Gun / Firearm / Weapons Charges
The penalties for a weapons charge in New York can be severe, especially for illegal firearm possession and use. The state has one of the strictest positions towards weapons in the nation. A weapon does not have to be a gun. Weapons can include firearms, ammunition, explosives, dart guns, stun guns, knives, knuckles and swords.
The severity of New York’s laws can catch off guard a person who owns a weapon, especially those who have out-of-state permits. In New York, these permits are not valid, and a permit holder can find themselves facing strict charges for illegal weapon possession. Some people may even face charges for simply being in the same vicinity of an illegal weapon, even if it belongs to someone else.
The statutory scheme included in Article 265 of the New York Penal Law provides for different penalties and punishments depending on the particular facts of the weapons offense. Many of the provisions call for certain minimum mandatory prison sentences. Some of the most common weapons offenses in New York include:
It is important to note that the information on this website is intended to serve as a general reference. Every case is unique. The circumstances surrounding your particular arrest, number of prior convictions, if any, and a variety of other factors also play a significant role in determining the outcome of your case. A criminal defense attorney experienced in New York weapons charges can help you assess your legal options and fight for your best interests.
Attorney for Gun / Firearm / Weapons Charges in Queens, N.Y.
Any person charged with the criminal possession of a firearm or another type of weapon would benefit from the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney. If you were arrested for any weapon, gun or firearm charge in Queens County, or the greater New York City area, contact criminal defense attorney Rochelle S. Berliner to discuss your defense.
The Law Office of Rochelle S. Berliner represents those charged with criminal possession of a weapon in all five boroughs of New York City. Call 718-261-5600 for a free and in-depth consultation of your legal options.
- Defenses under New York Law for Weapon, Firearm and Gun Charges
- Types of Weapon / Gun / Firearm Crimes under New York Law
- Misdemeanor Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Fourth Degree
- Felony Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Third Degree
- Felony Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree
- Felony Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the First Degree
- Airport Arrests for Weapon, Gun or Firearm Charges
- Resources for Weapons and Firearm Offenses
In certain cases, your criminal defense attorney can contest the charges against you by filing motions to dismiss, motions to exclude or motions to suppress physical evidence or statements. Defenses to criminal charges for possession of a weapon, gun or firearm often revolve around the following issues:
- Whether the person arrested constructively or actually possessed the weapon;
- Whether the firearm, gun or knife was operable;
- Whether the firearm or gun was loaded;
- Whether the law enforcement officer conducted an illegal stop, detention or seizure;
- Whether the law enforcement officer obtained incriminating statements in violation of your Miranda rights; or
- Whether the item seized actually meets New York's definition of a weapon or firearm.
Contact an experienced weapon crimes defense attorney located in Queens, New York to discuss your particular charges and important defenses that might apply under the facts of your case. Call today to speak with attorney Rochelle S. Berliner about the facts of your case.
- Misdemeanor Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Fourth Degree under New York Penal Law § 265.01
- Felony Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Third Degree under New York Penal Law § 265.02
- Felony Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree under New York Penal Law § 265.03
- Felony Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the First Degree under New York Penal Law § 265.04
- Felony Criminal Sale of a Firearm in the First, Second and Third Degrees under New York Penal Law §§ 265.13, 265.12 and 265.11
- Criminal Sale of a Firearm with the Aid of a Minor or to a Minor under New York Penal Law §§ 265.14 and 265.16
The misdemeanor offense of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Fourth Degree under New York Penal Law § 265.01 applies to the actual or constructive possession of:
- a firearm, electronic dart gun or stun gun, gravity knife, switchblade knife, pilum ballistic knife, metal knuckle knife, cane sword, billy, blackjack, bludgeon, plastic knuckles, metal knuckles, chuka stick, sand bag, sandclub, wrist-brace type slingshot or slungshot, shirken or “Kung Fu star”;
- dagger, dangerous knife, dirk, razor, stiletto, imitation pistol or any other dangerous or deadly instrument or weapon with intent to use unlawfully against another;
- a rifle, shotgun or firearm in or upon a building or grounds of an educational institution or school bus without the written authorization from that educational institution;
- a rifle or shotgun, having been convicted of a felony or serious offense;
- a dangerous or deadly weapon, without being a U.S. citizen;
- a rifle or shotgun by a person who has been certified as not suitable to possess a rifle or shotgun and refuses to give up the rifle or shotgun upon the demand of a police officer;
- a bullet containing an explosive substance designed to detonate upon impact; or
- armor piercing ammunition with the unlawful intent to use against another person.
