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Thursday, October 31, 2019

Stop and identify statutes

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 States (colored red) in which Stop and Identify statutes are in effect as of February 20th, 2013.
"Stop and identify" statutes are statute laws in the United States that authorize police[1] to legally obtain the identification of someone whom they reasonably suspect has committed a crime. If the person is not reasonably suspected of committing a crime, they are not required to provide identification, even in states with stop and identify statutes.
The Fourth Amendment (Amendment IV) to the United States Constitution is the part of the Bill of Rights that prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures and requires any warrant to be judicially sanctioned and supported by probable cause. Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 (1968) established that it is constitutionally permissible for police to temporarily detain a person based on reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed, and to conduct a search for weapons based on a reasonable belief that the person is armed. The question whether it is constitutionally permissible for the police to demand that a detainee provide his or her name was considered by the U.S. Supreme Court in Hiibel v. Sixth Judicial District Court of Nevada, 542 U.S. 177 (2004), which held that the name disclosure did not violate the Fourth Amendment prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures. The Hiibel Court also held that, because Hiibel had no reasonable belief that his name would be used to incriminate him, the name disclosure did not violate the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination; however, the Court left open the possibility that Fifth Amendment right might apply in situations where there was a reasonable belief that giving a name could be incriminating.[2] The Court accepted the Nevada supreme court's interpretation of the Nevada statute that a detained person could satisfy the Nevada law by simply stating his name. The Court did not rule on whether particular identification cards could be required, though it did mention one state's law requiring "credible and reliable" identification had been struck down for vagueness.[3]


Police–citizen encounters

In the United States, interactions between police and citizens fall into three general categories: consensual ("contact" or "conversation"), detention (often called a Terry stop, after Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 (1968)), or arrest. "Stop and identify" laws pertain to detentions.
Different obligations apply to drivers of motor vehicles, who generally are required by state vehicle codes to present a driver’s license to police upon request.


At any time, police may approach a person and ask questions. The objective may simply be a friendly conversation; however, the police also may suspect involvement in a crime, but lack "specific and articulable facts"[4] that would justify a detention or arrest, and hope to obtain these facts from the questioning. The person approached is not required to identify himself or answer any other questions, and may leave at any time.[5] Police are not usually required to tell a person that he is free to decline to answer questions and go about his business;[6] however, a person can usually determine whether the interaction is consensual by asking, "Am I free to go?"[7][8]


A person is detained when circumstances are such that a reasonable person would believe he is not free to leave.[9]
Police may briefly detain a person if they have reasonable suspicion that the person has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a crime. Many state laws explicitly grant this authority. In Terry v. Ohio, the U.S. Supreme Court established that police may conduct a limited search for weapons (known as a "frisk") if they reasonably suspect that the person to be detained may be armed and dangerous.
Police may question a person detained in a Terry stop, but in general, the detainee is not required to answer.[10] However, many states have "stop and identify" laws that explicitly require a person detained under the conditions of Terry to identify himself to police, and in some cases, provide additional information.
Before Hiibel, it was unresolved whether a detainee could be arrested and prosecuted for refusing to disclose his name. Authority on this issue was split among the federal circuit courts of appeal,[11] and the U.S. Supreme Court twice expressly refused to address the question.[12] In Hiibel, the Court held, in a 5–4 decision, that a Nevada "stop and identify" law did not violate the United States Constitution. The Court’s opinion implied that a detainee was not required to produce written identification, but could satisfy the requirement merely by stating his name. Some "stop and identify" laws do not require that a detainee identify himself, but allow refusal to do so to be considered along with other factors in determining whether there is probable cause to arrest. In some states, providing a false name is an offense.[13]
As of February 2011, the Supreme Court has not addressed the validity of requirements that a detainee provide information other than his name, however some states such as Arizona have specifically codified that a detained person is not required to provide any information aside from their full name.


A detention requires only that police have reasonable suspicion that a person is involved in criminal activity. However, to make an arrest, an officer must have probable cause to believe that the person has committed a crime. Some states require police to inform the person of the intent to make the arrest and the cause for the arrest.[14] But it is not always obvious when a detention becomes an arrest. After making an arrest, police may search a person, his or her belongings, and his or her immediate surroundings.
Whether an arrested person must identify himself may depend on the jurisdiction in which the arrest occurs. If a person is under arrest and police wish to question him, they are required to inform the person of his Fifth-Amendment right to remain silent by giving a Miranda warning. However, Miranda does not apply to biographical data necessary to complete booking.[15][16] It is not clear whether a "stop and identify" law could compel giving one’s name after being arrested, although some states have laws that specifically require an arrested person to give his name and other biographical information,[17] and some state courts[18][19] have held that refusal to give one’s name constitutes obstructing a public officer. As a practical matter, an arrested person who refused to give his name would have little chance of obtaining a prompt release.

Obligation to identify

States with "stop and identify" laws
Alabama Ala. Code §15-5-30
Arizona Ari. Rev. Stat. Tit. 13, §2412 (enacted 2005) & Tit. 28, §1595
Arkansas Ark. Code Ann. [1]§ 5-71-213 - Loitering
Colorado Colo. Rev. Stat. §16-3-103(1)
Delaware Del. Code Ann., Tit. 11, §§1902, 1321(6)
Florida Fla. Stat. §901.151 (Stop and Frisk Law); §856.021(2) (loitering and prowling)
Georgia Ga. Code Ann. §16-11-36(b) (loitering)
Illinois Ill. Comp. Stat., ch. 725, §5/107-14
Indiana Indiana Code §34-28-5-3.5
Kansas Kan. Stat. Ann. §22-2402(1)
Louisiana La. Code Crim. Proc. Ann., Art. 215.1(A); La. Rev. Stat. 14:108(B)(1)(c)
Missouri (Kansas City Only Mo. Rev. Stat. §84.710(2)
Montana Mont. Code Ann. §46-5-401
Nebraska Neb. Rev. Stat. §29-829
Nevada Nev. Rev. Stat. §171.123
New Hampshire N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §594:2, §644:6
New Mexico N.M. Stat. Ann. §30-22-3
New York N.Y. Crim. Proc. Law §140.50
North Dakota N.D. Cent. Code §29-29-21 (PDF)
Ohio Ohio Rev. Code §2921.29 (enacted 2006)
Rhode Island R.I. Gen. Laws §12-7-1
Utah Utah Code Ann. §77-7-15
Vermont Vt. Stat. Ann., Tit. 24, §1983
Wisconsin Wis. Stat. §968.24
While Wisconsin statutes allow law enforcement officers to "demand" ID, there is no statutory requirement to provide them ID nor is there a penalty for refusing to, hence Wisconsin is not a must ID state. Case law cited in Wisconsin's Stop and Identify statute does, however, state "The principles of Terry permit a state to require a suspect to disclose his or her name in the course of a Terry stop and allow imposing criminal penalties for failing to do so".
Neither is Illinois, since the Illinois Supreme Court Decision in People v. Fernandez, 2011 IL App (2d) 100473, which specifically states....... that section 107-14 is found in the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963, not the Criminal Code of 1961, and governs the conduct of police officers. The fact remains that there is no corresponding duty in the Criminal Code of 1961 for a suspect to identify himself or herself.
By contrast, in Hiibel v. Sixth Judicial District Court of Nevada, 542 U.S. 177, 181 (2004), a Nevada statute (Nev. Rev. Stat. § 171.123 (2003)) specifically required that a person subjected to a Terry stop “shall identify himself.” The Supreme Court held that the statute was constitutional.
The Illinois statute does not specifically require a suspect to identify himself or herself. Because defendant could not be convicted of obstruction for merely refusing to identify himself and refusing to provide identification,
As of February 2011, there is no U.S. federal law requiring that an individual identify himself during a Terry stop, but Hiibel held that states may enact such laws, provided the law requires the officer to have reasonable and articulable suspicion of criminal involvement,[20] and 24 states have done so.[21] The opinion in Hiibel implied that persons detained by police in jurisdictions with constitutional[22] "stop and identify" laws listed are obligated to identify themselves,[23] and that persons detained in other jurisdictions are not.[24] The issue may not be that simple, however, for several reasons:
  • The wording of "stop and identify" laws varies considerably from state to state.
  • Noncompliance with a "stop and identify" law that does not explicitly impose a penalty may constitute violation of another law, such as one to the effect of "resisting, obstructing, or delaying a peace officer".
  • State courts have made varying interpretations of both "stop and identify" and "obstructing" laws.

