Criminal Possession of a Firearm in the First Degree: NY Penal Law § 265.04

by ECL Writer
Washington State New Gun Law

New York State’s criminal justice system takes weapons possession offenses very seriously, and Criminal Possession of a firearm in the First Degree is one of the most severe crimes a person can be charged with. This offense is classified as a Class B violent felony, and those found guilty of this offense can face significant prison time and fines. In this article, Eastcoastlaws.com will explore what constitutes Criminal Possession of a firearm in the First Degree in New York State, the potential penalties for a conviction, and the legal defenses that a person may be able to use to fight these charges. We will also examine some of the factors that can influence the severity of the charges and penalties, including the type of weapon involved, the offender’s prior criminal history, and the specific circumstances of the alleged offense. If you or someone you know is facing charges of Criminal Possession of a firearm in the First Degree in New York, it is crucial to understand the charges and penalties fully and to seek the advice of an experienced criminal defense attorney.

In New York, offenses involving weapons are rigorously pursued, and this is especially true if there are claims of bomb plots or the presence of numerous firearms. A skilled attorney who can sort through the charges and handle whatever media attention the case generates should mount a defense against a first-degree criminal possession of a weapon charge.

First-Degree Criminal Possession of a Firearm

Criminal possession of a firearm in the first degree is not frequently charged in New York, but it is nevertheless a serious felony with severe penalties. Charges under the law may result from one of two circumstances. First, an explosive device such as a bomb is used. When someone intentionally owns an explosive material with the intent to use it illegally against someone or anything, that is considered criminal possession of a weapon in the first degree. An explosive material can be a bomb, an incendiary or explosive device, or anything else that has the potential to go off and kill or injure people. Further terrorism-related or federal weapons charges may follow from having a bomb or other highly explosive item in your possession.

If the prosecution establishes beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant intentionally had the explosive without a license or other authorization, the jury may infer that the defendant intended to use the explosive substance unlawfully against another person or another person’s property. Yet that conclusion need not be reached by the jury. Presenting evidence to refute the defendant’s knowledge, intent, or possession of the explosive substance could be part of a defense plan. Any police misbehavior, such as an unlawful search or seizure, may be disputed by the defense attorney.

Consciously possessing 10 or more firearms is illegal according to the second section of the law on criminal possession of a firearm in the first degree. Any handgun, revolver, sawed-off shotgun, or rifle is considered a firearm, as are some semi-automatic weapons and other assault weapons. In essence, the rule targets those who have an excessive number of firearms in their possession without a permit, including unlicensed gun dealers. If the defendant in these situations does not have a license or authorization to possess a firearm, or if any of the firearms are not registered, they may also be charged with criminal possession of an illegal or unlicensed firearm.

The burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant knew he or she was in possession of 10 or more weapons lies with the prosecution in order to get a conviction. In order to prove that a defendant was in possession of a firearm, the prosecution must show that they had physical control of it or the ability to use it. But, in some cases, the prosecution may assert constructive or presumptive possession in order to name additional defendants. Additionally, the prosecution must show that at least 10 of the weapons were functional and able to discharge rounds.

In New York, first-degree criminal possession of a firearm is a class B felony. If you are found guilty, you will be subject to a mandatory minimum penalty of five years in jail as well as a potential maximum sentence of 25 years. The required minimum sentence may be longer than five years if you have a criminal history. Moreover, a $30,000 fine is an option. You will lose several of your civil rights after being convicted of a felony, including the ability to vote and possess firearms.

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