White Plains Criminal Defense Attorney discusses Gun Possession in Westchester County, NY
Not having a license to possess a handgun in Westchester, New York, could land you in serious trouble if you are arrested with a loaded one. Under New York law, you could be charged with Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree, a Class C violent felony (Penal Law Section 265.03). The charge is so serious that even first time felony offenders (people with no prior felony records) may face anywhere from 3.5 to 15 years in jail.
If you were arrested and charged with knowingly possessing an unlicensed and loaded handgun, there are two factors that must be considered in determining whether you will be charged with this Class C violent felony.
First, where did the possession take place? Knowingly possessing the unlicensed and loaded firearm outside of your home or place of business, will likely result in you being charged with Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree (Penal Law 265.03). Any reasons that you might have for possessing the gun are irrelevant. Claiming, for example, that you only possessed the gun for protection may only serve to harm your defense as such an admission goes a long way to prove that you possessed the gun “knowingly”.)
If, however, you knowingly possessed the unlicensed and loaded handgun in your home or place of business, then we would have to also look to the second factor which is, did you possess the gun with the intent to use it unlawfully against another? Put another way, your intent in possessing the loaded handgun is relevant when it is inside your home or place of business. So, if you knowingly possessed an unlicensed and loaded handgun in your home, it is likely that you may only be charged with of a misdemeanor (it would depend on your criminal record in that case). On the other hand, if a man threatens his wife with a loaded handgun inside his home, he could be charged with a violation of Penal Law Section 265.03(1), among other things.
It is important to remember that Penal Law Section 265.15 provides that knowing possession of a firearm is by itself presumptive evidence of possession with the intent to use it unlawfully against another; this effectively means that a defendant has to prove that he had innocent reasons for possessing the gun.
Our Criminal Defense Attorneys have a 100% Success Rate at Trial
If you or a loved one have been charged with a violation of Penal Law 265.03 (Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree) and need representation contact the experienced criminal defense attorneys of Proto, Sachs & Brown, LLP. We have successfully represented numerous people charged with weapon and gun crimes and are prepared to assist you as well. In fact, our Westchester Criminal Defense attorneys have a 100% success rate at trial defending clients charges with weapons related crimes.
All of our consultations are free. Please contact us at (914) 946-4808.
The full text of the relevant handgun provision is as follows:
§ 265.03 Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second degree. 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; or (c) possesses a disguised gun; or (2) such person possesses five or more firearms; or (3) such person possesses any loaded firearm. Such possession shall not, except as provided in subdivision one or seven of section 265.02 of this article, constitute a violation of this subdivision if such possession takes place in such person’s home or place of business. Criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree is a class C felony.