Variations in "stop and identify" laws

  • Four states’ laws (Arizona, Indiana, Louisiana, and Nevada) explicitly impose an obligation to provide identifying information.
  • Fifteen states grant police authority to ask questions, with varying wording, but do not explicitly impose an obligation to respond:
  • In Montana, police "may request" identifying information;
  • In Ohio, identifying information may be required "when requested"; an obligation exists only when the police suspect a person is committing, has committed, or is about to commit a criminal offense, is witness to a felony offense, or is witness to an attempt or conspiracy to commit a felony offense;
  • In 12 states (Alabama, Delaware, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Utah, Wisconsin), police "may demand" identifying information;
  • In Colorado, police "may require" identifying information of a person.
  • Identifying information varies, but typically includes
  • Name, address, and an explanation of the person’s actions;
  • In some cases it also includes the person’s intended destination, the person’s date of birth (Indiana and Ohio), or written identification if available (Colorado). Ohio does not require the person's intended destination. Ohio requires only Name, Address, or Date Of Birth. Date of birth is NOT required if the age of the person is an element to the crime (such as underage drinking, curfew violation, etc...) that the person is reasonably suspected of.[25] Indiana requires either name, address, and date of birth, or driver's license, if on the person's possession, and only applies if the person was stopped for an infraction or ordinance violation.[26]
  • Arizona’s law, apparently written specifically to codify the holding in Hiibel, requires a person’s "true full name".
  • Nevada’s law, which requires a person to "identify himself or herself", apparently requires only that the person state his or her name.
  • Texas’s law requires a person to provide their name, residence address and date of birth if lawfully arrested and asked by police. (A detained person or witness of a crime is not required to provide any identifying information, however it is a crime for a detained person or witness to give a false name.)
  • In five states (Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island), failure to identify oneself is one factor to be considered in a decision to arrest. In all but Rhode Island, the consideration arises in the context of loitering or prowling.
  • Seven states (Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Louisiana, New Mexico, Ohio, and Vermont) explicitly impose a criminal penalty for noncompliance with the obligation to identify oneself.
  • Virginia makes it a nonjailable misdemeanor to refuse to identify oneself to a conservator of the peace when one is at the scene of a breach of the peace witnessed by that conservator.[citation needed]
As of February 2011, the validity of a law requiring that a person detained provide anything more than stating his or her name has not come before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Interaction with other laws

In states whose "stop and identify laws" do not directly impose penalties, a lawful arrest must be for violation of some other law, such as one to the effect of "resisting, obstructing, or delaying a peace officer". For example, the Nevada "stop and identify" law challenged in Hiibel did not impose a penalty on a person who refused to comply, but the Justice Court of Union Township, Nevada, determined that Hiibel’s refusal to identify himself[27] constituted a violation of Nevada’s "obstructing" law.[28] A similar conclusion regarding the interaction between Utah’s "stop and identify" and "obstructing" laws was reached in Oliver v. Woods (10th Cir. 2000).

Interpretation by courts

"Stop and identify" laws in different states that appear to be nearly identical may be different in effect because of interpretations by state courts. For example, California’s "stop and identify" law, Penal Code §647(e) had wording[29][30] similar to the Nevada law upheld in Hiibel, but a California appellate court, in People v. Solomon (1973), 33 Cal.App.3d 429 construed the law to require "credible and reliable" identification that carries a "reasonable assurance" of its authenticity. Using this construction, the U.S. Supreme Court held the law to be void for vagueness in Kolender v. Lawson, 461 U.S. 352 (1983).[31]
Some courts have recognized a distinction authorizing police to demand identifying information and specifically imposing an obligation of a suspect to respond.[32] Other courts have apparently interpreted demand to impose an obligation on the detainee to comply.[33][34]
Wording and interpretation by state courts of "obstructing" laws also varies; for example, New York’s "obstructing" law[35] apparently requires physical rather than simply verbal obstruction;[36][37] likewise, a violation of the Colorado "obstructing" law appears to require use or threat of use of physical force. However, the Colorado Supreme Court held in Dempsey v. People, No. 04SC362 (2005) (PDF) that refusing to provide identification was an element in the "totality of the circumstances" that could constitute obstructing an officer, even when actual physical interference was not employed.[38] Utah’s "obstructing" law does not require a physical act, but merely a failure to follow a "lawful order . . . necessary to effect the . . . detention";[39] a divided court in Oliver v. Woods concluded that failure to present identification constituted a violation of that law.[34]
It is not universally agreed that, absent a "stop and identify law", there is no obligation for a detainee to identify himself. For example, as the U.S. Supreme Court noted in Hiibel, California’s "stop and identify" statute was voided in Kolender v. Lawson. But in People v. Long,[40] decided four years after Kolender, a California appellate court found no constitutional impropriety in a police officer’s demand for written identification from a detainee. The issue before the Long court was a request for suppression of evidence uncovered in a search of the defendant’s wallet, so the issue of refusal to present identification was not directly addressed; however some cite Long in maintaining that refusal to present written identification constitutes obstructing an officer.[41] Others disagree, and maintain that persons detained by police in California cannot be compelled to identify themselves.[42]
Some courts, e.g., State v. Flynn (Wis. 1979)[43] and People v. Loudermilk (Calif. 1987)[44] have held that police may perform a search for written identification if a suspect refuses to provide it; a later California decision, People v. Garcia (2006) strongly disagreed.[45]

Recommendations of legal-aid organizations

Some legal organizations, such as the National Lawyers Guild and the ACLU of Northern California, recommend to either remain silent or to identify oneself whether or not a jurisdiction has a "stop and identify" law:
And in any state, police do not always follow the law, and refusing to give your name may make them suspicious and lead to your arrest, so use your judgment. If you fear that your name may be incriminating, you can claim the right to remain silent, and if you are arrested, this may help you later. Giving a false name could be a crime.[46]
In a more recent pamphlet, the ACLU of Northern California elaborated on this further, recommending that a person detained by police should:
. . . give your name and the information on your drivers’ license. If you don’t, you may be arrested, even though the arrest may be illegal.[47]

Other countries

Many countries allow police to demand identification and arrest people who do not carry any. Normally these countries provide all residents with national identity cards, which have the identity information the police would want to know, including citizenship. Foreign visitors need to have their passport available to show at all times. In some cases national identity cards from certain other countries are accepted.
In Portugal it is compulsory to carry the state ID card at all times, and a person must show it to police every time it is requested. The only case where this form of ID is not required is for a uniformed member of the armed forces, in which situation the armed-forces ID card can be presented in place of the state's ID card.

