misdemeanor charge can quickly escalate into a felony. Here a couple of examples.

  • Assault: An accusation of simple assault is normally a first-degree misdemeanor, but it becomes a second-degree felony if a deadly weapon is involved, even if no harm is done with this weapon.
  • Robbery: Without a weapon, the crime of robbery is considered a third-degree felony that can carry up to five years in jail, but possessing a knife or threatening another person with it during the incident increases the charges to a second-degree felony — and increases the potential jail time.

What to do if you are facing knife-related charges

With knife laws literally varying from city to city, if you face charges related to knives, you need legal support with experience in these types of charges. Contact Yavitch & Palmer at 614-224-6142, or use our online form to schedule an appointment at our downtown Columbus office.

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