Second Degree Criminal Possession of a Weapon: NY Penal Law 265.03
Ask any New York firearm defense lawyer from Manhattan and Brooklyn to Queens and Westchester County. There are few criminal charges less forgiving and more aggressively enforced than Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree pursuant to New York Penal Law 265.03. Sometimes referred to as “CPW 2,” Second Degree Criminal Possession of a Weapon is ruthless in its application and the potential impact upon conviction is devastating. The law is, and your understanding should be, abundantly clear. If you are convicted of this class “C” violent felony your sentencing judge in a New York City Supreme Court or a County Court anywhere in Hudson Valley can incarcerate you for up to fifteen years with no discretion to drop below three and half. What is the most frightening consequence of a New York PL 265.03 conviction is that this type of sentence assumes you have absolutely no criminal history in any capacity prior to your arrest for Second Degree Criminal Possession of a Weapon.
Before addressing the elements of illegally possessing a loaded firearm in New York State, pay close attention to the following. If you have a permit out of state and possess that revolver or pistol in New York City or State without the necessary permit in this jurisdiction, barring a very rare exception, you are subject to PL 265.03 and the harsh sentencing laws. Yes, you may have been unaware of the New York Penal Law or SAFE Act when you visited family in New York State, but in the eyes of the law you are no less guilty of this crime if you purchased your firearm on the street or you legally obtained your sidearm and the police arrested you after you tried to declare your pistol before boarding your plane home at JFK or LaGuardia Airport.
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A person is guilty of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree pursuant to New York Penal Law 265.03(3) when that person possesses a loaded firearm (pistol, revolver, handgun, etc.) outside his or her home or place of business without a permit or license regardless of how he or she intended to use the weapon. If that was not clear enough, let’s run through that once again. If you possess your duly licensed and loaded pistol from Maine, Texas, Florida, California or New Jersey in New York State or New York City without a license here, expect the NYPD, Port Authority Police or any other law enforcement agency to arrest you upon learning of your possession. What makes matters worse for those who believe New York has run afoul of the Second Amendment, is that under the laws of New York, "loaded" does not mean a clip in the gun or a bullet in the chamber. If the firearm is capable of being loaded and the ammunition is in the case with the firearm, or even in your pocket, the District Attorney of New York, Queens, Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx or any other county can still charge you on a felony complaint and present your case to a Grand Jury to secure an indictment. Even if there is no ammunition, you are not free from felony prosecution. While you may be able to avoid an indictment for Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree, prosecutors will be at the ready to charge you with the felony of Criminal Possession of a Firearm.
Have no misgivings. Petrifying a CPW 2 arrest may be, but by no means does that mean all is lost. Does your criminal lawyer have the grounds to suppress the search of your person or vehicle? Maybe the NYPD unlawfully took your statement? Is the firearm actually operable? If nothing else, can you mitigate your conduct and exposure? At bottom, with you career, livelihood and freedom all at stake, it is imperative to explore all viable defenses.
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The New York firearm attorneys at Crotty Saland PC are by no means apologists for those seeking to actively hurt others, but the role of our criminal lawyers and former Manhattan prosecutors is to represent you to the best of our ability regardless of the crimes you face and the veracity of the same. Whether your arrest is a result of a misunderstanding of the New York Penal Law, the police are relying on a legal presumption or your constructive possession of a firearm in a car with other passengers or some other set of allegations, never forget that when your life and future is on the line there is no substitute for experience, knowledge and advocacy.
Call the New York City weapon crimes lawyers and former Manhattan prosecutors at (212) 312-7129 or contact us online today.