Will a misdemeanor go on my son’s record and what are the chances a judge might dismiss it?

My son (20 yreas old next month was skateboarding with a friend in a business area. A policeman told them to leave, but first he asked them if they had anything illegal on them. My son admitted he had a knife. The policeman wrote him a ticket and told him to appear in court (next week). The policeman called the knife a switch-blade. My son called it a butterfly knife. He said he just carries it because it looks cool and you can do tricks with it. He has no record otherwise. Should he plead guilty? Will a public defender help him?

Asked on March 23, 2012 under Criminal Law, California


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Rather than your son pleading guilty to the charge against him, I recommend that he consult with a criminal defense attorney, private attorney or a public defender. Possibly a good criminal defense attorney can get the charges dismissed assuming the knife was a legal butterfly knife.

A switchblade knife (illegal in most states) has a spring to flip the balde. A butterfly knife does not. The blade is gravity released via a flip of the hand. The district attorney's office has to demonstrate that the presumed confiscated knife is illegal. From what you have written it might not be illegal.

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