See also


  • Although police and police officer are used throughout this article, most "stop and identify" laws use the term peace officer (or sometimes law enforcement officer). In general, peace officers are state civil officers charged with preserving the public peace and granted the authority to do so. Peace officers normally include police officers, sheriffs and sheriffs' deputies, marshals, constables, and often many other persons; those included vary among the states.
  • In upholding Hiibel's conviction, the Court noted,
    In this case petitioner’s refusal to disclose his name was not based on any articulated real and appreciable fear that his name would be used to incriminate him.... As best we can tell, petitioner refused to identify himself only because he thought his name was none of the officer’s business. — 542 U.S. at 190
    But the Court did leave open the possibility of different circumstances:
    Still, a case may arise where there is a substantial allegation that furnishing identity at the time of a stop would have given the police a link in the chain of evidence needed to convict the individual of a separate offense. In that case, the court can then consider whether the privilege applies, and, if the Fifth Amendment has been violated, what remedy must follow. We need not resolve those questions here. — 542 U.S. at 191
  • Writing for the Court in Hiibel v. Sixth Judicial District Court of Nevada, Justice Kennedy stated,
    Here the Nevada statute is narrower and more precise. The statute in Kolender had been interpreted to require a suspect to give the officer "credible and reliable" identification. In contrast, the Nevada Supreme Court has interpreted NRS §171.123(3) to require only that a suspect disclose his name. — 542 U.S. at 184–185
    Justice Kennedy continued,
    As we understand it, the statute does not require a suspect to give the officer a drivers license or any other document. Provided that the suspect either states his name or communicates it to the officer by other means—a choice, we assume, that the suspect may make—the statute is satisfied and no violation occurs. — 542 U.S. at 185
    Writing for the Nevada Supreme Court in Hiibel v. Dist. Ct., Chief Justice Young said,
    The suspect is not required to provide private details about his background, but merely to state his name to an officer when reasonable suspicion exists. — 118 Nev. 868 at 875
  • Writing for the Court in Terry v. Ohio, Chief Justice Warren stated,
    And in justifying the particular intrusion the police officer must be able to point to specific and articulable facts which, taken together with rational inferences from those facts, reasonably warrant that intrusion. — 392 U.S. at 21
  • Writing for the Court in Florida v. Royer 460 U.S. 491 (1983), Justice White stated,
    The person approached, however, need not answer any question put to him; indeed, he may decline to listen to the questions at all and may go on his way. — 460 U.S. at 497–498
  • Writing for the Court in United States v. Mendenhall, 446 U.S. 544 (1980) Justice Stewart stated,
    Our conclusion that no seizure occurred is not affected by the fact that the respondent was not expressly told by the agents that she was free to decline to cooperate with their inquiry, for the voluntariness of her responses does not depend upon her having been so informed. — 446 U.S. at 555
  • The ACLU publication Know Your Rights When Encountering Law Enforcement states,
    You can say, "I do not want to talk to you" and walk away calmly. Or, if you do not feel comfortable doing that, you can ask if you are free to go. If the answer is yes, you can consider just walking away. Do not run from the officer. If the officer says you are not under arrest, but you are not free to go, then you are being detained.
  • If the encounter is consensual, a person approached need not actually leave to terminate the encounter, but may simply ignore police. In Michigan v. Chesternut, 486 U.S. 567 (1988), Justice Blackmun explained the Court’s holding that Chesternut had not been detained, stating that the police conduct "would not have communicated to a reasonable person that he was not at liberty to ignore the police presence and go about his business." — 486 U.S. at 569
  • Writing for the Court in United States v. Mendenhall, 446 U.S. 544 (1980) Justice Stewart stated:
    We conclude that a person has been "seized" within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment only if, in view of all of the circumstances surrounding the incident, a reasonable person would have believed that he was not free to leave. — 446 U.S. at 554
  • In a concurring opinion in Terry v. Ohio, Justice White stated that a person detained can be questioned but is "not obliged to answer, answers may not be compelled, and refusal to answer furnishes no basis for an arrest." This opinion, in turn, was cited in many later cases, including Berkemer v. McCarty, 468 U.S. 420 (1984).
  • In describing the split authority among the federal appellate court circuits in Hiibel v. Dist. Ct., the Nevada Supreme Court stated:
    In Oliver v. Woods, [209 F.3d 1179, 1190 (10th Cir. 2000)] the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a Utah statute that requires individuals to produce identification to an officer during an investigatory stop. However, in Carey v. Nevada Gaming Control Board [279 F.3d 873, 881 (9th Cir. 2002)], the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that NRS 171.123(3) violates the Fourth Amendment because " ‘the serious intrusion on personal security outweighs the mere possibility that identification [might] provide a link leading to arrest.’ "
  • In Hiibel v. Dist. Ct., the Nevada Supreme Court noted that the U.S. Supreme Court declined to address the issue of identification in Brown v. Texas, 443 U.S. 47 (1979), at 53 n.3 ("We need not decide whether an individual may be punished for refusing to identify himself in the context of a lawful investigatory stop which satisfies Fourth Amendment requirements."); and Kolender v. Lawson, 461 U.S. 352 (1983), 361–62 n.10 (holding that a California statute was unconstitutional on vagueness grounds, but refusing to consider whether the statute violated the Fourth Amendment).
  • Texas does not require a detainee to identify himself unless he has been lawfully arrested, but does make it a crime to provide a false name. Texas Penal Code § 38.02 reads, in relevant part,
    (b) A person commits an offense if he intentionally gives a false or fictitious name, residence address, or date of birth to a peace officer who has:
    (1) lawfully arrested the person;
    (2) lawfully detained the person; or
    (3) requested the information from a person that the peace officer has good cause to believe is a witness to a criminal offense.
  • California Penal Code § 841, states, in relevant part,
    The person making the arrest must inform the person to be arrested of the intention to arrest him, of the cause of the arrest, and the authority to make it . . .
  • In Pennsylvania v. Muniz, 496 U.S. 582 (1990), the Court cited the Brief for United States as Amicus Curiae 12 quoting United States v. Horton, 873 F.2d 180, 181, n. 2 [CA8 1989]),
    the questions fall within a "routine booking question" exception which exempts from Miranda's coverage questions to secure the "'biographical data necessary to complete booking or pretrial services.'" — 496 U.S. at 601–602
  • The Fifth Amendment prohibits only communication that is testimonial, incriminating, and compelled; see United States v. Hubbell, 530 U.S. 27 (2000), at 34–38. Hiibel held that, in the circumstances of the case, a person’s name is not incriminating, and consequently is not protected by the Fifth-Amendment privilege against self-incrimination. — 530 U.S. at 34–38
  • Texas Penal Code, Title 8, §38.02(a), reads
    A person commits an offense if he intentionally refuses to give his name, residence address, or date of birth to a peace officer who has lawfully arrested the person and requested the information.
    Giving false information is a related, and usually more serious offense (under Subsection [b], noted above), and applies to detainees as well as arrestees.
  • In People v. Quiroga (1993) 16 Cal.App.4th 961, the Court held that refusal to disclose one’s identity following a felony arrest constituted obstructing an officer:
    These statutory provisions lead to the conclusion that a refusal to disclose personal identification following arrest for a misdemeanor or infraction cannot constitute a violation of [California] Penal Code section 148. . . . Section 148 can reasonably be construed as applying to nondisclosure of identity following arrest for felonies, but not minor offenses, if this exception applies to the provisions cited above dealing with arrests for minor offenses. — 16 Cal.App.4th 961, 970
    Similar refusal following arrest for a misdemeanor or infraction did not violate the statute because the Legislature had "established other ways of dealing with such nondisclosure".
  • In Burkes v. State (Fla. 2d DCA 1998), Case No. 97-00552, the Court, in affirming the appellant’s conviction for violation of § 843.02, Florida Statutes, "Resisting officer without violence to his or her person", stated:
    The most compelling argument we discern for answering this question in the affirmative is that the right to remain silent means just that and has no exceptions. We, nevertheless, conclude that after an individual has been lawfully arrested, he must provide his name or otherwise identify himself when asked by law enforcement officers.
  • The Hiibel Court held, "The principles of Terry permit a State to require a suspect to disclose his name in the course of a Terry stop." — 542 U.S. at 187
  • The opinion in Hiibel included a list of 21 states with "stop and identify" laws. For some reason, the Indiana law was not included in the list; the Arizona and Ohio laws have been enacted since Hiibel was decided. The Texas law only applies to arrested persons.
  • "Constitutional" means that the law requires the officer to have reasonable and articulable suspicion of criminal involvement. See Hiibel.
  • Writing for the Court in Hiibel, Justice Kennedy stated, "the source of the legal obligation [to identify oneself] arises from Nevada state law". — 542 U.S. at 187
  • In Hiibel, Justice Kennedy stated, "In other States, a suspect may decline to identify himself without penalty.″ — 542 U.S. at 183
  • The opinion noted that Hiibel was asked to provide identification, which the Court understood as a request to produce a driver’s license or some other form of written identification, 11 different times; however, it did not indicate that Hiibel was ever asked simply to identify himself.
  • NRS §199.280 provides a penalty for a person who "willfully resists, delays or obstructs a public officer in discharging or attempting to discharge any legal duty of his office"
  • California's stop-and-identify law in Penal Code §647(e) was repealed several years after 1983 and the sub-sections re-lettered, so the current Penal Code §647(e) is what used to be Penal Code §647(f). Also, do not confuse Penal Code §647(e) with Penal Code §647e.
  • (voided in Kolender v. Lawson), read, in relevant part,
    Every person who commits any of the following acts is guilty of disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor: . . . (e) who loiters or wanders upon the streets or from place to place without apparent reason or business and who refuses to identify himself and to account for his presence when requested by any peace officer so to do, if the surrounding circumstances are such as to indicate to a reasonable man that the public safety demands such identification.
  • In voiding California Penal Code §647(e) in Kolender v. Lawson, Justice O’Connor, writing for the Court, noted that
    Section 647(e), as presently drafted and as construed by the state courts, contains no standard for determining what a suspect has to do in order to satisfy the requirement to provide a "credible and reliable" identification. As such, the statute vests virtually complete discretion in the hands of the police to determine whether the suspect has satisfied the statute. — 461 U.S. at 358
  • Writing for the Court in People v. Love, 318 Ill.App.3d 534 (2000), Justice O’Brien stated,
    The State next argues that the officer’s order was a justifiable means of compelling defendant to state his name pursuant to section 107-14, which provides that an officer making a Terry stop may "demand the name and address of the person and an explanation of his actions." 725 ILCS 5/107-14 (West 1992). However, while section 107-14 states that an officer may "demand" the defendant’s name, it does not provide that the officer may compel a response. Further, the United States Supreme Court has stated in the context of a Terry stop: "[T]he officer may ask the detainee a moderate number of questions to determine his identity and to try to obtain information confirming or dispelling the officer’s suspicions. But the detainee is not obliged to respond." (Emphasis added.) Berkemer v. McCarty, 468 U.S. 420, 438, 82 L. Ed. 2d 317, 334, 104 S. Ct. 3138, 3150 (1984).
    Noting Berkemer v. McCarty (and Justice White’s concurring opinion in Terry that Berkemer quoted), the Hiibel Court stated, "We do not read these statements as controlling" (542 U.S. at 187), so Love is probably weakened to the extent that it relies on Berkemer.
  • In Cady v. Sheahan (7th Cir. 2006), the Court stated,
    In Hiibel, the Supreme Court held that states are permitted to statutorily authorize the demand for identification during a Terry stop, and to require compliance with such demand. 542 U.S. at 188, 124 S.Ct. 2451. Cady’s identity was relevant to the purpose of the stop and the officers did not exceed the scope of the stop by requesting identification. [footnotes omitted]
  • Writing for the Court in Oliver v. Woods, 209 F.3d 1179 (10th Cir. 2000), Judge Brorby stated,
    Section 76-8-305 does not require the use of force; mere refusal to perform any act required by a lawful order necessary to effect the detention is sufficient to constitute a violation of § 76-8-305. Moreover, an individual who merely refuses to refrain from performing any act that would impede the arrest or detention violates this section. . . . Thus, Officer Woods gave a lawful order when he told Mr. Oliver to present identification and to remain in the parking lot while he conducted the investigation. By refusing to present identification, Mr. Oliver refused to perform an act required by lawful order, necessary to effect the detention.
  • New Yorks "obstructing" law, NY Consolidated Laws Penal (PEN) §195.05, reads, in relevant part,
    A person is guilty of obstructing governmental administration when he intentionally obstructs, impairs or perverts the administration of law or other governmental function, or prevents or attempts to prevent a public servant from performing an official function, by means of intimidation, physical force or interference, or by means of any independently unlawful act
  • In People v. Offen, 408 N.Y.S.2d 914, 96 Misc.2d 147 (1978), Judge Hertz stated,
    An essential element of the crime of obstructing governmental administration, to be charged in an information, must be an act of either (1) intimidation or (2) physical force or interference or (3) an independently unlawful act.
    Plainly, ignoring an officer’s request for identification is not a crime, nor does that act supply any such element. Though it is clear that such conduct risks pursuit and arrest, no crime has been charged here. — 96 Misc.2d at 150
  • See When Do You Have to Give Your Name at the RNC Protests? under External links for an analysis of New York’s "stop and identify" and "obstructing" laws by Just Law Collective lawyer Katya Komisaruk.
  • Colorado’s "obstructing" law, Colorado Revised Statutes §18-8-104(1), reads, in relevant part,
    A person commits obstructing a peace officer . . . when by using or threatening to use violence, force, physical interference, or an obstacle, such person knowingly obstructs, impairs, or hinders the enforcement of the penal law or the preservation of the peace by a peace officer, acting under color of his or her official authority.
  • Utah’s "obstructing" law, Utah Code §76-8-305, reads as follows:
    Interference with arresting officer.
    A person is guilty of a class B misdemeanor if he has knowledge, or by the exercise of reasonable care should have knowledge, that a peace officer is seeking to effect a lawful arrest or detention of that person or another and interferes with the arrest or detention by:
    (1) use of force or any weapon;
    (2) the arrested person’s refusal to perform any act required by lawful order:
    (a) necessary to effect the arrest or detention; and
    (b) made by a peace officer involved in the arrest or detention; or
    (3) the arrested person’s or another person’s refusal to refrain from performing any act that would impede the arrest or detention.
  • In People v. Long (1987) 189 Cal.App.3d 77, Judge Agliano wrote,
    The voluntary display of identification is a routine experience for most of us. Measured against the obvious and substantial need for police recording the identity of a person suspected of having committed a crime, we find reasonable the minimal intrusion involved here in requiring the production of identification. In addition, defendant’s oral statement of his name was suspect when he insisted he had no identification while appearing to carry a wallet and, in addition, he seemed intoxicated.
  • Shortly after Hiibel was decided, the Alameda County (California) District Attorney's Office provided a case analysis (PDF) in the 2004 edition of Point of View maintaining that refusal to identify oneself and provide written identification (if available) constitutes a violation of Penal Code §148(a)(1), resisting, delaying, or obstructing an officer.
  • The California Peace Officers Legal Sourcebook ("CPOLS"; written by the office of the California Attorney General) maintains that failure to identify oneself does not constitute a violation of California Penal Code §148(a)(1), resisting, delaying, or obstructing a peace officer:
    Unlike Nevada and 20 other states, California does not have a statute mandating that a detainee identify himself, and that obligation cannot be read into Penal Code Section 148. (Rev. 1/08, p. 2.14a)
  • In State v. Flynn (1979) 92 Wis.2d 427 [285 N.W.2d 710, 718], cert. den. 449 U.S. 846, the Wisconsin Supreme Court held that the Terry limitation of a search "to an intrusion reasonably designed to discover guns, knives, clubs, or other hidden instruments for the assault of the police officer." (392 U.S. at 29) was limited to the specific circumstances of Terry. Chief Justice Beilfuss wrote,
    It is clear from the language itself that the court’s holding in Terry was limited to the precise situation before it. The court did not say that the sole justification for any search on less than probable cause is the protection of the police officer and others, but that that was the sole justification of the search in the situation then before it. The situation before us is significantly different.
  • In People v. Loudermilk (1987) 195 Cal.App.3d 996, Judge Low stated,
    Neither case [Kolender v. Lawson or Brown v. Texas] could be interpreted to prevent a police officer from demanding that a Terry suspect produce proof of identification. Further, nothing in those or other cases cited by defendant prevents an officer from seizing a wallet found during a lawful patdown search after that suspect has lied to the officer that he had no identification. — 195 Cal.App.3d at 1003
    Judge Low noted the similarity to Flynn, and continued,
    We must emphasize that we do not hold that a suspect may be detained and searched merely because he either refused to identify himself or refused to produce proof of identification. Nor do we hold that each time an officer conducts a Terry stop he may immediately conduct a search for identification. The rule we announce does not provide officers with unfettered discretion and does not open citizens to harassment. — 195 Cal.App.3d at 1004
  • In People v. Garcia (2006) 145 Cal.App.4th 782, Judge Yegan, noting State v. Flynn (Wis. 1979) and State v. Wilcox (N.J. 1981), stated,
    We need not look to other jurisdictions to decide this case. We would have to indulge in legal legerdemain to justify a patdown search for identification. In fact, it would require a rewriting of Terry v. Ohio, supra, which we could not and would not undertake even if we were so inclined. Here, the record is devoid of any concern that appellant was armed and dangerous. The sole reason for the patdown was to gather evidence of identification.
    A fair reading of Terry v. Ohio, and its reference to the lower court opinion in State v. Terry show that the "frisk" allowable upon a proper showing was " ‘. . . only a "frisk" for a dangerous weapon. It by no means authorizes a search for contraband, evidentiary material, or anything else in the absence of reasonable grounds to arrest. Such a search is controlled by requirements of the Fourth Amendment, and probable cause is essential.’ " (Terry v. Ohio, supra, 392 U.S. at p. 16, fn. 12 [20 L. Ed. 2d at p. 903, fn. 12.) Our own Supreme Court has unanimously so held. (People v. Lawler (1973) 9 Cal.3d 156, 161 [pat-down search "only" for weapons].) If stare decisis means anything (and it does) and if the word only means only (and it does), the trial court was required to grant this suppression motion as a matter of law. (Auto Equity Sales, Inc. v. Superior Court (1962) 57 Cal.2d 450.) — 145 Cal.App.4th at 788
  • "Know Your Rights! What to Do if Questioned by Police, FBI, Customs Agents or Immigration Officers" (pdf). National Lawyers Guild, S.F. Bay Area Chapter; ACLU of Northern California; American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. August 2004. Retrieved 2012-02-07.
  • "Your Rights and the Police". ACLU of Northern California. Retrieved 2014-07-10.

