Many citizens of New York own weapons, such as knives, firearms, and other devices. While some individuals own weapons for reasons of self-defense, others prefer to collect certain weapons for novelty. Regardless of the reasons for ownership, if you are a weapons owner in New York, then it is important to be aware of the state’s current penalties and punishments for weapons charges, as well as to be cognizant of the different New York criminal lawyer teams who can support you in case you face charges.
Whether you are facing weapons-related charges in New York or are an owner of a weapon in the state, staying up to date on current regulations and laws, including penalties and punishments, can empower you to safeguard your rights, helping you yield optimal outcomes.
The criminal defense legal team at the Law Offices of Robert Tsigler, PLLC, has put together this 2023 guide for weapons charges, penalties, and punishments in order to support safe and informed weapon ownership in the state of New York.
Misdemeanor New York Weapons Charges
In New York, only a fourth-degree weapons charge is classified as a misdemeanor under state penal law (NY PL 265.01). All subsequent charges, such as third, second, or first-degree possession charges, are considered to be felonies. A fourth-degree weapons possession charge can result from carrying weapons that are not firearms, including certain knives, certain slingshots, dart or stun guns, brass knuckles, billy clubs or bludgeons, throwing stars, sandbags, chukka sticks, and blackjacks.
If an individual is charged with fourth-degree possession, this is characterized as a Class A Misdemeanor and can result in up to a year in jail. If a New Yorker is charged with carrying any of the aforementioned weapons on school grounds or other protected places, then the charges will be aggravated, and a felony will be charged instead.
Felony New York Weapons Charges
A third, second, and first-degree weapon offense is classified as felonies. Additionally, any charge that involves the actual use or deployment of a weapon is considered to be a felony as well. Felony weapons charges come with much more severe penalties, such as mandatory minimum sentencing.
Criminal Firearm Use in New York
A criminal firearm use charge, under P.L. 265.08 & 265.09, applies to individuals who utilize a weapon while carrying out a Class B or Class C felony, such as certain rape or burglary crimes. In order to convict a defendant of such a crime, the weapon must have been loaded and potentially able to inflict serious harm or even death.
Criminal use charges can be classified to the first and second degree. A first-degree criminal use of a firearm charge can result in 25 years in prison, while a second-degree charge can result in a maximum of 15 years. These penalties can be in addition to the penalties sentenced for the underlying felony charges.
Criminal Firearm Possession in New York
A person who is charged with a Class E felony for possessing a firearm can face anywhere between 1 to 4 years in prison in addition to a fine of up to $5,000 under P.L. 265.01-B. Possessing a weapon in the third degree, such as carrying three or more weapons, is charged as a Class D felony, which can result in 2 to 7 years of jail time under PL 265.02.
If a defendant is charged with a second-degree possession charge, then this is classified as a Class C felony, which can be charged for carrying a machine or automatic firearm; for example, then they can face 3.5 to 15 years of prison time under PL 265.03. A first-degree weapons possession charge is a Class B violent felony, which can result in time in prison ranging from 5 to 25 years.
Q: What Is New York’s Actual Possession v. Constructive Possession?
A: In the state of New York, actual possession refers to having a weapon, such as a blunt object or firearm, on your person or easily within reach. The weapon can be concealed or clearly visible. Constructive possession, on the other hand, implies that more than one person could have control over the weapon. It can be located in a nearby room, the glovebox, or the trunk of a car, for example.
Q: What Constitutes a Loaded Weapon in New York?
A: According to the law in New York, a person can receive charges for a weapon being loaded, even if ammunition was not in the firearm at the time of arrest. If the ammunition was readily available, then this can be considered “loaded” under N.Y. penal law. Charges for having a loaded weapon can increase associated penalties and punishments for a weapons-related crime.
Q: What Is New York’s “Intent To Use”?
A: An element that can impact the severity of N.Y. weapons charges is whether or not an individual means to use the weapon that they were charged with carrying. Either assaulting or threatening a person with a dangerous weapon, such as a club, hammer, or any object that could be potentially used as a weapon, can seriously aggravate weapons charges. An experienced criminal lawyer can help you fight elements of your case that implicate your “intent to use.”
Q: What Is a Class E v. Class D Felony for Firearm Possession?
A: In New York, a Class E felony can be charged when an individual is aware that they are carrying a dangerous, illegal, and operable weapon. A Class D felony, on the other hand, can be charged under certain circumstances, such as if defendants are carrying more than three weapons, if they have tampered with certain parts of the weapons, if there are assault weapons or high-ammunition-capacity weapons involved, or if the defendant has an existing criminal record.
Protect Your Rights With a Dedicated New York Criminal Lawyer
If you have been arrested on weapons charges in New York, or if you are unsure about your 2024 rights as a gun or weapon owner in the state, then a New York criminal lawyer from the Law Offices of Robert Tsigler, PLLC, can assist you today. Reach out to our criminal law team as soon as possible in order to equip yourself with critical information and ensure that your weapons case will have optimal outcomes.