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  1. #1

    Default Criminal Threatening Charge for Showing a Knife

    My question involves criminal law for the state of: Pennsylvania

    A coworker and friend of mine recently got into an argument with another coworker. In the middle of the argument, he took out his folded pocket knife (about 3" blade) and made a broad statement about how the other guy would regret saying/doing something. In no way did he state that he would hurt the guy (just that he would regret it), and he did not unfold the knife or show the blade. However, the fight eventually got physical and someone called the cops. He's now being charged with "criminal threatening with a deadly weapon," which apparently is a felony.

    Does merely displaying the knife count as threatening? I want to state again that he did not use it and did not even unfold it; in fact, the knife has a lock on it which was engaged (I have the same one, so I know), although obviously the other guy didn't know about the lock. The other guy threw the first punch after my friend had put the knife back in his pocket. My friend is in over his head with all the legal stuff and will probably bend to any pressure a cop/lawyer puts him under, so I just want to make sure for his sake that he doesn't plead guilty to something he could beat.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Does Showing a Knife=threatening

    You bet it is .. what if someone pulled a knife on you?

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Does Showing a Knife=threatening

    Quote Quoting BillyCostigan
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    My question involves criminal law for the state of: Pennsylvania

    A coworker and friend of mine recently got into an argument with another coworker. In the middle of the argument, he took out his folded pocket knife (about 3" blade) and made a broad statement about how the other guy would regret saying/doing something. In no way did he state that he would hurt the guy (just that he would regret it), and he did not unfold the knife or show the blade. However, the fight eventually got physical and someone called the cops. He's now being charged with "criminal threatening with a deadly weapon," which apparently is a felony.

    Does merely displaying the knife count as threatening? I want to state again that he did not use it and did not even unfold it; in fact, the knife has a lock on it which was engaged (I have the same one, so I know), although obviously the other guy didn't know about the lock. The other guy threw the first punch after my friend had put the knife back in his pocket. My friend is in over his head with all the legal stuff and will probably bend to any pressure a cop/lawyer puts him under, so I just want to make sure for his sake that he doesn't plead guilty to something he could beat.
    Idk know pa law but it's not hard to imagine that just showing the knife could be considered threatening with a weapon. He did display it,actual pulling it open could be a higher charge,idk. He needs to hire a lawyer asap and not bend to anyone,just keep his mouth shut and follow the advice of his lawyer. It could help massively in him getting the charge reduced. It's up to the state to make the case against him,he shouldn't help them do that.

    Idk what started the argument but if someone pulled out a knife and said I would regret what I just said I would take the same as if he said he was gonna cut me. His needs to direct his legal questions to a lawyer. It's on the state to prove that he displayed the knife and didn't just have in his pocket.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Does Showing a Knife=threatening

    He has stepped in the doo-doo big time. He cannot "beat" it on his own. Legal representation from an experienced local criminal defense attorney is needed yesterday. A lawyer may be able to plea the case down or if it goes to trial, raise enough reasonable doubt to get an acquittal.

    Virtually any reasonable person would have interpreted your friend's actions and accompanying words as a serious threat to their safety and well-being. He escalated the situation from words to physical violence so that's another tick against him.

    Lawyer...now!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Does Showing a Knife=threatening

    What's the statute number of the offense he's charged with committing?

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Does Showing a Knife=threatening

    Showing a weapon and saying that the other guy is going to regret is action is reasonably taken as assault. You've certainly have enough for simple assault which is bad enough (could get you two years) you could also be charged with aggravated assault (which is a felony. Actually while PA calls simple assault a misdemeanor, with a two year prison term, other states and the feds may call it a felony, too.).

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Criminal Threatening Charge for Showing a Knife

    Quote Quoting BillyCostigan
    View Post
    Does merely displaying the knife count as threatening? I want to state again that he did not use it and did not even unfold it; in fact, the knife has a lock on it which was engaged (I have the same one, so I know), although obviously the other guy didn't know about the lock.
    One is not permitted to brandish a weapon merely to thwart off words that are not of a phsyically threatening nature.

    In my state, Ohio, that would be disorderly conduct or Menacing.

    Example;

    1. Man states to me he is going to break my neck and approaches me.

    Here I have more than a reasonable belief my life in in immediate danger therefore I have aright to use self defense, and that includes pulling the knife and using it if necessary.

    Unless you felt you were in immediate physical harm, the law does not permit such brandishing as that is not a Justification defense to words which are not really acted on or menacing.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Criminal Threatening Charge for Showing a Knife

    Thanks for the advice. He has a lawyer, but he's also the kind of guy that just wants everything to go away, so I could see him just agreeing to the first deal he got without trying to bring it down or anything. I'm sure he's going to plead to something (him and the other guy are charged with a couple other misdemeanors), but I wanted to see if just displaying his knife would be enough to warrant a criminal threatening charge.

    He's a good guy, but he's prone to doing stupid things. I think he's got a good lawyer, so hopefully that will help. I just hope whatever happens doesn't hurt his family too much.

    PS: Sorry, I don't know the statute it's under. I just know it's something called "criminal threatening" and that he could go to jail. He didn't say whether it was a felony or misdemeanor charge, but it sounded like he was worried about going away for more than just a couple months.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Criminal Threatening Charge for Showing a Knife

    I bet he just wants this to go away ... I would too in his shoes ..

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