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Criminal Weapons Possession

Criminal Weapons Possession

The attorneys at Galluzzo & Johnson LLP have successfully represented numerous clients in connection with serious weapons offenses. We have a keen understanding of the laws pertaining to firearm and knife offenses, and have used that in-depth understanding of the applicable statutes to earn acquittals in difficult weapons trials. Call us to set up an appointment so we can discuss the best way to defend against your weapons case.

Article 265 of the Penal Law covers “Firearms and other Dangerous Weapons.” There are myriad provisions outlawing the possession of guns, pistols, rifles, and explosives, as well as other common types of dangerous weapons such as switchblade knives. When it comes to firearms possession, New York’s laws are some of our country’s strictest.

Have you been arrested in New York and charged with possessing a gravity knife, switchblade, stiletto or other dangerous knife? Were you found with a firearm, loaded or unloaded outside of your home or place of business?If so, you need to speak with the lawyers who know how to handle weapons cases and will work to get you the best possible result.

Key Penal Law Provisions:

  • Criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree, PL 265.01, a class A misdemeanor
  • Criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree, PL 265.02, a class D felony
  • Criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree, PL 265.03, a class C felony
  • Criminal possession of a weapon in the first degree, PL 265.265.04, a class B felony
  • Criminal use of a firearm in the second degree, PL 265.08, a class C felony
  • Criminal use of a firearm in the first degree, PL 265.09, a class B felony
  • Criminal sale of a firearm in the third degree, PL 265.11, a class D felony
  • Criminal sale of a firearm in the second degree, PL 265.12, a class C felony
  • Criminal sale of a firearm in the first degree, PL 265.13, a class B felony
  • Criminal purchase of a weapon, PL 265.17, a class A misdemeanor

Possession of Weapons other than Firearms

The list of weapons proscribed by the misdemeanor fourth-degree possession charge include per se violations, for simply possessing certain weapons. These include electronic dart or stun guns; gravity knives; switchblade knives; pilum ballistic knives; metal knuckle knives; cane swords; billies; blackjacks; bludgeons; metal knuckles; chuka sticks; sand bags; sandclubs; wrist-brace type slingshots or slungshots; shirken or “Kung Fu star[s].” PL 265.02(1). The possession of certain other weapons, such as daggers, “dangerous kni[ves],” dirks, razors, stilettos, imitation pistols, or any other “dangerous or deadly instrument” is punishable as a misdemeanor only if it is done “with the intent to use . . . unlawfully against another.” PL 265.02(2). The other subsections deal with more specific offenses. See PL 265.02(3) (possessing a firearm in a building used for educational purposes without the written authorization of the educational institution); PL 265.02(4) (possessing a rifle or shotgun having previously been convicted of a felony or “serious offense”); 265.02(5) (pertaining to non-U.S. citizen possessing a dangerous or deadly weapon); 265.02(7) (possessing bullets); 265.03(8) (possessing armor piercing ammunition with the intent to use unlawfully against another).

Felony-level weapons possession offenses not involving firearms comes in several forms. First, it should be noted that misdemeanor criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree may be “bumped-up” to a felony in a prosecution under subsections (1),(2),(3), or (5), where the accused has previously been convicted of any crime. PL 265.02(1). It is also a felony to unlawfully possess any “explosive or incendiary bomb, bombshell, [or] firearm silencer . . . ,” PL 265.02(2). Finally, the first-degree weapons possession charge includes a subsection proscribing the possession of “any explosive substance with intent to use the same unlawfully against the person or property of another.” PL 265.04(1).

Firearms Possession

Simple possession of an unloaded firearm outside one’s home or place in business is a misdemeanor. PL 265.01(1). However, when it comes to unloaded weapons, a felony may still be charged if three or more are possessed, The primary offense charged in prosecutions of illegal loaded firearms possession in New York is PL 265.03. This statute reads, in pertinent part, “A person is guilty of criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree when: (1) with intent to use the same unlawfully against another, such person: (a) possesses a machine-gun; or (b) possesses a loaded firearm; (c) Possession of machine-gun or any other firearm or weapon simulating a machine-gun and which is adaptable for such use.” PL 265.02(1). Moreover, a person can be charged with felony weapons possession if he or she illegally possesses five or more firearms, or a loaded firearm outside his home or place of business. PL 265.02(3). The most serious weapons possession charge is reserved for those who either possess an explosive substance with intent to “use the same unlawfully against the person or property of another, or possess 10 or more firearms. PL 265.04.”

Recent Results

  • Brooklyn client charged with felony gun possession after allegedly possessing a loaded firearm outside his home or place of business. Result: Negotiated plea where client received a four-month jail-probation split.
  • Manhattan client charged with possessing a gravity knife in the subway; client possessed a knife for work purposes only. Result: Client acquitted after jury trial.
  • New York city small business owner and store employee charged with possessing and selling illegal gravity knives in an army/navy store. Result: Client received a non-criminal disposition and a fine.

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