    Emilio Rivera

    Has anything been particularly challenging for you this season?
    Do real bikers ever come up to you and talk to you about the show?

    by Christina Radish
    On the FX drama Sons of Anarchy, Emilio Rivera stars as Marcus Alvarez, the Founder of the Mayan Motorcycle Club, and the President of its Oakland Charter. This season, the Mayans and the Sons are getting tighter than ever, running drugs for a Mexican Cartel and having to rely on each other to survive by battling common enemies.
    During a recent interview to talk about Season 4 of the popular series, actor Emilio Rivera talked about his surprise with the direction his character is taking, that he hopes his character will get to stay alive for awhile longer, how things will get crazier and crazier throughout the rest of the season, that the show is one of the best things he’s ever done in his life, and that he recently did an episode of The Mentalist and has a number of films coming out. Check out what he had to say after the jump:


    Question: Because Alvarez started as quite an adversary for the Sons, were you surprised at how much they’re working together now? Were you surprised at the direction the character is taking, and might take in the future?
    EMILIO RIVERA: (Show creator) Kurt [Sutter] is a really smart man and he follows what’s going on in the outside world and incorporates it to the Sons of Anarchy world. He keeps it pretty tight. It wasn’t really a far-fetched thing. I was hoping it would happen that way, so I could probably stay alive longer. I hate it when I get in trouble with the Sons because I don’t know if they’re going to put a bullet in my head or what. But, right now, as long as we’re friends, I think I’ll be alive, so I’ll see what happens. I’m happy we’re friends, though. We’re sure stronger as a team, like that.
    Will viewers continue to see the friendship between the Mayans and SAMCRO?
    RIVERA: I hope so. I really don’t know how they’re going to go with it, but I hope so because, as long as we’re friends, I hope to stay alive longer, unless one of them takes me out. It’s cool because I know that when I’m working with them, as actors, I get to hang out with [Ron] Perlman and Charlie [Hunnam]. It’s really cool.

    Are there going to be any more consequences for the Sons or your gang?
    RIVERA: Yes, starting from last week and through the rest of the season, it just gets crazier and crazier and crazier for me. I think this is the best season of all and, from here on out, you don’t want to miss nothing. You can’t miss anything because it’s just going to be crazy. It’s a crazy ride.
    Will you be getting revenge on who shot you?
    RIVERA: I can’t say.

    With your history with SAMCRO going back a long way, was Alvarez approached by Clay (Ron Perlman) to kill John Teller?

    RIVERA: I can’t say. I can’t say nothing about none of that, when we talk about the show. I love my job too much. I’ll just plead the fifth on that one.
    RIVERA: No. I appreciate the work. I eat it up. Give me whatever you want to give me because it just gives me more stuff to do. I get to go to different places in my memory bank, and I dig it. I love it. I’m glad Kurt gave me the opportunity to do some things this year, and we’ll see what happens. I don’t know how the season’s going to end and I’m just hoping I stay alive. I don’t know if I got picked up in the fifth season, so I’m hoping I’m around for the fifth season.
    Having done a lot of different projects in your career, what’s it been like to stay with a character and one show for four years now?
    RIVERA: I love it. It’s one of the best things I’ve ever done in my life. It’s really great. The fans are great. I ride motorcycles, so I do a lot of events, and the fans give us a lot of love. I’m having a great time, I really am.

