While Americans have the right to own firearms, New York state law limits the type of weapons that a person can own. It also limits how they can be used and how many a person may have at one time. Violating these statues could result in long prison sentences or other legal consequences. Those who are charged with a gun crime may wish to talk with a New York City criminal lawyer.
What the Law Says About Criminal Possession of a Firearm
New York law forbids an individual from owning more than 10 firearms at a time. Furthermore, you are not allowed to possess an explosive device for the purposes of using it against another person. It is important to note that not all guns are considered firearms, which means a person could theoretically own dozens of guns without running afoul of the law.
Examples of a First Degree Criminal Possession of a Weapon Charge
If a person owned 11 firearms that were stored at his or her home, that person would be guilty of criminal possession of a weapon in the first degree. Let’s assume that a police officer stops by his house to talk about a recent shooting or to ask questions about any other crime that he or she may have been a witness to.
If the officer can see the guns in plain view, he or she may have the right to search that person’s home. The officer may also have a right to search that person’s home if he or she has a warrant or otherwise has probable cause to conduct a search. The firearm owner could be guilty of the crime even if the guns were found during a search for something else in the house.
The person in possession of the guns could be charged even if they don’t belong to him or her. In many cases, an item belongs to whoever is found to be in possession or in control of the item even that person doesn’t know that it is there. For instance, a person may not have known that a friend hid a firearm in his or her garage or put it in his or her backpack without permission.
Defenses to the Charge
There are several defenses to the charge of first degree criminal possession of a weapon. First, it may be possible to argue that the weapons were found illegally because there was no probable cause to search for them. In some cases, a search warrant allows police to search in specific areas of a home or office.
If the firearms or explosive devices were found elsewhere, the evidence may need to be thrown out. In the event that a person is being forced to possess, sell or use a firearm or explosive device against his or her will, that could be enough to cast doubt on the charge against that person.
The first thing that anyone should do when facing a gun charge is to hire an attorney. Legal counsel may be able to help create a defense to the charge that may result in a plea bargain or the case being thrown out completely. Legal counsel may also protect an individual from having his or her rights violated by a police officer, prosecutor or anyone else representing the government. If a person’s right to due process is violated, that may be grounds to have a case thrown out.
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