NYC Gun Charge Lawyer for Gun and Other Weapons Offenses

New York is known for having some of the toughest gun and weapons laws in the country. A conviction for simply possessing a weapon–even without using it–can carry severe consequences, including years of imprisonment. Police and prosecutors are extremely aggressive in charging defendants with weapons crimes, even when it may not be appropriate to do so. It’s not uncommon for a person who lawfully owns a firearm in another state to visit New York with a firearm, get arrested, and then face substantial prison time–all without ever using or even brandishing the firearm. New York’s weapons laws can be challenging to comprehend, making it difficult for defendants to understand the charges they are facing. Contact an experienced NYC gun charge lawyer as soon as possible so that you can understand your options and develop the best defense strategy for your case.

Weapon Offenses Include More Than Just Guns

While gun possession is what many people think about when considering weapons charges, in New York, you also can be charged for possessing certain weapons other than guns, and such weapons crimes are typically prosecuted just as aggressively as offenses involving guns. For example, you may face a weapons charge for possessing any of the following instruments: 

  • Daggers, switchblades, gravity knives, and other types of knives
  • Brass knuckles
  • Bludgeons
  • Imitation guns

Depending on the particulars of your case, you may have a strong defense. Recently, the United States Supreme Court held in Caetano v. Massachusetts that the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms extends not only to firearms but also to other weapons. Accordingly, some New York statutes that broadly prohibit certain weapons without exemption may be unconstitutional. An experienced NYC gun charge lawyer can evaluate the specifics of your case to determine the arguments that will get you the best possible outcome. 

NYC Gun Charge Lawyer Cody Warner Explains the Commonly Charged Weapons Offenses

New York has many weapons charges that range in severity. The most serious weapons crimes can result in years of imprisonment, and even the lowest-tier weapons crime can result in up to one year in jail. The differences between a more serious crime and a less serious crime can turn on facts that might seem insignificant.

You can be charged with a crime for possessing a weapon even if the police did not find the weapon on you. If the prosecution can prove that you exercised “dominion and control” over the area where the weapon was recovered, then you could still be convicted for possessing that weapon.

The police often charge a person with possessing a weapon after they search the person’s clothing, car, or home. Consequently, many weapons cases hinge on whether the police were legally justified in conducting the search that led to the discovery of the weapon. If the court determines that the police did not have probable cause to justify such search, then the weapon cannot be used as evidence in your case, which typically results in your case being dismissed. An NYC gun charge lawyer can assess whether the police violated your constitutional rights when recovering the weapon and also determine whether you have other potentially successful defenses. 

Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Fourth Degree

Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Fourth Degree (P.L. 265.01) generally applies to weapons other than firearms. However, it applies to explosive bullets and other armor-piercing ammunition. It is a Class A misdemeanor and carries a potential sentence of up to one year in jail and $1,000 in fines.

By law, some weapons, including switchblades, brass knuckles, or Kung Fu stars, are “per se” illegal. Merely possessing such weapons is enough to be charged and convicted of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Fourth Degree.

In incidents involving other weapons, you can be charged with Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Fourth Degree based on your alleged intent to use a “dangerous or deadly instrument” unlawfully. Penal Law 10.00(13) defines “deadly instrument” so broadly that prosecutors often charge defendants with weapons charges for possessing seemingly innocuous items. It’s not unheard of for the prosecution to charge a defendant with a criminal weapon charge for possessing a pencil or house keys if the prosecution thinks the defendant intended to use the object unlawfully.

If you are charged with Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Fourth Degree, you should speak with an NYC gun charge lawyer to prepare the best possible defense for your case.

Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Third Degree 

Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Third Degree (P.L. 265.02) can be charged in a variety of circumstances. It is a Class D felony and carries a potential sentence of two to seven years in prison or even more if you have been convicted of a felony within the last ten years. 

Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Third Degree is charged when you are in possession of the following: 

  • Disguised guns;
  • Silencers;
  • Machine guns;
  • Assault weapons;
  • Any firearm that has been defaced to conceal the identity of the weapon; or
  • A firearm with a large capacity feeding device.

You can also be convicted of this offense if you commit Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Fourth Degree while having a prior criminal conviction for certain offenses.

To be convicted of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Third Degree, the prosecution must prove that the firearm is operable, meaning that it is capable of discharging ammunition. 

