Many New York residents are uncertain about whether the possession of brass knuckles is illegal. To address this question, it is first necessary to define what brass knuckles are and are not. Most people are familiar with these from movies and TV, but they were initially invented for military personnel fighting in the trenches of World War I.
Weapons laws often apply to not only traditional "brass knuckles," which consist of a number of rings fitting over the fingers and a metal bracing piece for the palm, but any kind of hardened knuckle, including those made of hardened plastic or any form of metal. Under New York law, the possession of metal knuckles is a criminal offense, and those who are convicted will be found guilty of criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree.
In some states, the type and severity of the charges involved often depend on if an injury has been inflicted and under what circumstances the knuckles were used. If they were used in the commission of another crime, the charges may be upgraded drastically, while employing them in self-defense may be considered an extenuating circumstance that may result in a lower charge or even a complete dismissal. However, this depends heavily on the individual case and the specific state laws.
An attorney representing a client on weapons charges will often base a defense strategy on the possession of the particular weapon in a particular circumstance. The attorney might examine whether any other offenses are alleged, the circumstances under which the weapon was found and whether the search that resulted in the seizure of the weapon was conducted in a constitutional manner.