Legal Question in Criminal Law in Michigan
Carrying a knife in your vehicle
I would like to know if it is illegal to carry a knife in your vehicle and is there any size restriction?
2 Answers from Attorneys
Re: Carrying a knife in your vehicle
Michigan has 2 applicable weapons crimes: CCW (Carrying a Concealed Weapon) and Carrying a Dangeous Weapon:
MCL 750.227(1) -- a felony carrying up to 5 yrs and/or $2,500 fine -- says in part:
"A person shall not carry a dagger, dirk, stiletto, a double-edged nonfolding stabbing instrument of any length, or any other dangerous weapon, except a hunting knife adapted and carried as such, concealed on or about his or her person, or whether concealed or otherwise in any vehicle operated or occupied by the person..." So, if the knife qualifies as a "dagger, dirk, stiletto" or a "non-folding double-edged stabbing instrument", you're in jeopardy. (You can look in a dictionary for a standard definition/description of 'dirk', etc.). Those weapons are no-no's in a car.
If the knife is a hunting knife (which is usually a non-folding SINGLE-edged instrument) that is made AND CARRIED for that purpose, you're ok. Double-edged, rigid knives are more dangerous than folding or single-edged knives b/c they puncture bodies easier ... so they are more dangerous ... so they are prohibited in cars.
So, a traditional 'pocket knife' or Swiss army knife should be no problem for this section because it does not fit the definitions of the specified dangerous weapons (dirk, etc.), and are not "non-folding double-edged stabbing instruments".
The other statute is MCL 750.226 -- same max penalty as the other section -- prohibits "Any person who, with intent to use the same unlawfully against the person of another, goes armed with a pistol or other firearm or dagger, dirk, razor, stiletto, or knife having a blade over 3 inches in length, or any other dangerous or deadly weapon or instrument..."
Here, you still have some of the same specified "no-no" weapons (dirk, dagger, etc.) ... but there is an additional element: it has to be carried "with unlawful intent". What's that? It's been interpreted as including intent to use it for offensive or defensive purposes against another. So if you're carrying these "for self-defense", you are in jeopardy.
But section 226 casts a broader net re: the types of prohibited weapons: it includes knives w/ blades OVER 3" (including folding knives w/ blades that long when carried for an unlawful purpose). It also includes any other kind of weapon carried for an unlawful purpose (including things that can be used for lawful acts, like baseball bats, tire irons, etc.). The line is crossed when they are carried (concealed or otherwise, in a vehicle or not) "with unlawful intent".
So, walking around with a pocket knife with a blade of 3" or less with no unlawful intent for the knife should be ok under state law. Blades that short are less deadly (harder to penetrate to vital organs ... not impossible, just harder).
One caveat/warning: local ordinances of some towns, cities, villages and townships may be more restrictive than these state laws. THEY might ban ALL knives in all vehicles.
Re: Carrying a knife in your vehicle
THE MICHIGAN PENAL CODE (EXCERPT)
Act 328 of 1931
750.226 Firearm or dangerous weapon; carrying with unlawful intent.
Carrying firearm or dangerous weapon with unlawful intent—Any person who, with intent to use the same unlawfully against the person of another, goes armed with a pistol or other firearm or dagger, dirk, razor, stiletto, or knife having a blade over 3 inches in length, or any other dangerous or deadly weapon or instrument, shall be guilty of a felony, punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than 5 years or by a fine of not more than 2,500 dollars.
750.227 Concealed weapons; carrying; penalty.
(1) A person shall not carry a dagger, dirk, stiletto, a double-edged nonfolding stabbing instrument of any length, or any other dangerous weapon, except a hunting knife adapted and carried as such, concealed on or about his or her person, or whether concealed or otherwise in any vehicle operated or occupied by the person, except in his or her dwelling house, place of business or on other land possessed by the person.
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