This misdemeanor offense is punishable by a maximum sentence of one year in jail. Many individuals who travel to New York City from other parts of the country have no idea that carrying a pocket knife or switch blade is against the law.
The felony offense of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Third Degree under New York Penal Law § 265.02 applies to the actual or constructive possession of:
- any of the items listed in sections 1, 2, 3 or 5 of the misdemeanor possession by a person who was previously convicted of any crime (not necessarily a weapons offense);
- an explosive or incendiary bomb, bombshell, firearm silencer, machine-gun or any weapon simulating or adaptable as a machine-gun;
- a defaced machine-gun, firearm, rifle or shotgun;
- (this section was repealed by the Legislature);
- three or more firearms, or one firearm possessed by someone who was previously convicted of a felony or misdemeanor within the previous five years and the possession did not take place in the person’s home or place of business;
- a disguised gun;
- an assault weapon; or
- a large capacity ammunition feeding device.
Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Third Degree is a class D violent felony and carried a minimum sentence of two years in prison for someone who has no prior felony convictions. Offenders also face between three and five years on probation.
If a law enforcement officer alleges that you possessed a loaded firearm, including a pistol or revolver, outside of your home or place of business without a permit, then you can be charged with Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree under New York Penal Law §265.03. You can also be charged with this crime if you possess a machine-gun, loaded firearm or a disguised gun with the intention of using them against another person, or if you possess five or more firearms.
Even if you have no prior record, a conviction for this offense, which is a class C violent felony, carries a minimum mandatory sentence of three-and-a-half years in New York State Prison, as well as a possibility of three to five years on probation.
To complicate matters even more, under New York law, the firearm may be considered loaded even if the bullets are not in the chamber, but are stored and securely encased in a gun case or anywhere on your person. New York law presumes the weapon is loaded if the bullets are within easy reach and capable of being loaded in the firearm, regardless of your intention to actually do so. This strict liability standard often leads to absurd results that defy common sense and require an aggressive defense.
You can be charged with Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the First Degree, under New York Penal Law § 265.04, if you possess an explosive substance with the intention of using it against another person or the property of another person, or if you possess ten or more firearms.
Even if you have no prior record, a conviction for this offense, which is a class B violent felony, carries a minimum mandatory sentence of 5 years in New York State Prison. You could also be placed on probation for three to five years.
The state of New York has strict gun regulations and a zero tolerance policy at the airport, which catches many unsuspecting visitors off guard. In fact, many of the individuals who are arrested are initially detained because they tell an airline employee at the ticket counter about the firearm being properly secured in their checked luggage. In most of those cases, the firearm is properly licensed and registered in the individual's home state.
An arrest can result in the person being taken to Queens Central Booking. Many firearms charges are funneled into a special Gun Court set up for cases in Queens County. Kings County also has a similar Gun Court division.
If you are over the age of 18, it is a class C violent felony under New York Penal Law § 265.14 to sell a firearm with the assistance of a person under the age of 16. It is also a class C violent felony under New York Penal Law § 265.16 to sell an unlawfully possessed firearm to another person “who is or reasonably appears to be” less than 19 years old.
New York State Rifle and Pistol Association - As one of the nation's oldest firearm advocacy organizations, the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association (NYSRPA) advocates for Second Amendment rights. The NYSRPA also provides firearm safety training and education.
NYPD Gun Licenses - The New York Police Department (NYPD) has provided guidelines and answered frequently asked questions about local handgun licensing procedures. Processing generally takes 45 minutes. Applications are handled at:NYPD
One Police Plaza
New York, NY
orNYPD Rifle and Shotgun Section
120-55 Queens Boulevard
Queens, New York 11415
Law Office of Rochelle S. Berliner | Queens Gun Charge Lawyer
A gun or weapons charge on your record can have a serious effect on your life, regardless of the severity of the alleged offense. It may appear on background checks and affect future employment or housing opportunities. Considering what is at stake, it is extremely important to make sure that you are taking advantage of every resource available to you in an effort to strengthen your case.
From her 14 years as a state prosecutor, Queens criminal defense attorney Rochelle S. Berliner has a deep understanding of common tactics used by the prosecution in the courtroom. She uses this knowledge to prepare her clients thoroughly for the criminal process and aggressively fight in their defense.
Contact the Law Office of Rochelle S. Berliner today to discuss your legal options after a charge for a gun, weapon or firearm offense in New York. Call 718-261-5600 or submit an online form to schedule a free, confidential consultation.
Rochelle Berliner grew up in Queens, NY. She started New York Law School in January 1989 and graduated in June 1991. Immediately after law school, she started working at the New York County District Attorney’s Office, where she stayed for approximately 14 years...
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