First, please see the comments in the original post on this topic from back in 2011:
(A) knife with a blade over five and one-half inches;
(C) dagger, including but not limited to a dirk, stiletto, and poniard;
(D) bowie knife;
(E) sword; or
(2) inside of or directly en route to a motor vehicle that is owned by the person or under the person's control.
Sec. 46.15. NONAPPLICABILITY.
Walk though The Texas State Capitol with a 6.25 inch bladed knife in the spirit of demonstrating two things.
At this point we had an opportunity to change the law. Who knew where it'd go but it was THE chance to codify that 46.02 does not apply in this situation.
I could have gone to the media. Sorry folks my employer would have been in a bind at that point and I didn't want to be tried by the media. Now there was the RISK that the story could have broke and gotten in front of everyone but it didn't.
So Travis County, DPS were the arresting officers.
Proof this really happened is easy to obtain.
Thursday March 14th I road to the Texas State Capitol building on my motorcycle. In Austin I planed to testify in support of a handful of bills that would allow the carry of handguns on college campuses and open carry of handguns by a Concealed Handgun Licensee (CHL).
I was carrying my handgun, concealed, and pocket knife and a knife with a blade of 6.25 inches long in a sheath on my belt, open to the world.
In the Texas State Capitol building there are two lines to enter. The metal detector line and the Concealed Handgun Licensee line that lets anyone with a license bypass the metal detectors. I used the CHL line, no issues.
Texas law refers to a knife with a blade over 5.5 inches long as an "illegal knife" that you generally can't have on your person except for a few exceptions such as travelling, hunting, fishing, at my home or place of business.
The law also states it doesn't apply to a person who is carrying a concealed handgun and a valid concealed handgun license (CHL). The crux of that is that the majority LEOs don't know or, as I found out, don't choose to acknowledge the plainness of this exception. I thought I stood a good chance of successfully disputing an arrest by pointing out the law in the event I was stopped.
Once at the building I passed though security, with my CHL, and went around looking for the meeting room. I asked no fewer than 4 DPS officers around the capitol building where the room was located. My sense of direction sucks, it's easy to get turned around in that building as well.
I went into the meeting, passing a group of 3 DPS officers, found out I had to register outside the room, went out passing them again, registered, and went back in and listened to the folks testifying for and against the campus carry bills.
About an hr later, mother nature called. I found a polite time to leave, when others were also leaving and I left the room.
Outside there were several DPS officers waiting... For me.
As far as not talking to the police.
I kept my comments, as much as I could, to the point of pointing out the law. When they asked how long the knife is I said it was a good idea to measure it at that point they did.
I spent the next couple of hours showing them where the law stated I was OK, them scratching their heads and even had a lively debate among them with 2 out of 12 folks agreeing with me and the others wanting to book me and let the DA figure it out. They checked my CHL status, my DL took my knifes, gun and holsters and sheath.
They did allow me to pee. I was sweating it though for a bit.
The knife was measured and measured wrong at 7.25 inches on a paper cutter that started at one inch on the ruler.
They then printed out 46.15 (b) 1-8 that had been hand hightlited at the top
(b) Section 46.02 does not apply to a person who:
And then down to the bottom of the page was also highlited.
(6) is carrying a concealed handgun and a valid license issued under Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code, to carry a concealed handgun of the same category as the handgun the person is carrying;
I was then asked if this is what I was referring to. I said yes, that's it. May I leave now?
I was then told I was ignorant of the law, the section in question only is valid for handguns.
I got arrested, booked in jail, charged with Unlawfully Carrying a Weapon (For my knife not my gun) and spent the night there till I was approved for personal bail. I got some sleep at the jail (Don't ask me how), got out at about 3:30am and then found my motorcycle and drove home.
This was a Class A Misdemeanour charge. I have been notified under section 411.187 that I may no longer carry and have turned in my CHL.
I've hired a lawyer.
In selecting a lawyer I narrowed it down to five, then sent a brief description of the charges in an email. All either emailed or called back. Only one I think really understood.
First email from him:
Are you saying you were: (1) carrying your concealed handgun license; and (2) carrying a concealed handgun; and (3) carrying a knife with a blade over five and one-half inches?
Thank you for contacting me."
My Response: "That is correct."
In that case you have an interesting case of statutory interpretation, one that the authors of 46.15(b)(6) probably did not anticipate, but one that appears to have merit.
He also seems to be very familiar with guns personally.
In further conversations he's stated it's really not even statutory interpretation as to have a case of that the law would need to be vague, in this case he believes it's not vague at all.
The plan now is to file a motion to suppress the arrest with the judge. Most likely the DA will appeal the motion even if the judge grants my request. In that case I hire an appeals lawyer and we go though the process again.
I've communicated to my lawyer that the desired outcome of all this is that myself and others don't get caught up in this same situation.
There are no guarantees this will forge that path. But I think I've got an opportunity to make a trail head.
An "in the interests of justice" dismissal signifies that the prosecutor recognizes that he is dismissing the case, not merely because he can't prove the case, but because you are in fact innocent of the offense. It's the difference between someone who is "not guilty" and someone who is actually innocent of the offense alleged. Put another way, the prosecutor's job is to do justice. The prosecutor found in this case that justice was best served by dismissing the case against you.
Other reasons for dismissal, by contrast, include "Defendant entered a plea in a different case," or "Defendant completed counseling," or "the evidence is insufficient" (i.e., we think the defendant is guilty, but we can't prove it), or "the case has been refiled" (i.e., we think the defendant is guilty, but we need to allege it differently), etc.
I'm hoping to get a lawyer that will take the risk and take this case the hopes of a positive result. Paying a lawyer to do this up front may not be in the cards and honestly I want the lawyer to have skin in the game.