New York Penal Law § 265.01-B – Criminal Possession of a Firearm
Criminal Possession of a Firearm is the New York law that enforces the state’s firearm registration requirements. Essentially, the government uses the offense to punish those who carry an unlicensed handgun or another weapon that qualifies as a firearm. Criminal Possession of a Firearm is codified in New York Penal Law § 265.01-B and is a Class E felony.The Elements of Criminal Possession of a Firearm
If you’ve been arrested for a crime, you can’t be found guilty unless and until the prosecution process each element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. The elements of Criminal Possession of a Firearm are:
- The defendant possessed a firearm;
- The defendant knowingly had the gun in their possession;
- The weapon was operable; and
- The defendant failed to register the firearm.
Section 265.01-B also applies to those who purchased a firearm before New York lawmakers passed the current registration requirement in 2013, provided the prosecution can prove that the defendant knowingly failed to register the firearm.Examples of Criminal Possession of a Firearm
Criminal Possession of a Firearm is one of those laws that people violate every day without knowing it. In fact, the majority of arrests are of lawful gun owners who are simply unfamiliar with New York gun laws. A few examples of conduct that violates § 265.01-B include:
- Lawfully purchasing a firearm before the registration requirements changed and then failing to register the firearm under the 2013 law;
- Transporting a firearm while driving through New York on your way to another state;
- Checking a firearm at an airport in another state when flying into New York; and
- Possessing an unlicensed firearm in your own home.
Often, prosecutors bring Criminal Possession of a Firearm charges along with one or more of the following:
- Criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree - N.Y. Penal Law § 265.01
- Criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree - N.Y. Penal Law § 265.02
- Criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree - N.Y. Penal Law § 265.03
- Unlawful possession of weapons by persons under sixteen - N.Y. Penal Law § 265.05
- Criminal possession of a weapon in a restricted location- N.Y. Penal Law § 265.01-D
- Criminal possession of a weapon on school grounds - N.Y. Penal Law § 265.01-A
- Criminal possession of a rapid-fire modification device - N.Y. Penal Law § 265.01-C
- Criminal purchase of a weapon - N.Y. Penal Law § 265.17
There are several defenses to Criminal Possession of a Firearm that can either reduce your sentencing exposure or result in the prosecution withdrawing the case against you or the jury returning a “not guilty” verdict. The most common defenses include the following:
- The weapon was an “antique” firearm, as defined in N.Y. Penal Law § 265(17);
- Police officers found the firearm after an illegal search or traffic stop;
- The weapon was a replica;
- The firearm was not operational; and
- You did not know you were in possession of a firearm.
Criminal Possession of a Firearm is a Class E felony. In New York, Class E felony offenses carry a maximum sentence of up to four years in jail and a fine of up to $5,000. Additionally, because illegally possessing a firearm is a “Serious Offense” under N.Y. Penal Law § 265(17), a conviction will result in the loss of your right to own a firearm. However, you may be able to restore your gun rights, depending on the circumstances.Get Started on Your Defense By Consulting with Our Experienced New York Criminal Defense Attorneys
At Tilem & Associates, P.C., we have seen too many good people charged with Criminal Possession of a Firearm simply because they didn’t know that what they were doing was against the law. While lack of knowledge isn’t a defense, we have extensive experience highlighting the unfairness of these prosecutions when negotiating with prosecutors. We have also successfully kept our client’s firearms out of evidence by litigating motions to suppress based on illegal searches and seizures. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation today, call 877-377-8666. You can also reach us through our online contact form.