    How did you prepare for this specific character?
    RIVERA: It’s like I go into this little mode. I do it with anything I do, and once I’m in, I stay there until they say, “Cut.” I’m a sociable guy, but when it comes to work, when I’m on set, I just become him. I feel I’m him. He’s not really much of a joker, but I am. I like to kid around, and Alvarez is more like a serious business type guy. And then, when they say, “Cut,” it’s time to go home. I don’t have to say much, then I can have fun again, like I usually like to do. I’ve just played this guy for a long time. He’s easy to get to now because I’ve been doing it for so long, and I’m digging him. For that, I went back somewhere in my life. I don’t want to say where I went, but it was somewhere in my life, where I was this guy. You go to different things in your life. He’s hard, but he’s got a heart.
    Is it true that you auditioned for another character before being cast as Alvarez?
    RIVERA: No, in the original pilot, I was actually a character named Hawk. I was a Sons guy, but the role because Tig later on, which went to Kim Coates.

    How has playing Alvarez changed your personal views?

     RIVERA: As far as the biker world, I really got into it more. I have a lot of respect for the bikers, which I’ve always had. I didn’t really pay attention to them because they’re just always around, but now I really see what they’re about, and they’re really no joke. They’re not going to be taken lightly. I like what they do for the people. Just don’t cross them. Just like anybody, they’re really out there just to have fun, to enjoy themselves, and to share a comradery. They do a lot for the people, but just don’t mess with them, or like in the show, you’ll face the consequences.
    Did you learn to ride for the show, or did you already know how to ride?
    RIVERA: I’ve been riding for 36 years. I started when I was 14-years-old. I was one of those crazy guys, riding wheelies up and down the streets, all the time. I love riding. It’s in my blood.
    What kind of motorcycle do you ride?
    RIVERA: I have a few. I have a Deluxe, all choppered out. It’s pretty gangster. Then, I have a Heritage soft tail, made 1940s style. And, I just had a new one built for the show, that’s a Road King. It’s a real pretty bike. I ride five days out of the week. In fact, I take my bike as much as I can, especially with L.A. traffic. You want to get in and out, all the time.
    RIVERA: All the time, bro. Before the show started, I hung out with real bikers, anyway. I had a lot of biker friends, and even more so now. Everybody loves the character. They love the show. Everybody’s trying to put in their own ideas of what we should do and what we shouldn’t do, but pretty much everybody loves the show. It’s good, and it’s good that we have the real guys digging the show because then you’re doing something right.
    What is the chemistry like between actors, on and off set?
    RIVERA: It’s like a brotherhood. On screen, we have to pretend we hate each other, or dislike each other, or don’t want to talk or listen to each other, but off camera, it’s just one big happy family. We hang out off the show and we play cards together and go have dinner together. It’s really a good time. We can talk about some of our own problems that we have as friends, which is nice. We see each other as friends, but also as co-workers. They’ve got stuff to say, even from life experiences, so it’s a little bit of something from everybody. It’s really nice.
    Are there any traits that you share with Alvarez, or is there a major difference between the two of you?
    RIVERA: He is very serious, and I like to have fun. I joke around a lot. You can’t mess with Alvarez, as you can mess with Emilio. He loves his family. Every time things go down, he’s always saying, “Go take care of my family.” He watches his family, and that’s the way I am with my family. It’s family first, all the time.

    Have you learned anything by playing this character, or is there any part of this experience that you’ll take with you, through the rest of your career?
    RIVERA: He’s a tough guy, and I’ve played tough guys, pretty much all of my career. He’s a different guy, though. What I like about him is that he’s always in control. You have not seen Alvarez lose control once, if you think about it. Sometimes he wants to, but he holds it in. I love Alvarez. He’ll be with me, for the rest of my life. As long as I ride motorcycles, which God willing is another 50 years, I’ll always have Alvarez in my heart. I’m hoping for 10 seasons of Sons of Anarchy.
    Did you always want to be an actor?

    emilio-rivera-image-sons-of-anarchyRIVERA: Yes, since I was a kid, but then I got side-tracked with gangs and drugs for a long time, so that really put a big hold on me. But, the stuff I learned from the streets, I carry on to what I do nowadays. What you see up there is really real stuff that I draw from, that couldn’t be taught in school, but I learned it in my upbringing, which I don’t approve of. I don’t say, “Go do this and that, to do what I do.” It’s stupid, but that was the way it worked out for me. I get to put it up on the screen now.
    Even though you’ve been acting for years, do you still get nervous when you walk onto a new set?
    RIVERA: I still get nervous Sons. I hope I never lose that. That’s the whole fun part of it. I did stage for many years before I did the TV and film thing, and to me, that’s my high. When they say that the camera is rolling and my stomach is going and I get into it, then I’m not nervous no more. But, before I go on, I’m always nervous, and I hope I never lose that. That’s my high. I really dig it.
    What are some of the things that you had to change about yourself to make your dreams come true?
    RIVERA: For me, I have 21 years, clean and sober. I know that, if I was still doing what I did before, I would never do what I’m doing now because I wouldn’t really listen to anybody. I thought nobody could tell me what to do. I was just a hard-headed guy. I got clean and sober, 21 years ago. That, for me, was a big plus, in doing what I do right now.
    Do you have any other roles coming up?
    RIVERA: I sure do. Actually, I just did an episode of The Mentalist on CBS. And then, I’ve got about seven movies coming out, and I’m working on three right now. It’s been crazy. The show has done so much for me. Some of this stuff was already booked, but it’s good stuff. I’ve got four movies that open next year. I’m not a serious regular on the show, so I’m able to book stuff in between Sons.
    What do you think the key is to working so much?
    RIVERA: I always try to go in prepared and am nice to everybody. You’ve got to hang out with these people 12-14 hours. And, a lot of times, work just brings you more work, especially in a small circle. I worked with Kurt [Sutter] before on The Shield. If I look back on my resume, a lot of work has been with people like Spike Lee and Steven Soderbergh. It’s all been with the same people, over and over again, or people that they know, so it’s cool.


    Wednesday, October 30, 2019

    Knife Laws in California: Is It Legal to Carry One?

    The information posted below is from a well-known article written by
    Jim March on 12/1/2017 titled, "California Knife Laws: A Comprehensive
    Guide," url:

    Also Sy Nazif, Esq. article is from the Bailingwire, newsletter.
    Philip & Bill

    The information posted below is from a well-known article written by
    Jim March on 12/1/2017 titled, "California Knife Laws: A Comprehensive
    California Knife Laws: A Comprehensive Guide

    By Jim March 5/16/02

    Note: later on 5/16, tweaked the "dealing with cops" chapter, 
    and added a better summary of "what's legal" in the 
    switchblade rules based on early feedback. I've also altered 
    the review of the CRKT Seven.


    SECTION TWO: THE STREET-CARRY RULES (and a few totally banned types)





    First point: I'm not a lawyer.  I'm going to step you through California knife laws, and discuss some cases I'm personally aware of, but this isn't legal advice.

    Second: we're discussing the rules on lawful knife CARRY.  The USE of deadly force is an entirely separate subject outside the bounds of this article.  If you are carrying a deadly weapon be it knife, gun, whatever, you need to study the laws on deadly force for this state.  If you don't know the implications of the phrase "fear of death or great bodily injury", you need to do more study in that area.  Any CCW course, for a permit in-state or out, will give you a fair overview.  Massad Ayoob's "In The Gravest Extreme" is also worth a look, or a similar resource.  John Machtinger's "How To Own A Gun And Stay Out Of Jail" covers "use of force" more specific to California.  In California, the knife and gun are both considered deadly force and the rules governing combat use are identical - it's the carry laws that make a huge distinction between knife and gun.

    (One common bit of advice if you can: after deciding to carry a gun or knife, it is a good idea to have a lawyer who already has you on file as being a client, in case of a serious "social encounter with a two-legged rattlesnake".  This (or so I've heard) will reduce the amount the lawyer charges, and you will be more prepared than say, getting a public defender, who is usually over worked, and under funded.  When you're at the police station, your lawyer will already know who you are, and won't be brought in cold.  You'll have the opportunity to pre-screen your attorney, as opposed to just getting one on the "fly".)


    Under California state law, non-switchblade pocket knives that are concealed in the closed position can be legally carried, concealed or open-carry.  Fixed-blades must be carried openly.  Knives that are disguised as something else (belt buckle, shotgun shell, etc.) are completely banned.  Switchblades may be owned privately in the home, but not street-carried; while not specified, most people assume that transport is legal on the same basis as a gun: locked in the trunk in a locked container. Cane swords are completely banned.



    Your lockblade folding knife should have a thumbstud, thumb"hole", thumb "disk" or similar push-thingy, so long as the "thingy" is attached directly to the blade (versus on the grip and linked up via a gearbox of sorts).  It should not have a spring that does ALL the opening (yes, the Kershaw Ken Onion series seems to be OK).  And finally, the blade needs to have at least some tendency to stay closed in the pocket or whatever bias a "bias towards closure" or "detent" (discussed in more detail later in this chapter).

    As long as it's got all that, and the vast majority (including all eight knives discussed at the bottom of this document) do, it cannot be "declared a gravity knife or switchblade" even if you can snap it open with relish :).  And you can carry it concealed so long as it's concealed in the FULLY closed position, or open-carry if that's your thing (not recommended for BIG stuff, in case you happen on a town with a funky local ordinance or a really cranky cop).

    There's no length limit.  Seriously :).