Possessing the firearm for protection purposes only is not a defense recognized in New York. 

If you are charged for possessing a firearm you should speak with an NYC gun charge lawyer to ensure that you develop the best strategy to handle your case.  

Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree

Like Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Third Degree, Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree (P.L. 265.03) can be charged in a variety of circumstances. It is a Class C felony and considered a “violent felony” (P.L. 70.02). Accordingly, it carries a sentence of three and a half to fifteen years in prison or even more if you have been convicted of a felony in the last ten years. 

Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree is charged in the following situations:

  • You were in possession of five or more firearms outside of your home or business;
  • You were in possession of a loaded firearm; 
  • You had the intent to use a machine gun, disguised gun, or loaded gun unlawfully against another person. 

Importantly, if you are charged with Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree for possessing a loaded firearm, the prosecution must prove that the statutory “home” exception does not apply. This means that you cannot be convicted if the firearm was recovered in your home unless the prosecution can prove that you intended to use the loaded firearm unlawfully.

An NYC gun charge lawyer can evaluate your case to determine the best path forward.

Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the First Degree 

Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the First Degree (P.L. 265.05) is a Class B “violent felony.” It carries a potential sentence of up to twenty-five years in prison or even more if you have been convicted of a felony within the last ten years. 

Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the First Degree is charged when you possess: 

  • An explosive substance and intending to use it unlawfully; or
  • 10 or more firearms. 

If you have been charged with Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the First Degree, you face the risk of substantial jail time. Hiring an experienced NYC gun charge lawyer can help ensure that all possible defenses are explored and that you get the best possible outcome for your case. 

Criminal Use of a Firearm in the Second Degree 

Criminal Use of a Firearm in the Second Degree (P.L. 265.08) is charged when you are in possession of a gun or other deadly weapon while committing any Class C violent felony. The gun does not need to be loaded or real. In addition, you do not need to have brandished it or otherwise used it while committing the underlying crime–mere possession is sufficient to be charged and convicted. 

Criminal Use of a Firearm in the Second Degree is a Class C violent felony. If convicted, you could face up to fifteen years in prison or more if you have been convicted of a felony within the last ten years. If you are charged with Criminal Use of a Firearm in the Second Degree, an NYC gun charge lawyer can help you develop the best defense for your case. 

Criminal Use of a Firearm in the First Degree 

Criminal Use of a Firearm in the First Degree (P.L. 265.09) is charged when you are in possession of a firearm or other deadly weapon while committing any Class B violent felony. For example, you could be charged with Criminal Use of a Firearm in the First Degree if you have a gun in your possession while committing Burglary in the First Degree or Attempted Murder in the Second Degree.

Criminal Use of a Firearm in the First Degree is a Class B violent felony. If convicted, you could face up to twenty-five years in prison or more if you have been convicted of a felony within the last ten years. Five years of the sentence for Criminal Use of a Firearm in the First Degree will run consecutively (rather than concurrently) with the sentence you receive for any underlying charges. 

If you have been charged with Criminal Use of a Firearm in the First Degree, you should expect an aggressive prosecution. Contact an NYC gun charge lawyer so that you get the best possible outcome for your case.

NYC Gun Charge Lawyer Cody Warner Can Assist with Other Firearm Charges 

There are many more firearm charges that defendants can face in addition to the specific charges listed above, including the following: 

  • Criminal sale of a firearm (first, second, and third degrees);
  • Criminal sale of a firearm to a minor;
  • Criminal sale of a firearm with the aid of a minor;
  • Criminal purchase or disposal of a firearm; and
  • Unlawful possession of a firearm by persons under sixteen.

Each of these charges has its own unique elements that must be proven by the prosecution. A successful defense will depend on a thorough knowledge of the law and mastery of the facts surrounding your case. An NYC gun charge lawyer will be able to evaluate the prosecution’s case, gather the evidence you need, and develop an effective legal strategy to deliver the best possible outcome. 

Arrested for a Weapons Offense? Contact NYC Gun Charge Lawyer Cody Warner

Gun charges are some of the most serious crimes you can be charged with. An NYC gun charge attorney can work with you to develop the proper defense strategy so that you can put these charges behind you. Reach out to Cody now by phone or email to schedule a free consultation.