The New York Penal Code comes complete with a number of provisions dealing with the possession of weapons. In this regard, criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree represents one of the least serious of all weapons possession statutes on the books in New York. A person convicted of criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree will have a misdemeanor on his or her record.
There are six general circumstances in which a person faces the prospect of being charged with criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree. First, a person can be charged with this crime is he or she possesses a deadly weapon, like a razor or dagger, and has an intent to use it unlawfully against another individual. In other words, a person must both possess the dangerous item and have a formed intent to use it unlawfully.
A person can be charged with criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree if previously convicted of a felony and possesses a muzzle loading gun. If a person possesses a dangerous or deadly weapon and is not a U.S. citizen, he or she can be charged with criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree.
A person previously directed to turn weapons over to legal authorities, and has failed to do so, can be charged with this crime. Possessing armor-piercing rounds for an unlawful purposes can result in being charged with this misdemeanor. Similarly, a person in possession of rounds containing an explosive substance can be charged with this crime.
An example of conduct that violates this law can involve a person who has been deemed mentally unfit to own or possess a dangerous weapon. The individual was directed to turn over a weapon to law enforcement, and yet failed to do so. He or she can be charged with criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree.
Another example illustrates the operation of the law. Police are dispatched to a domestic disturbance call. While at the residence, one of the residents produces a semi-automatic weapon for which he or she does not have lawful authorization to possess, although the individual did have such authority at one time. This would represent a situation in which a charge of criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree is possible.
Sentence for Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Fourth Degree
Because criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree is a misdemeanor, a person convicted of the crime can be sentenced up to one year in jail. Probation is another sentencing alternative, and possible if a person has no significant prior criminal records.
Defenses for Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Fourth Degree
There are a number of defenses that a skilled, experienced NYC criminal lawyer can assert in a criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree case. One defense is demonstrating that a person lacked the specific intent to use a particular weapon in an unlawful manner.
If the weapon was discovered via some sort of search, a possible defense is that the search was not conducted appropriately, was not conducted in a constitutional manner. The net effect of this defense could be a dismissal of a case.
A seasoned New York criminal defense attorney will discuss potential defenses during an initial consultation. In addition, legal counsel will answer any questions a person has during this preliminary appointment. These is no charge for an initial consultation in a criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree case.
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