    The rules on "what is a legal pocketknife versus a switchblade" are contained in Penal Code 653k.  In it's entirety (current effective 1/1/2002):

    653k: Every person who possesses in the passenger's or driver's area of any motor vehicle in any public place or place open to the public, carries upon his or her person, and every person who sells, offers for sale, exposes for sale, loans, transfers, or gives to any other person a switchblade knife having a blade two or more inches in length is guilty of a misdemeanor.
    For the purposes of this section, "switchblade knife" means a knife having the appearance of a pocketknife and includes a spring-blade knife, snap-blade knife, gravity knife or any other similar type knife, the blade or blades of which are two or more inches in length and which can be released automatically by a flick of a button, pressure on the handle, flip of the wrist or other mechanical device, or is released by the weight of the blade or by any type of mechanism whatsoever.  "Switchblade knife" does not include a knife that opens with one hand utilizing thumb pressure applied solely to the blade of the knife or a thumb stud attached to the blade, provided that the knife has a detent or other mechanism that provides resistance that must be overcome in opening the blade, or that biases the blade back toward its closed position.

    For purposes of this section, "passenger's or driver's area" means that part of a motor vehicle which is designed to carry the driver and passengers, including any interior compartment or space therein.

    The really weird part is that 1.9" switchblades are legal.  Per Federal law, such a short switchblade is still a switchblade, and cannot be sold across state lines to somebody not a cop or military.  So there's a small but thriving business in making 1.9" switch-blades in-state, so that they can be sold without Fed oversight (not involved in interstate commerce).  Once you buy one, you can carry it like any other legal folder - in California.  Take a shipment of 'em out of state and sell them to ordinary peons, and you're a Federal felon!
    Until this year, Penal Code 653k was easier to understand.  The requirement that the knife has a "detent or bias towards closure" is the trickiest bit, added effective 1/1/2002.

    First, what are those?

    A "bias towards closure" means that as you close the knife, very slowly and gently, the blade will be "sucked into the grip" during the last bit of travel.

    A "detent" means that when closed, the knife wants to stay that way because there's a ball bearing dimple pressing into a matching tiny socket in the blade, or there's some other mechanism that makes travel "stiffer" for the first short period of blade travel from closed to open.

    Presence of either one of these, to ANY degree, means it's not a switchblade even if it's possible to "snap the knife open".

    How do I know that?

    Last year, a bill known as SB274 passed, which added the "detent or bias towards closure" language.  At the Assembly Safety Committee hearing, several pro-self defense folks (myself, Nadja Adolf, Jason Davidoff) were there to complain about the idea that any knife that could be "flicked open" would be banned - as was originally in the statement of legislative intent prepared by the state DA's association.

    To demonstrate the "point", I displayed a selection of high quality knives, and explained that simply by nature of their quality, they can be snapped open.  Asking permission of the kindly old lady sitting next to me first, I demonstrated by snapping open a Chris Reeves Sebenza worth about $250, and laid it on table as I spoke.  I managed to avoid freaking anybody out, and explained that the bill ran the risk of declaring hundreds of thousands of state residents felons.

    It's a good thing I was polite to the lady - she turned out to be State Senator Karnette, author of the bill <GRIN>.

    After that meeting, the bill continued on track, but Senator Karnette listened, and wrote a new statement of legislative intent!  Because it was crafted after the DA association letter, and because it was written by the bill's author, it overrides all other memos on the bill's intent.

    Without further ado, here's the memo:

    Published in the July 18, 2001 edition of the Senate Daily Journal on page 2070.

    July 5, 2001

    Mr. Gregory Schmidt 
    Secretary of the Senate

    Dear Greg:

    The purpose of this letter is to express the Legislature’s intent in enacting my SB 274, which makes amendments to Penal Code Section 653k.

    Section 653k makes it a misdemeanor to make, sell or possess upon one’s person a switchblade in California. The statute was enacted in 1957 and provides a length definition of a switchblade knife. In 1996, AB 3314 (Ch. 1054) an exemption was created for one-handed folding knives. Recently, there has been concern that the language of the exemption is broadly read to apply to knives that are essentially switchblades, but are designed to fall under the language of the exemption.

    In order to ensure that only legitimate one-handed opening knives are covered, SB 274 narrows the language to only allow knives to fall under the exemption from the switchblade law if that one-handed opening knife contains a detent or similar mechanism. Such mechanisms ensure there is a measure of resistance (no matter how slight) that prevents the knife from being easily opened with a flick of the wrist. Moreover, a detent or other mechanism is prudent and a matter of public safety as it will ensure that a blade will not inadvertently come open.

    Although some one-handed opening knives can be opened with a strong flick of the wrist, so long as they contact a detent or similar mechanism that provides some resistance to opening the knife, then the exemption is triggered. These knives serve an important utility to many knife users, as well as firefighters, EMT personnel, hunters, fishermen, and others utilize one-handed opening knives.

    The exemption created in 1996 was designed to decriminalize the legitimate use of these extremely functional tools by law-abiding citizens. SB 274 is not intended to interfere with those knife owners and users. The amendments to Section 653k accomplish this important purpose by establishing more objective criteria for determining whether a knife meets the intended exemption to the switchblade law.

    Senator, 27th District

    Nowhere in PC653k is there a length limit.  My daily-carry folder has a blade 5.45" long.
    What if your knife has neither a detent or bias towards closure?  If it has an adjustable pivot tension screw, tighten it until it cannot be "flicked" open, and seal it with Blue Locktite.  Otherwise, it could unscrew in your pocket and turn itself into a felony possession bust.  God, I wish I was kidding.  If there's no variable tension screw, then it's a $5 to $10 piece of crap from Pakistan or Taiwan - junk it and get a real knife :).

    SECTION TWO: THE STREET-CARRY RULES (and a few totally banned types)

    Parts of Penal Code 12020 cover street carry of knives.  It also flat bans some types.

    12020.  (a) Any person in this state who does any of the following is punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year or in the state prison:
    (1) Manufactures or causes to be manufactured, imports into the state, keeps for sale, or offers or exposes for sale, or who gives, lends, or possesses...any ballistic knife...any nunchaku...any metal knuckles, any belt buckle knife, any leaded cane, any zip gun, any shuriken [ed: "throwing star"]...any lipstick case knife, any cane sword, any shobi-zue, any air gauge knife, any writing pen knife, any metal military practice handgrenade or metal replica handgrenade, or any instrument or weapon of the kind commonly known as a blackjack, slungshot, billy, sandclub, sap, or sandbag.  [Ed. Note: this is the paragraph covering "what you cannot own at all" - some of it is downright weird.  Plastic/ceramic knives that can go through a metal detector are also banned somewhere in PC12020.] 
    (4) Carries concealed upon his or her person any dirk or dagger. 
    (24) As used in this section, a "dirk" or "dagger" means a knife or other instrument with or without a handguard that is capable of ready use as a stabbing weapon that may inflict great bodily injury or death.  A nonlocking folding knife, a folding knife that is not prohibited by Section 653k, or a pocketknife is capable of ready use as a stabbing weapon that may inflict great bodily injury or death only if the blade of the knife is exposed and locked into position.  [Ed. note: so if it's a PC653k-legal knife, and it's carried concealed while folded, it's not "readily available" and therefore doesn't meet the "dirk or dagger definition".  ONLY "dirks or daggers" need to be open-carry.] 
    25(d) Knives carried in sheaths which are worn openly suspended from the waist of the wearer are not concealed within the meaning of this section.

    Most of it is pretty clear.  I've added the bold to section 24; note how, in the case of folding knives, legality is "cross-tied" to PC653k.
    Part 25(d) applies to "dirks or daggers" that must be open carried.  It is VERY confusing in that it is an example of legal open carry, but not the only possible "recipe".

    I know of one case in which a guy was at a public event in costume, and was legally open carrying a bunch of cutlery as part of the costume.  Without going into details, let me say that the circumstances were appropriate and nobody was threatened in any way.  He had a legally-open-carry sword, another belt knife, a belt pouch, and due to the type of jacket worn he ran out of open-carry belt "real estate".  So he specially mounted his last double-edge dagger on his ankle, completely visible (not shoved down the boot or up under the pants cuff).  For this, he was charged with felony concealed carry of a dirk or dagger.

    The DA tried to paint 25(d) as a "waist area requirement" - but as I pointed out to his public defender, it's an example of what's legal but not a strict requirement.  As a result, this guy was fully acquitted at a jury trial and has no criminal record to this day.

    Nowhere in any of this is there a length limit, or a ban on double-edge.  Note the way "dirk or dagger" is completely re-defined ("readily available stabbing implement").


    Section 626.10 is here reproduced in it's entirety, and briefly explained in the editor's notes and text below.

    Short form: K-12 schools, no knife over 2.5" is legal except for certain work-related types (kitchen stuff for the chef, etc.).  At Universities and Colleges, there's a ban on FIXED BLADES bigger than 2.5" but there's no problems with large folding knives that are otherwise not switchblades under PC653k.

