Possession of a weapon other than a gun is not necessarily a crime. However, if a person possesses a weapon with the intent to use it unlawfully, it is a violation of New York state law.
Under New York Penal Law, 265.01(2), a person may be charged with Possession of a Weapon in the Fourth Degree if he or she is in possession of a “dangerous or deadly instrument or weapon with intent to use (the weapon) unlawfully against another.” The law goes on to specify certain weapons that are presumptively illegal simply by being possessed.
A violation of P.L. 265.01(2) is a Class A misdemeanor. Penalties for a conviction of Criminal Possession of a Weapon with unlawful intent include up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000, as well as the confiscation and subsequent destruction of the weapon by law enforcement.
If you were arrested for criminal possession of a weapon with unlawful intent in Manhattan or any of the five boroughs of New York City, you should contact a criminal defense lawyer to assist you with the legal process. An attorney will be able to explain the charge and help you find the best possible resolution to your situation.
With Greco Neyland, PC, you will have a former prosecutor fighting on your behalf, so we know how the process works. We use our knowledge of criminal legal procedure to put our clients in the best possible to fight the charges. We represent clients in Manhattan (New York County), Brooklyn (Kings County), The Bronx, and all five boroughs of New York City. Call attorneys for weapon possession charges in New York City today at (212) 951-1300 to schedule a free consultation.
Sometimes common items not intended as weapons, such as a razor, can be used as a weapon. Other illegal items are designed to be weapons.
Under New York Penal Law, Part 3, Title P, Article 265.01(2), a person is guilty of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Fourth Degree (also known as CPW 4) when that person “knowingly possesses a dangerous or deadly instrument or weapon with the intent to use the same unlawfully against another.”
The statute lists the weapons that result in charges as a:
The items on the list above are considered “presumptive” in that their mere possession with knowledge and the intent to use them unlawfully is in itself a crime.
“The possession of any dagger, dirk, stiletto, dangerous knife or any other weapon, instrument, appliance or substance designed, made or adapted for use primarily as a weapon, is presumptive evidence of intent to use the same unlawfully against another” (N.Y. P.L. 265.15(4)).
The final entry on the list above could include almost anything. People have been convicted of Criminal Possession of a Weapon with Unlawful Intent in New York for possessing such items as a brick, a baseball bat, or a piece of broken glass.
Under the law, “possess” means to have physical possession or otherwise to exercise dominion or control over tangible property (N.Y. P.L. Part 1, Title A, Article 10.00(8)).
Possession may be “actual” or “constructive.” Actual possession occurs when the police discover a weapon on a person or his or her belongings and no one else has equal access to it. Constructive possession occurs when more than one person has access to a weapon, such as a weapon in a drawer or glove box of a vehicle when more than one person has access to it.
Two other important words in the statute are knowingly and intent. Under N.Y. P.L. Part 1, Title B, Article 15.05(2), a person “knowingly” possesses a weapon when that person is “aware” that he or she is in possession of that weapon.
“Intent” occurs when a person acts with intent to use a (specific weapon) unlawfully against another when his or her conscious objective or purpose is to use it unlawfully against another” (Criminal Jury Instructions 2d [NY] Penal Law § 265.01(2)).
In order for a defendant to found guilty of a charge of Criminal Possession of a Weapon with Unlawful Intent under N.Y. P.L. 265.10(2), a judge or jury must find that a person, committed the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
Criminal Possession of a Weapon with Intent to Use Unlawfully in the fourth degree is a Class A Misdemeanor in New York. A Class A misdemeanor is punishable upon conviction by:
The weapon will also be confiscated upon arrest and destroyed after a conviction.
Resources Related to Criminal Possession of a Weapon with Unlawful Intent
Jury Instructions for Criminal Possession of a Weapon with Intent to Use Unlawfully —Visit the website of the New York State Unified Court System to find the standard criminal jury instructions (CJI) for Penal Law Offenses including criminal possession of a weapon in the forth degree under Penal Law Section 265.01(2) for possession with intent to use at weapon unlawfully committed on or after November 1, 1988.
If you were arrested in New York City for Criminal Possession of a Weapon with Intent to Use Unlawfully under N.Y. P.L. § 265.01(2), you may need a lawyer to assist you and help you stay out of jail.
The skilled criminal defense attorneys at Greco Neyland, PC are experienced in defending charges of criminal possession of a weapon and will work with you from the start in the effort to maintain your freedom.
We serve clients throughout the five boroughs of New York City, including Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx. Contact the dedicated weapons lawyers at Greco Neyland, PC today by calling (212) 951-1300 to schedule a free consultation about your weapons charge.