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New York Penal Code § 265.01-a: Criminal possession of a weapon on school grounds

New York Penal Code § 265.01-a: Criminal possession of a weapon on school grounds

Dealing with a Charge of Criminal Possession of a Weapon on School Grounds

Criminal Weapon Possession on School Grounds is a serious crime. The definition of weapons is broad when it comes to New York’s weapons statute. This definition includes any weapon or gun including those with a spring, CO2 cartridge as well as a piston and more. It is against the law to possess any type of these weapons at a school if you are 16 years old or older. This could take place at one of New York’s universities, colleges schools or another type of educational facilities. It also happens when someone does not have written permission from the educational facility to possess such weapons on the property.


It is possible for a university student to be suspected of storing a large amount of illegal drugs in their dormitory room. Law enforcement is able to get a search warrant for their room. When law enforcement gains access and starts their search, the officers found several baggies of illegal drugs stored in a box under the student’s bed. They also discover a handgun under the student’s bed. This handgun is loaded and has live bullets. Law enforcement officers will arrest the student. They will charge them with possession of a controlled substance. A charge of Criminal Possession of a Weapon on School Grounds will also be added.

Possible Prison Sentence

Criminal Weapon Possession on School Grounds is a Class E felony. Should someone be found guilty of committing this crime, they could be sentenced up to four years in prison. It is possible if the person who has been convicted of this crime has no prior criminal history, the judge may give a lenient prison sentence.


It is also possible the judge presiding over the case to sentence the guilty person to a five-year term of probation. This will require them to regularly report to a probation officer. They must also not have any association with known criminals. Probation will also require them to not own a firearm. Should a person on probation not obey the probationary instructions given them by the court, their time on probation could turn into spending the same amount of time in prison.

Monetary Fine

It is up to the judge’s discretion if the person convicted will be required to pay a fine.


To obtain a conviction of Criminal Weapon Possession on School Grounds, a prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that an individual knowingly and unlawfully had in their possession a firearm that meets the New York weapon’s statute. They will also have to show a person was in a building or grounds utilized for the purposes of education. The exception to this law is if the incident occurred in a school bus or on forestry lands owned or maintained by the College of Environmental Sciences and Forestry Department that is part of the State University of New York’s educational system.

Legal Defense

An experienced defense attorney will try to prove there was a lack of probable cause for the search that was part of discovering the weapon. This would be a situation where probable cause was implied. It may have occurred when a law enforcement officer felt they had reason to believe a crime was being committed. It is possible for the probable cause to not be evident. When this is proven, it means all the materials, as well as property including weapons discovered during the unsubstantiated search, cannot be used as evidence. The law covering weapons in New York is very specific. A defense attorney may try and prove the weapon their client is being charged with having does not fit the definition of a weapon under New York’s weapons law and more.

To have the best possible defense against a charge of Criminal Possession of a Weapon on School Grounds will require being represented by a legal professional. An attorney with knowledge and experience who will understand what is required to obtain the best possible outcome. Defense attorneys have been able to prevent their clients from spending time in jail as well as being negatively affected by having this charge become part of their criminal record and more.

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