    626.10.  (a) Any person, except a duly appointed peace officer as defined in Chapter 4.5 (commencing with Section 830) of Title 3 of Part 2, a full-time paid peace officer of another state or the federal government who is carrying out official duties while in this state, a person summoned by any officer to assist in making arrests or preserving the peace while the person is actually engaged in assisting any officer, or a member of the military forces of this state or the United States who is engaged in the performance of his or her duties, who brings or possesses any dirk, dagger, ice pick, knife having a blade longer than 21/2 inches, folding knife with a blade that locks into place, a razor with an unguarded blade, a taser, or a stun gun, as defined in subdivision (a) of Section 244.5, any instrument that expels a metallic projectile such as a BB or a pellet, through the force of air pressure, CO2 pressure, or spring action, or any spot marker gun, upon the grounds of, or within, any public or private school providing instruction in kindergarten or any of grades 1 to 12, inclusive, is guilty of a public offense, punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by imprisonment in the state prison. [Ed. Note: This is the paragraph dealing with legal carry on K-12 school grounds.  Note that folding lockblades bigger than 2.5" are banned.  This applies to any adult on campus; there are exceptions for work-related stuff in part "C" through "G" below.]
    (b) Any person, except a duly appointed peace officer as defined in Chapter 4.5 (commencing with Section 830) of Title 3 of Part 2, a full-time paid peace officer of another state or the federal government who is carrying out official duties while in this state, a person summoned by any officer to assist in making arrests or preserving the peace while the person is actually engaged in assisting any officer, or a member of the military forces of this state or the United States who is engaged in the performance of his or her duties, who brings or possesses any dirk, dagger, ice pick, or knife having a fixed blade longer than 21/2 inches upon the grounds of, or within, any private university, the University of California, the California State University, or the California Community Colleges is guilty of a public offense, punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by imprisonment in the state prison. [Ed. Note: This paragraph covers colleges and universities.  There is still a ban on large fixed-blades, but large locking folders legal under Penal Code 653k are completely legal.  This applies to any adult age 18 or over on campus, student or otherwise; there are exceptions for work-related stuff in part "C" through "G" below.]

    (c) Subdivisions (a) and (b) do not apply to any person who brings or possesses a knife having a blade longer than 21/2 inches or a razor with an unguarded blade upon the grounds of, or within, a public or private school providing instruction in kindergarten or any of grades 1 to 12, inclusive, or any private university, state university, or community college at the direction of a faculty member of the private university, state university, or community college, or a certificated or classified employee of the school for use in a private university, state university, community college, or school-sponsored activity or class.

    (d) Subdivisions (a) and (b) do not apply to any person who brings or possesses an ice pick, a knife having a blade longer than 21/2 inches, or a razor with an unguarded blade upon the grounds of, or within, a public or private school providing instruction in kindergarten or any of grades 1 to 12, inclusive, or any private university, state university, or community college for a lawful purpose within the scope of the person's employment.

    (e) Subdivision (b) does not apply to any person who brings or possesses an ice pick or a knife having a fixed blade longer than 21/2 inches upon the grounds of, or within, any private university, state university, or community college for lawful use in or around a residence or residential facility located upon those grounds or for lawful use in food preparation or consumption.

    (f) Subdivision (a) does  not apply to any person who brings an instrument that expels a metallic projectile such as a BB or a pellet, through the force of air pressure, CO2 pressure, or spring action, or any spot marker gun upon the grounds of, or within, a public or private school providing instruction in kindergarten or any of grades 1 to 12, inclusive, if the person has the written permission of the school principal or his or her designee.

    (g) Any certificated or classified employee or school peace officer of a public or private school providing instruction in kindergarten or any of grades 1 to 12, inclusive, may seize any of the weapons described in subdivision (a), and any certificated or classified employee or school peace officer of any private university, state university, or community college may seize any of the weapons described in subdivision (b), from the possession of any person upon the grounds of, or within, the school if he or she knows, or has reasonable cause to know, the person is prohibited from bringing or possessing the weapon upon the grounds of, or within, the school.

    (h) As used in this section, "dirk" or "dagger" means a knife or other instrument with or without a handguard that is capable of ready use as a stabbing weapon that may inflict great bodily injury or death.

    This is actually simpler than it looks :).  Once you realize that there's ONE change between the K-12 rules in paragraph "A" and the college/university rules in "B", it all makes "sense".  About as much as any weapons law does.

    This is the trickiest part.

    Los Angeles and a few other SoCal cities have a town ordinance banning the carry of knives over 3".  In SOME cases, it's phrased as a ban on big stuff of any sort carried openly, so that excludes fixed-blades and the open-carry of big folders, but you can still conceal (and LEAVE concealed until needed to save a life) a large folding knife.

    San Francisco has an ordinance on knife carry, but it's only linked to simultaneous "illegal loitering".  Clearly, this was meant as a "homeless control measure" of sorts, God only knows how old.  Berkeley has a knife ordinance too.

    But the reality is, local knife ordinances cannot be applied to people passing through on a major road, enforcement of all local ordinances is spotty unless you fit a "juvenile offender profile", and most cops don't even know their local knife ordinances.

    If you're scrupulous about not violating state law, which I'd highly recommend, and you don't come across as a slimeball, the odds are vastly against your having problems.  I've had a lot of cops see my street-carry pieces, and I've not had a confiscation or harassment yet.


    First thing: don't get nervous. If you've read this, you're not going to be breaking any knife laws.  California's knife laws are actually pretty decent, better than most states (even the shall-issue gun permit ones).  If you're nervous, the cop will read that, and he won't know what to think - but the conversation WILL go downhill.

    If you're walking past a cop with a legally concealed knife, DO NOT "pat the knife" to make sure the concealment is still effective.  That's the number one way cops spot people packing guns illegally.  They'll think that's what you're doing.  The resulting conversation won't be pleasant.

    If there's any chance at all that the guy is gonna search you, politely declare that you're carrying a "pocketknife legal under state law".  Got that?  Tell him where it is on you, let him take control of it.  DO NOT SCARE THE DUDE WITH THE BADGE AND GUN.  Don't reach for nuthin' unless he tells you to do so.  At all times, act like this is just a normal business transaction.

    So what if he/she thinks your piece(s) is/are illegal?

    You explain that California knife law has changed a bunch of times starting in 1997 and twice more that you know of, so you're not terribly surprised there's confusion.  Calmly explain as much of the relevant Penal Codes as you can recall...if you're into big folders, PC653k and the bit in 12020 about "not readily available if concealed in the closed position" is a start.  If he ain't buying, calmly ask for a supervisor.

    If he wants to confiscate your cutlery, ASK FOR A RECEIPT.  If he says anything about "that'll mean you'll get a ticket too, and/or an arrest", stand your ground and calmly ask for a receipt.  He's bluffing because he wants your knife.  Sorry if any cops reading this are offended, but it happens - I've met enough people it's happened to to be a believer, although it hasn't happened to me.  If he just plain takes it without a receipt, get his badge number and/or car number (if the latter is all you can get, record the TIME).  If it was a city or county cop, make a THEFT complaint in detail with your nearest California Highway Patrol station (they investigate local wrongdoing).  If it was CHP, hmmm...complain to the CHP supervisors maybe, or the Sheriff, but for God's sake don't let 'em off clean.


    You have two choices: get the hell out of there ASAP and travel far and fast, because odds are, crooks that get chased off by an armed citizen love to file a "he threatened me" complaint and bust YOU.  Bug out.  NOTE: we're talking about a situation in which you haven't committed a crime, and since no actual violence occurred neither did anybody else.  So "fleeing the scene" rules don't really apply.  And you also don't want the SOB coming back with reinforcements and/or heavy artillery.  Time to go!

    If that's not possible, because the crook knows where you are or who you are (or have your car's license plate number), jump on 911 and report an attempted crime, pronto.  There are too many lazy cops that just believe the first complaint.  Make yours first.  You'll probably have one major advantage: the crook will have a violent record and you won't.


    When the cops show up, there are only three things you should say: I was in fear of my life, I'm too shaken up to talk, I want a lawyer.  (If there are witnesses you know of, point them out to the cops and tell the cops to talk to them.)

    Bernie Goetz didn't do that.  He was furious at the four attempted muggers, he made that anger plain in a long discussion down at the station, and he ended up getting charged with murder and attempted murder when it was absolutely clear-cut self defense.

    When a cop gets involved in a shooting, they understand that immediately afterwards, he's too shaken to explain clearly what happened.  So most departments give him 24 hours to settle down before talking to him.  But if you're involved in lethal force, some will take advantage of your rattled state to pry garbled statements out of you.  You HAVE the right to remain silent.  Use it.

    I'm assuming here that if you drew or used steel, you had a damned good reason.  That's a subject for a much more detailed (not to mention PROFESSIONAL) treatment - see Introduction for some reference works.


    Now for the fun part :).

    We're going to start with the lowest-cost knives I'd be willing to trust my life to, and go up from there.

    1) CRKT Ryan Seven
    2) Spyderco Goddard Light

    3) Cold Steel Scimitar

    4) Benchmade AFCK D2/Axis

    5) Spyderco Civilian

    6) Cold Steel Vaquero Grande

    7) Camillus Maxx

    8) Round Eye Knife And Tool (REKAT) Sifu

    1) CRKT Ryan Seven -
    About $40, blade length 3.5".

    CRKT sells a line of well-designed folders made in Taiwan.  Several are liner-locks with blades just under 4" that have a secondary "safety switch" that you manually engage after the blade is open.  Once "on safe", lock reliability is very high.

    The Ryan Seven is the best of these, because of the grip design.  One common failing of any liner-lock is that your finger might accidentally trip the release (leading to accidental closure) - designer Steve Ryan is a master at avoiding that by placing the fingers well away from the lock release.  Thus, of the entire CRKT liner-lock series, the Ryan is least likely to accidentally close even if you fail to trip the safety (safety switch is visible on the lower picture, above the pivot and clip screws).

    The blade steel (AUS6) is mediocre; adequate for a fighter, but if you frequently use it as a "utility tool" you'll need to sharpen it quite often.

