The state of New York takes weapons charges very seriously. If you possess or sell a weapon illegally, you might face felony charges and jail time. Criminal use of a weapon or possession of a weapon is classified as a violent crime. In many cases, firearms charges come with minimum jail times that a judge must hand down.
If you’ve been accused of a firearms-related charge, it’s important to get in contact with an experienced New York defense attorney as soon as possible. The law offices of Robert Tsigler are filled with experienced defense attorneys who can help you understand your options, your case, and the best plan for your defense.
Criminal Weapon Possession
New York’s laws regarding guns are some of the strictest in the entire country. There are tough sentences for the illegal possession of a gun. Criminal gun possession could be any one of these charges:
Fourth degree criminal possession of a weapon: This occurs when a person possesses weapons that aren’t firearms, is a non-citizen possessing a dangerous weapon, is a felon possessing a dangerous weapon, is an individual possessing armor-piercing ammunition, or a number of other umbrella offenses.
Third degree criminal possession of a weapon: This occurs when a person possesses an assault weapon, machine gun, silencer, bomb, explosive, or a number of other offenses.
Second degree criminal possession of a weapon: A person possesses a disguised gun, more than five illegal firearms, a loaded firearm, or a machine gun. The charge also applies when a person possesses any kind of loaded firearm outside a business or home, intending to use that weapon on another individual.
First degree criminal possession of a weapon: A person possesses an explosive substance and intends to use it against another person. Alternatively, a person possesses more than nine illegal firearms.
There was a change made to the law in 2006. Second degree criminal possession of a weapon was redefined as a class C felony instead of a class D. If a person is convicted, they could serve between 3.5 and 15 years in prison.
These charges can apply in a number of different scenarios. If you own an illegal weapon like a machine gun, you’ll face charges for illegal possession of a weapon. If you use your weapon in an illegal way, such as concealing your loaded weapon outside a business or home, you’ll also face these charges. The law has intentionally been written broadly so that prosecutors can bring criminal charges regardless of thin facts.
If you have previously been convicted of any crime, regardless of whether that offense was violent, the charge might be elevated to a higher class of felony. This results in additional minimum jail penalties.
Illegal Weapons Other Than Guns
It’s been established that you will receive a criminal possession charge if you unlawfully possess a firearm. However, this isn’t the only type of criminal possession charge in the state. You might also be charged with felony crimes for owning certain weapons.
The following weapons are illegal in the state of New York:
- Electronic dart guns
- Bullets containing explosive substances
- Wrist-brace slingshots
- Sand clubs and sandbags
- Chuka sticks
- Cane swords
- Pilum ballistic knives
- Metal knuckle knives
- Switchblade knives
- Gravity knives
- Stun guns
If you own any of these items, you could be charged with criminally possessing a weapon.
Additionally, there are weapons that only become illegal when a person intends to use them against another individual. If you intend to harm another individual with the weapon, you can be charged for owning these weapons, even if you haven’t used them:
- Armor piercing ammunition
- Imitation pistols
- Dangerous knives
If your illegal possession of a weapon would be classified as a misdemeanor, but you also have a previous criminal conviction, that charge will be updated to a class D felony.