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Defending Against Firearm Charges

What is the penalty for illegal possession of a firearm in New York?

New York prosecutors aggressively charge and pursue crimes involving weapons in the state.  New York law includes several crimes involving the illegal possession, sale, and discharge of firearms.  These charges range in severity from misdemeanors to felonies, and anyone charged with a weapons crime will need to vigorously mount their defense.  Our New York City criminal defense lawyers at Barket Epstein discuss the various firearm charges and their potential penalties in the state of New York below.

Illegal Possession of a Firearm or Weapon

The crime of illegal possession of a firearm is set out in Article 265 of the New York Penal Code.  Formerly a misdemeanor, the crime was amended to make it a felony to knowingly possess a firearm without a proper license in 2013.  There are several factors that could aggravate the crime of illegal possession of a firearm, and if you are in New York City you need an additional city permit for the weapon.

To be convicted of the crime of illegal possession of a firearm, you must be found to have knowingly possessed the firearm.  Case law has specified that it is no defense to having the firearm safely stowed away. If you have actual or constructive control over it, you will be deemed in possession.  If convicted of the crime of illegal possession of a firearm, you could face between one and four years in prison and fines of up to $5,000.

Illegal Discharge of a Firearm

Related to the crime of illegal possession of a firearm is that of illegal discharge of a firearm.  Under New York Penal Code Article 265, Section 265.35, it is unlawful to willfully discharge a loaded firearm at a plane or other aircraft, a train, or any type of vehicle.  It is a crime to discharge the weapon at these objects, even if no one is endangered. It is further illegal to discharge your weapon in any public place where a person is endangered.  

Discharging your weapon at a vehicle, plane, or train and endangering another person is considered a Class D felony which may result in two to seven years in prison.  If no one is injured, it is a Class E felony, punishable by between 1.5 to four years in prison. Any weapons charge should be taken seriously. Contact our law firm if you are facing a firearm or weapons-related charge so that we can start gathering evidence and forming your defense.

Posted in: Criminal Defense