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New York Gun Charges

By Spodek Law Group | October 18, 2023
(Last Updated On: October 20, 2023)

Last Updated on: 20th October 2023, 07:27 pm


New York Gun Charges: A Helpful Guide for Defendants

Getting charged with a gun crime in New York can be an overwhelming and scary experience. The state has some of the strictest gun laws in the country, and New York City laws are even tougher. Even minor offenses can lead to serious penalties, including lengthy prison sentences.

This article provides a helpful overview of common New York gun charges, potential defenses, and the legal process. It aims to educate defendants on their rights and options when facing prosecution.

Overview of New York Gun Laws

New York gun laws regulate the possession, licensing, registration, and use of firearms and ammunition. Here are some key aspects of state law:

  • A license is required to possess a handgun in New York, even kept at home. Licenses must be obtained from local authorities.
  • No license is required for long guns like rifles and shotguns. But some localities, like NYC, require permits.
  • Assault weapons and large capacity magazines are banned.
  • Even antique guns need to be registered.
  • Gun licenses are restricted for people with certain criminal convictions.
  • Gun licenses from other states are not valid in New York.[1]

New York City has additional licensing requirements and bans more types of guns and ammunition. Transporting guns through NYC airports without following proper protocol is illegal.

Overall, New York gun laws are complex and constantly evolving. Consulting an attorney is highly recommended when facing charges.

Common New York Gun Charges

There are a variety of criminal charges related to the possession, licensing, and use of guns in New York.[2] Some of the most common include:

  • Criminal Possession of a Weapon (PL 265.02): Possessing a loaded firearm outside the home or business. This is a Class C violent felony with 3.5 year minimum sentence.
  • Criminal Possession of a Firearm (PL 265.01-b): Possessing an unlicensed firearm, even unloaded. A Class E felony.
  • Criminal Use of a Firearm (PL 265.09): Displaying or threatening use of a gun while committing a felony. A Class B violent felony with 5 year minimum sentence.
  • Criminal Sale of a Firearm (PL 265.13): Selling or transferring guns without a license. A Class D violent felony.
  • Criminal Possession of a Weapon on School Grounds (PL 265.06): Bringing a gun onto school property. A Class E felony.

Penalties get harsher for repeat offenses, if the gun was loaded, or if the defendant has a criminal record. Many charges carry mandatory minimum prison sentences.

Defenses to New York Gun Charges

While New York gun laws are stringent, there are defenses that can be raised to fight the charges:

  • You had a valid license: If you had a valid New York gun license, you may not have been in illegal possession. But the license has to cover that specific gun and location.
  • The gun was antique or inoperable: Antique guns and inoperable guns don’t count as firearms under the law. But you’d need to prove those facts.
  • You were transporting it lawfully: There are exceptions for transporting guns directly to/from authorized locations like shooting ranges. But strict rules apply.
  • You didn’t knowingly possess it: If, for example, someone left a gun in your car without your knowledge, you may not be criminally liable.
  • Illegal search and seizure: If police performed an illegal search, any guns found may not be admissible in court.

An experienced New York gun crimes lawyer can assess the details of your case and decide if any defenses apply. Don’t hesitate to discuss all the circumstances of your arrest.

The legal process after a gun-related arrest will typically go as follows:

Arrest and Booking: You’ll be taken to a police station for booking, where officers take fingerprints and mugshots. You’ll be searched and possessions confiscated.

Arraignment: Within 24 hours of arrest, you’ll appear before a judge who informs you of the formal charges and asks how you plead. Pleading not guilty preserves your rights.

Prosecution Phase: The prosecution will share evidence and documents with your defense through the discovery process. Your lawyer can then assess the strength of the case.

Plea Bargaining: Many gun crime cases end with plea bargain agreements to lesser charges to avoid harsh mandatory minimums. An experienced lawyer can negotiate effectively.

Pre-Trial Motions: Your lawyer may make motions arguing to suppress evidence, dismiss charges, and more. If successful, charges could be dropped before trial.

Trial: You have a right to trial before a jury. The prosecution must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Your lawyer will put on a defense.

Sentencing: If found guilty, the judge will impose penalties within statutory guidelines. Your lawyer can argue for leniency.

This entire process can take many months. Hiring a lawyer early is key, as prompt action can sometimes lead to charges being dismissed quickly.

Finding the Right Gun Crimes Lawyer

Facing gun charges in New York can be daunting. But the legal system provides protections for the accused. The right lawyer, well-versed in New York gun laws, can make all the difference by developing an effective defense strategy tailored to your specific circumstances.

When researching attorneys, look for these key traits:

  • Specialization in gun crimes: You want a lawyer focused specifically on defending gun charges.
  • Familiarity with local laws and courts: An attorney experienced with New York City courts will know the prosecutors and judges.
  • Resources to conduct investigations: Thorough investigations can uncover evidence to bolster your defense.
  • Trial experience: Although most cases end in plea deals, you want a lawyer capable of going to trial if needed.
  • Client focus: The lawyer should make you feel comfortable, address all your concerns, and keep you informed throughout the process.

Don’t leave your fate to chance. Act now by consulting with a qualified New York gun crimes attorney who can protect your rights and future. The initial consultation is also the time to honestly discuss your side of the story so the lawyer can craft the strongest defense. There are always options, so don’t lose hope. With an experienced attorney guiding you, the legal process doesn’t have to be an intimidating unknown.


[1] https://ypdcrime.com/penal.law/article400.php [2] https://ypdcrime.com/penal.law/article265.php

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