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New York Penal Law § 265.35 – Prohibited Use of Weapons

Dedicated New York Criminal Defense Law Firm Aggressively Defending Clients Charged With Weapons Offenses

Under New York Penal Code § 265.35, Prohibited Use of Weapons is a catch-all offense that prohibits specific uses of weapons that are not punishable under other NY gun laws. A conviction for Prohibited Use of Weapons can be a Class A misdemeanor, Class E felony, or Class D felony depending on the subsection. New York gun laws are some of the most serious and complex in the nation.

The Elements of Prohibited Use of Weapons

Before a judge or jury can convict anyone of a crime, the government must prove each element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. There are three subsections under the Prohibited Use of Weapons statute, prohibiting the following acts:

  1. Hunting with a dangerous weapon in a county that is entirely within a single city;
  2. Discharging a loaded gun at an aircraft, train, or motor vehicle;
  3. Discharging a firearm or other weapon in a public place;
  4. Pointing a gun at another person without malice;
  5. Discharging a gun toward a person without malice; and
  6. Injuring another person by discharging a gun without malice.
Examples of Prohibited Use of Weapons

The various subsections of § 265.35 cover fairly specific acts, including:

  • Shooting a gun into the air in a public area;
  • Hunting with a dangerous weapon in Queens County;
  • Shooting a gun at a passing train; and
  • Recklessly discharging a firearm toward a crowd of people.
Related Offenses to NY Penal Law § 265.35

Often, prosecutors bring Prohibited Use of Weapons charges along with one or more of the following:

  • 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 purchase of a weapon - N.Y. Penal Law § 265.17
  • 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 firearm – N.Y. Penal Law § 265.01-B
What Are the Defenses to Prohibited Use of Weapons?

There are several defenses to the Prohibited Use of Weapons 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:

  • You discharged a weapon within the capacities of your official duties;
  • You accidentally discharged the weapon; or
  • You were acting in self-defense.
What Are the Penalties for Violating NY Penal Law § 265.35?

Prohibited Use of Weapons can be a Class A misdemeanor, Class E felony, or Class D felony. In New York, Class A misdemeanors carry a maximum sentence of up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Class E felonies are punishable by up to four years in jail and a fine of $5,000. Finally, Class D felonies carry a maximum penalty of up to seven years in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.

Speak With an Experienced New York Gun Crimes Lawyer to Get Started on Your Defense Today

If you’ve recently been charged with Prohibited Use of Weapons or other similar weapons charges, it is essential that you bring an experienced defense attorney onto your case as soon as possible. At the law firm of Tilem & Associates, P.C., our attorneys have decades of experience defending the rights of clients facing misdemeanor and felony weapons charges, minimizing the impact of our clients’ arrests on the rest of their lives. We are immediately available to meet with you to get started working on a compelling defense to the charges you face. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation today, call 877-377-8666. You can also reach us through our online contact form.

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