Guns and Weapons Possession
You would be hard pressed to find another state with gun laws stricter than New York’s. Possessing a gun or other weapon can be a serious criminal offense and it can be easy to find yourself unknowingly or unintentionally on the wrong side of the law. A complex set of laws cover gun and weapons possession in New York, so it is important to have an experienced defense lawyer in your corner if you’re charged with a weapons offense of any kind.
Many Kinds of New York Weapons Charges
There are multiple weapons possession charges you can face in New York; ascertaining which one applies to you depends upon the nature of the weapon, the circumstances surrounding your possession of the weapon, and the location where you are found with the weapon.
Criminal Possession of a Weapon the Fourth Degree.The only misdemeanor weapons offense in New York penal law, fourth degree possession of a weapon is also the most common weapons charge. While this offense applies to possession of a firearm, many fourth degree charges involve switchblades and gravity knives, box cutters, throwing stars, stun guns, and the like. A class A misdemeanor, fourth degree possession of a weapon can result in up to a year in jail upon conviction.
Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Third Degree.A class D violent felony for which you can face up to seven years in prison, third degree weapon possession can be charged under a number of different circumstances, especially if you have a prior conviction for a crime. Specifically, you can be convicted for third degree possession if:
- Your actions would otherwise be considered fourth degree possession but you have previously been convicted of any crime;
- You possess an explosive or incendiary bomb, bombshell, firearm silencer, machine-gun or any other firearm or weapon simulating a machine-gun;
- You possess a machine-gun, firearm, rifle or shotgun which has been defaced for the purpose of concealment or prevention of the detection of a crime;
- You possess three or more firearms;
- You possess a firearm and have been previously convicted of a felony or a class A misdemeanor in the previous five years and the possession did not take place in your home or place of business;
- You possess an assault weapon or a large capacity ammunition feeding device.
Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second DegreeWith a potential prison sentence of 3.5 to 15 years upon conviction, this class C felony involves the possession of firearms with the intent to use them unlawfully against another person. If you have a machine gun or loaded gun of any kind, even if you have a permit from another state and have a perfectly clean record, you could be facing this serious charge.
Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the First DegreeA class B felony, you can be accused and convicted of this weapons charge if you possess any explosive substance with the intent to use the same unlawfully against the person or property of another; or if you possess ten or more firearms.
Under New York law there are also separate felony charges you can face for possessing a weapon in certain locations such as on school grounds or at an airport. Also, in some cases, you can be charged with possession of a weapon simply for being in a room with a gun. For example, under New York law, the presence in any room, dwelling, structure or vehicle of any machine-gun is presumptive evidence of its unlawful possession by all persons occupying the place where such machine-gun is found.
Additionally, bear in mind that all of the foregoing charges simply involve the possession of a gun or weapon. If you use or possess a gun or weapon during the commission of a separate criminal offense, such as robbery or assault, the penalties upon conviction for those other offenses are potentially much more severe than if you committed the crime without a weapon.
Given the life-altering consequences of a gun or weapons criminal conviction, it is imperative that you retain an experienced New York criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Please call us (718) 852-6763 to speak with one of our experienced criminal defense attorneys now.