Brass knuckles carry a significant legal weight in Canada where they are classified as banned weapons under section 84(1) of the Criminal Code and its regulations. This article delves into the legal intricacies surrounding brass knuckles, exploring their classification, the implications of their use in self-defence, the prohibition on possession, associated penalties, and the importance of legal representation when facing charges.
What weapons are classified as brass knuckles?
Brass knuckles, commonly known by various names such as knuckledusters, iron fists, and even paperweight, serve as a close-quarters melee weapon primarily used in hand-to-hand combat. Designed to encase and fit around the knuckles of the human hand, these weapons, despite their name, are often crafted from materials other than brass, such as metals, plastics, or carbon fibres. The purpose of brass knuckles is to enhance the impact of a punch by directing its force toward a smaller and harder contact area, resulting in greater tissue disruption and an increased likelihood of fracturing the bones of the intended target upon impact.
What happens if I use brass knuckles to defend myself?
Using brass knuckles for self-defence in Canada is illegal due to their prohibited status. While the Criminal Code allows for the use of reasonable force in self-defence, the use of banned weapons, including brass knuckles, may lead to serious criminal charges. It is vital to recognize the legal boundaries, explore alternative means of self-protection within the confines of the law, and seek appropriate legal guidance if faced with charges related to their possession or use.
Who can legally carry brass knuckles?
The possession of brass knuckles is explicitly illegal for all individuals in Canada. The categorical ban emphasizes the stringent approach to the possession of these weapons, irrespective of one’s background or intent.
What is the penalty for owning brass knuckles?
Section 91(2) of the Criminal Code makes it unequivocally clear that possessing prohibited or restricted weapons, including brass knuckles, is a criminal offence. If found in possession of brass knuckles, an individual may face either a summary offence or an indictable offence. The potential penalty includes imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years. Understanding the gravity of this offence underscores the importance of compliance with the ban on brass knuckles.
- Summary Offence: Summary offences are characterized as less serious offences and carry lesser penalties or sentences. If you have been charged with a summary offence, the Police are allowed to arrest you without a warrant. Additionally, s.787(1) of the Criminal Codespecifies that, unless otherwise indicated, the maximum punishment for a summary conviction offence is 2 years less one-day imprisonment and/or a fine of $5,000.00. All summary offences are tried in the Provincial Court with no jury and the accused does not have the liberty to have a preliminary hearing or to be tried in a higher court. Furthermore, any appeals for summary offences are made to the next highest court, the Superior Court. Lastly, unlike indictable offences, for summary offences, there does exist a statute of limitation. As per s.786(2) of the Criminal Code, there is a 12-month limitation period from the time of the commission of the offence for a charge to be laid.
- Indictable Offence: Indictable offences are more serious and are generally heard in superior court with the potential for a trial by judge and jury. If charged with an indictable offence related to brass knuckles possession, an individual may face imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years.
The decision to proceed summarily or by indictment is often at the discretion of the Crown prosecutor and may depend on the severity of the alleged offence and other factors.
When should I hire a lawyer?
If you find yourself in a situation where legal issues related to brass knuckles arise, seeking legal representation becomes imperative. Given the categorical ban on these weapons, navigating the legal system demands the expertise of a qualified criminal defence lawyer. A lawyer can assess the specifics of the case, provide guidance, and advocate on behalf of the individual facing charges related to the possession or use of brass knuckles.
The legal status of brass knuckles in Canada is unequivocal—they are banned weapons, and their possession, use, and importation are strictly prohibited under the Criminal Code. Understanding the nuances of their classification, the implications of their use in self-defence, the categorical ban on possession, and the potential penalties for ownership is crucial. For individuals entangled in legal issues related to brass knuckles, securing legal representation is not just advisable; it is a fundamental step toward navigating the complexities of the legal system and safeguarding one’s rights.