Possession of weapons in New York is considered as a felony offense punishable by incarceration. Since March 2013, the status of weapons possessions was raised from a misdemeanor to a felony, following the implementation of Article 265 of the New York Penal Law. The law contains provision for varying degrees and punishments of criminal possession of weapons.
From switchblades and gravity knives to loaded (or unloaded) guns and firearms, each case of weapons possession is punishable according to the degree and level of retribution specified in the penal law. Out-of-state licenses and weapons permits do not apply in New York, and will therefore not be considered by the New York Penal Law while assessing the degree of disobedience.
Degree and Punishment in NYPL
There are four major sections pertaining to criminal possession of weapons in the New York Penal Law. A conviction under any of these sections carry severe immigration consequences.
Criminal Possession of Weapons in the Fourth Degree: This is considered as a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail (according to NYPL 265.01). It entails possession of weapons without intended use, or the use of non-weapons in a way that brings about similar damage. This section applies to those with no prior criminal record.
Criminal Possession of Weapons in the Third Degree: This is considered as a felony offense punishable by two to seven years in jail. It entails the same situations as the criminal possession of weapons in the fourth degree. However, a person with prior criminal record will be subjected to criminal possession of weapons in the third degree, according to NYPL 265.02.
Criminal Possession of Weapons in the Second Degree: It entails cases in which loaded firearms/guns are found in possession outside the house or workplace, without a legal New York permit. The felony is punishable by 3.5 to 15 years in jail according to NYPL 265.03. This section applies to those without prior criminal record as well.
Criminal Possession of Weapons in the First Degree: This entails the possession of ten or more firearms, or any form of explosive with the intention of using it against another person. This felony is punishable by imprisonment of at least 5 years.
The laws pertaining to weapons possession are extremely stringent. In case of an unintentional offense, there are fairly limited options. One may choose to accept the responsibility and undergo legal persecution in line with the criminal laws. Alternatively, one may hire a criminal defense lawyer to build a defense. However, leniencies for criminal possession of weapons are extremely low.
Conditions That Help In Building a Defense
In order to build a defense, the following conditions may be addressed. Even so, there are very few cases being evicted from criminal offense charges.
- Was the weapon functional when it was discovered?
- Was it loaded or unloaded? Was it capable of being armed?
- Was it actually found in possession of the offender?
- Was the behavior of the law enforcement officer in line with set protocols?
- Were the offender’s Miranda Rights violated?
- Can the object of assault be legally considered as a weapon?
A criminal defense lawyer will be in a better state to build defense pertaining to each unique case and situation.