December 27, 2018 Practice Points

Can a Butter Knife Be a Deadly Weapon?

The California Supreme Court considered the question.

By Sanford Hausler

The California Supreme Court considered the question of whether a butter knife can be a deadly weapon. The court held

that for an object to qualify as a deadly weapon based on how it was used, the defendant must have used the object in a manner not only capable of producing but also likely to produce death or great bodily injury. The extent of any damage done to the object and the extent of any bodily injuries caused by the object are appropriate considerations in the fact-specific inquiry required by Penal Code section 245(a)(1). But speculation without record IN RE B.M. Opinion of the Court by Liu, J. 2 support as to how the object could have been used or what injury might have been inflicted if the object had been used differently is not appropriate.

The facts of the case did not support a finding that the butter knife was a deadly weapon and the court reversed the judgment of the California Court of Appeals.

Sanford Hausler is of counsel with Cox Padmore Skolnik & Shakarchy LLP in New York, New York.


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