    Neat tip: if you unscew that giant ugly honkin' thumbstud (what the hell were they thinking?!) you end up with a nice hole still big enough to act as an opening device in it's own right(!) and still preserving legality under PC653k.  Which is TOTALLY unique to any folder I'm aware of!  (Normally, ditching the thumbstud is the last thing I'd recommend.)

    In case it's not clear yet: linerlocks make me nervous.  They can fail.  Ryan is one of the few designers that really know the system.  Also note that due to the grip shape, your hand cannot "slip down onto the blade" on a hard-target stab.  That's another thing you'll see a lot of in this list.  Picture courtesy of OneStopKnifeShop -

    After the first release of this site, somebody asked me:

    Is there a reason you prefer the CRKT Ryan Seven over their Crawford Kasper folder?  They seem pretty similar mechanically, so I was wondering.  (I really like my CK's, but I don't have a Ryan Seven).
    My answer:
    Grip a Ryan, then grip the KFF (aka Crawford Kaspar).  The Ryan's grip design places your forefinger AWAY FROM the linerlock release.  So you're less likely to  accidentally disengage it - this is one of the top two ways in which a linerlock can fail.
    "But Jim, what about the safety?  Does this matter, once that's tripped?"

    I'm assuming you're reacting to attack and aren't yet able to trip the safety switch...not at all unlikely in a defensive knife use.  In that case, the Ryan's lock is stronger due to the more intelligent grip shape, and because the Ryan's tip is way up higher so that somewhat like the Scimitar, blade forces on a stab are up (away from the lock) versus down onto the lock.

    Upshot: the KFF is NOT a bad design, but it was originally designed around a better lock than CRKT uses and is not, in my opinion, as compatible with a low-end linerlock. Steve Ryan is a "linerlock guru" and designed the Seven around the linerlock's inherent weaknesses.  The same basic KFF design is also available as a full custom from Pat Krawford, and a wonderful knife if you've got the bucks.  The REKAT Carnivore is a related design, also with a really good lock.

    2) Spyderco Goddard Light -

    About $40, blade 3.5".

    The link will take you to the more expensive Micarta-fiberglas-grip version; the "light" uses a high-impact nylon (Zytel) grip and costs less.  The Micarta version is nice, but not critical.  The "light" cheaper variant has a nice extra: the pocket clip can be relocated to either side of the grip, allowing it to be set up for right or left hand use by the user.

    Both variants are lockbacks, an older type of lock that is very reliable, the sort of thing Buck has been using since the '60's or prior.  Spyderco's version is smoother on the opening stroke, but still not as smooth-opening as a linerlock generally is.

    The Goddard design is a good fighter that doesn't scream "combat monster".  It's looks aren't at all "gonzo" but like the Ryan, the grip shape facilitates stabs safely.  The steel (ATS55) is a strong step up from the CRKT's, making the Goddards fit for daily utility but still capable fighters in their size class.  Picture courtesy of Knifecenter of the Internet,

    3) Cold Steel Scimitar -

    About $80, 4" blade.

    The Scimitar is pretty much the only linerlock with no secondary safety latch that I'd trust.  There are two reasons: the lock is both well executed and of "long travel", and the blade shape means that on a stab, pressure from the blade back to the grip is sharply "upwards", against the "top" of the grip versus downwards towards the lockwork as on virtually all other locking folders  It's a nasty-lookin' critter :) which is good or bad depending on you.

    The AUS8 steel is quite good.  If you want a "pure combat knife" with little utility purposes, I recommend the serrated because Cold Steel's serration pattern is highly effective but difficult to re-sharpen; if you're interested in a work knife, go with plainedge as shown in the pics. Picture courtesy of OneStopKnifeShop -

    4) Benchmade AFCK D2/Axis -

    About $130, 3.95" blade.

    Simply the finest 4" class folding combat knife made, period, end of discussion.  Took Benchmade a LONG time to get all the best of their features into one piece.

    The AFCK has been around a while, but as a linerlock of iffy reliability.  Benchmade has now put the William&Henry Axis lock on it, which is among the strongest and most modern locks available.  The Axis is stronger than the CRKT linerlock even with the CRKT safety mechanism engaged, but the Axis engages automatically on opening.  The lock release is ambidextrous and the pocket clip can be relocated to either side (making it 100% effective for southpaws).  And to top it off, they've used one of the best knife steel in common use today, D2 tool steel, which is a "borderline stainless" with almost as much corrosion resistance as a true stainless but stronger and with edgeholding from hell.

    If you want to stay under the 4" range for broad legality in states other than California, look no further.  Picture courtesy of Knifecenter of the Internet,

    5) Spyderco Civilian - Linked here, long URL to multiple variants.

    About $150+, depending on options.  Blade is 5" long - and EVIL lookin' :). 

    The Civilian is a "pure fighter" designed for a "rip and run" gameplan.  NOTHING slashes like the Civilian, period.  It's a lockback,  so the opening stroke will be a bit rough until broken in, but very strong and reliable.

    It's an extremely good "handgun retention tool" for those of you able to carry.

    It's stabbing abilities are for obvious reasons somewhat limited.  It was designed for situations where somebody needed a sudden ugly surprise, but isn't a "knife fighter" and not terribly interested in really mastering the art.

    I recommend the G10 grip material variant because it's not very slippery.  The grip design isn't quite as good as some others here.  Picture courtesy of Knifecenter of the Internet,

    6) Cold Steel Vaquero Grande -

    About $80 - blade length: SIX INCHES.

    That's right. The Big Bad.  If you got a need for serious steel, this is the ultimate bang for the buck.

    Go for the full 6" version, fully serrated, and know that lack of a CCW permit due to the discriminatory practices around here hasn't disarmed you all that much :).

    I've had one for years.  There's only two badder pieces ever made, we'll get to those next.  At a "cutlery connoisseur party" years ago, my Vaquero Grande was the only folder able to cut a free-swinging inch-thick piece of professional climbing rope.

    Note: Cold Steel serrations are aggressive and effective, but are difficult to re-sharpen.  Not recommended for heavy daily utility.  Blade steel is AUS8, not bad, grip is that same Zytel super-tough plastic seen elsewhere...sort of a "Glock knife" :).  Seriously, Zytel isn't bad stuff.  It's another lockback which normally means stiff opening but let's get real: with this much blade mass, snapopens are a dream. Main flaw: grip shape isn't ideal, a "slip up accident" on a hard-target stab is barely possible unless you're careful and/or have a strong grip.

    Yes, you can get a two-handed grip on that bad boy :).  Picture courtesy of OneStopKnifeShop -

    7) Camillus Maxx -

    About $150, with a 5.5" blade.

    This is a higher quality megafolder.  Combat effectiveness is actually better than the Vaquero Grande, for those who know what they're doing and use a "precise move and stab" gameplan.  Given the double guards integral to the blade, a "slip-up" accident is impossible.  Blade steel is that super D2 stuff - grip material is TITANIUM.

    There's just one flaw: get rid of the pocket clip.

    Here's why: the lock is what's known as an "integral lock" - it's related to the liner lock, just as smooth but considerably stronger as long as your hand is on it.  Your own grip strength reinforces the lock, naturally, as a product of the design.

    Except they screwed up the clip location - it gets in the way of this "reinforcement process".

    Now for the good news.  Buy one, ditch the clip, then take it to a gun show or gun shop.  A number of standard leather magazine belt pouches make perfect sheaths for these - supposedly 1911 single-column .45ACP mags are best, but do a bit of test-fitting.

    With that proviso, this is the best current-production fighting folder made. Picture courtesy of OneStopKnifeShop -

    8) Round Eye Knife And Tool (REKAT) Sifu - OUT OF PRODUCTION.  Some may turn up at gun shows, or check the private for-sale forum at  Maybe Ebay?

    Value: around $120 - $180(?) depending on variant.  D2s will be at the higher end.

    The Sifu is a 5.5" blade "megafolder" with a strong, unusual lock.  The grip ergonomics were among the best ever.

    The lockwork was complex, and they had trouble with warrantee issues.  Production is now halted, and I'm not sure REKAT is still in biz.

    Variants: the first 70 were marked "Sifu First Edition" and a serial number of 1 through 70.  These were hand-ground out of ATS-34 steel, which is pretty good stuff (better than AUS8).  The first runs of machine-ground were ATS-34 steel, later production was D2.  A number of special runs came out, red grips, black blades, carbon fiber grips were a standard option for a while.  The first six made had no pocket clip and no provision for one, all subsequent had a steel pocket clip.

    I was the one that convinced REKAT to build this beast, looking for a higher-quality alternative to the Vaquero Grande.  As a result, I was allowed to purchase serial number one of those 70 handground.  It's still my daily-carry defense knife, and as tight as the day it shipped.

    It may not be as strong as a de-clipped Camillus Maxx, but it feels a lot better in the hand.  Still, given the possible warrantee issues, I'm not certain I'd recommend these for just anyone, unless you're willing to learn to wrench on it.  Which isn't hard, mind you, if you're mechanically inclined.

    We haven't yet seen the last word in large combat folders.  The Axis lock could support a megafolder (5" or bigger), but Benchmade is staying with the 4" and under market.  Pictures courtesy of OneStopKnifeShop - - they used to sell REKAT products.

    Conclusion: these aren't the only pieces worth owning, just a good selection.  Above all, go for lock strength and a grip shape that doesn't allow your hand to "slide down the blade" on a stab.  You never know if the tip will "hang up on something solid", and losing your inside finger tendons in a fight is way sub optimal.