Some of the most serious charges in the state of New York involve the illegal possession of firearms and weapons. While the states are harsh, the prosecution of illegal firearm or weapon possession in New York City is even harsher. Moreover, the police use aggressive tactics to arrest individuals illegally in possession of a firearm or weapon and prosecutors zealously pursue corresponding charges. The penalties associated with these charges are severe and have lasting consequences. Without a criminal defense attorney who has significant experience in defending against charges for illegal possession of a firearm or weapon, you may be facing extensive fines and imprisonment.
At Barket Epstein, we have decades of experience successfully defending clients against weapons possession charges. Our attorneys have prior experience as prosecutors and judges which means we understand the strategies and tactics employed by the police and prosecution. As a result, we are able to challenge the prosecution at all stages of the investigation and in any court proceedings. Our firm stands by its strong reputation earned through years of dedication to the most important tenets of successful criminal defense: respecting our clients, focusing on successful problem solving, prompt and honest communication, tireless investigation and preparation; integrity, and a fair fee structure. With offices in New York City and Garden City, Long Island, we provide exceptional criminal defense in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx, Staten Island, and Nassau and Suffolk Counties.
Illegally Possessing a Firearm or Weapon in New York
Under New York law, it is illegal to possess a firearm without the proper license. In 2013, New York State amended its law to make knowingly possessing a firearm without a proper license a felony. Moreover, an additional license is required to possess a firearm in New York City, which means you need to have licenses from both the state and the city to possess a firearm. Finally, New York does not recognize out of state licenses meaning you need to acquire a license for the State of New York if you plan to travel through the state, even if the firearm will be safely stowed away and locked in the trunk of your car. New York’s updated law has had dire consequences for many residing in the state and those passing through, particularly those making connecting flights in New York airports.
To be charged with illegally possessing a firearm in New York or New York City, the prosecution must show that you knowingly possessed a firearm. New York law applies the following definitions for illegal possession of a firearm:
- Knowingly – The individual is aware that the firearm is in his or her possession.
- Possessed – The individual has actual or constructive control over the firearm. Actual possession occurs when a single individual possesses the firearm. Comparatively, constructive possession occurs when multiple people possess the firearm, such as two individuals being in a vehicle with a firearm in the backseat.
- Firearm – A firearm is any handgun, rifle with one or more barrels less than 16 inches in length, shotgun with one or more barrels less than 18 inches in length, weapon made from a shotgun or rifle with a total length of less than 26 inches, and any assault weapon, except for antique firearms which are muzzle-loading firearms no longer readily available for purchase.
In addition to the illegal possession of a firearm, New York law provides for several charges for illegal possession of a weapon. Under New York law, the following charges can be brought for the illegal possession of a weapon:
- Illegal Possession of a Weapon in the Fourth Degree
- Illegal Possession of a Weapon in the Third degree
- Illegal Possession of a Weapon in the Second degree
- Illegal Possession of a Weapon in the First degree
The list of weapons covered under New York is extensive including daggers, ballistic knives, gravity knives, and other “weapons.” However, the possession of these items on their own may not be illegal, but possession within a certain context may be. For example, a person who possesses an imitation pistol and intends to utilize that imitation pistol in a crime may be guilty of illegal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree.
Penalties for Illegal Possession of a Firearm or Weapon in New York
Penalties for illegal possession of a firearm or weapon in New York are severe. For the illegal possession of a firearm, the individual may be charged with a class E felony bringing severe consequences including up to four years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. Comparatively, the illegal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine not to exceed $1,000. In the most extreme case of illegal possession of a weapon in the first degree, the individual may face up to 25 years in prison and a fine not to exceed $5,000.
New York Firearm and Weapon Defense Attorney
The consequences of being charged with the illegal possession of a firearm or weapon in New York are severe. The attorneys at Barket Epstein understand what is at stake and pride themselves on providing exceptional criminal defense. If you have been charged with the illegal possession of a firearm or weapon in New York, please contact one of our offices as soon as possible for a free consultation.