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Possession of Illegal or Unlicensed Firearms

Westchester County Attorneys Defending Against Gun Crime Charges

While gun regulations vary widely from state to state, New York law is particularly strict and carries some of the harshest penalties for the possession of illegal or unlicensed firearms. If you have been arrested for possessing an unlicensed firearm, you have the right to hire a capable Westchester County gun crime lawyer to help you fight the charges against you. At Tilem & Associates, our legal team can represent people throughout the New York City area from our office in White Plains. We are committed to seeking a fair outcome in your criminal case, as well as aggressively protecting your interests during the proceedings.

Understanding the Charge of Possession of an Illegal or Unlicensed Firearm

New York state gun laws cover the sale, purchase, possession, and registration of firearms and the licensing of gun owners. These laws are fact-specific and intricate, designed to cover a range of scenarios. The legal requirements for buying and carrying handguns, such as pistols and revolvers, are typically more restrictive than those for rifles and shotguns. Moreover, gun laws in New York City and certain other cities are generally more stringent than state laws. Visitors may be unaware that a handgun properly registered in their home state may constitute a felony offense if it is carried in New York City. Even some New York residents may not realize that carrying a licensed firearm in certain places, such as on school grounds, may also be a crime. With these considerations in mind, it is important to be aware of the regulations that apply to you and every firearm that you have when you are in New York.

Under New York law, criminal possession of a firearm occurs when a person possesses any firearm that is not licensed or registered. A person commits criminal possession of a weapon if they are not properly licensed to carry the particular gun, or if they are not legally allowed to carry any firearm, due to a prior felony conviction or other legal reasons. In addition, it is illegal to carry certain types of automatic firearms, as well as any firearm that has been defaced to hide or change its serial or identification numbers. These crimes are generally strict liability offenses, meaning that it does not matter whether you understood the law or intended to break the law by possessing the illegal or unlicensed firearm.

In almost every case, these offenses are classified as felonies. The charges generally will be enhanced if certain factors are present, such as if the defendant has a previous criminal history or if the firearm was used in the commission of another crime. The penalties for a felony conviction for possession of an illegal or unlicensed firearm usually involve mandatory minimum prison or jail sentences. In light of the extensive penal code surrounding gun registration and ownership in New York, an experienced criminal defense lawyer can provide more information regarding the applicable laws after learning the details of your case.

Develop a Defense Strategy Against the Prosecution

Before you may be convicted of criminal possession of a firearm, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the crime alleged. This is a heavy burden for the prosecution, and defense strategies often center around insufficient evidence and lack of proof. A defense attorney may cross-examine the arresting officer and other witnesses, as well as offering evidence that undermines the prosecution’s theory of the case.

If the defendant’s constitutional rights were violated by police before or after an arrest or interrogation, the defense would ask the court to forbid the state from using evidence procured as a result of that violation at trial. For example, an illegal search of your home by police may be grounds to suppress evidence of an unlicensed gun that they discovered in the search. It is important to relate all of the facts surrounding your arrest to your attorney so that these types of violations are identified and used in your defense.

Discuss Your Case with a Gun Crime Lawyer in Westchester County or Beyond

A felony gun charge may have a significant effect on your personal and professional lives. Take action to defend yourself against a conviction with the help of the Westchester County attorneys at Tilem & Associates. Our skilled weapons violation lawyers can devote the time and resources needed to craft a defense strategy or seek a favorable plea deal from the prosecution. In addition to residents of Westchester County, we can also represent people in the Bronx and Queens, as well as in Kings, Richmond, Rockland, Nassau, Suffolk, and Putnam Counties. Schedule a free initial consultation online or by calling 877-377-8666.