When you think about Michigan’s changing switchblade law, do you picture some scene from West Side Story or a Michael Jackson music video, complete with dance fighting?
The law that banned switchblades in Michigan was made in 1952. This was when the American public was concerned with the safety of allowing these weapons to be in the hands of “street thugs” or gang members. This was no doubt fueled by movie depictions of switchblades, among other things.
It’s not that switchblades aren’t dangerous weapons. They are dangerous in the wrong hands just like guns.
The Michigan Senate passed a bill recently making them no longer illegal – with only one vote against changing the law. Rep. Morris Hood III D-Detroit voted against it.
“As we see a lot of violence increasing in our country, in our world… I just don’t think that there should be another tool out there for someone to be able to carry, to legally carry,” Hood said according to MLive.com.
Michigan state police testimony was that the law wasn’t being enforced anyway. Hood called that a poor excuse to change a law banning a dangerous weapon from being legally carried.
In any case, most of the Michigan state senators disagreed and now switchblades will potentially be legal for most Michiganders. The bill still has to pass the House and be signed by Governor Rick Snyder to become law.
Baffling Switchblades Case
This all makes what happened to Justin Moreau of Bay City all the more baffling.
Apparently, he was arrested on charges of domestic violence and was found to be carrying a switchblade. We can’t know what else occurred, but we do know two things.
- He is no longer facing criminal charges of possessing a switchblade, which is a 1 year misdemeanor. This is presumably because law enforcement sees there may no longer be a case to charge him for this crime.
- Mr. Moreau was obliged to plead guilty to a more severe crime – carrying a concealed weapon – as well as the domestic violence charge.
What some people may not understand is why Mr. Moreau’s possession of a switchblade charged was not simply dropped.
Did something go wrong with his defense? The choice was between doing one year and 90 days in jail for the switchblade and domestic violence charge and doing 5 years for the concealed weapon charge. Why would he plead guilty to the charge which carried a longer sentence?
Did Mr. Moreau have inadequate representation in court? We might not ever find out.
If law enforcement and the prosecution have a case to make against you, they will. Justin Moreau is an example. He wasn’t carrying a concealed gun, he was carrying a knife. A knife that is about to become legal to carry in this state.
However, the prosecution wanted, and went for, a charge for that possession. If only Mr. Moreau hadn’t had a knife on his person, this would be a different story. But he did, and he might have needed a better defense than he had. Now he’s looking at 5 years in prison.
If you are facing similar charges – possession of a weapon, no matter what kind – you need expert representation to fight for you. In many cases, even a first-time offense will be punished to the full extent of the law.