New York Gun and Weapons Lawyers
Santana Law Firm is a leading New York City criminal law firm representing clients charged with gun crimes, weapons crimes, and other related felonies and misdemeanors. Led by a former Brooklyn prosecutor, the firm has more than two decades of experience helping clients defeat charges and avoid incarceration.
Although the 2nd Amendment gives citizens the right to possess guns, states can put limits on that possession—and perhaps no other state has more complex gun laws than New York. On top of that, New York City has its own harsh firearm rules and penalties specific to the five boroughs. Similarly, NYC has strict rules for the use and possession of knives and other potentially deadly weapons.
Being charged with a firearm or weapons offense is serious. Penalties can be severe even if you have a license to carry in another state; even if you haven’t harmed anyone; and even if you were just in a car with someone carrying a weapon. A possible prison sentence is not something you want to leave up to chance.
However, a weapons charge does not have to lead to jail time and a criminal record. Santana Law Firm has helped hundreds of people beat unfounded and unfair gun and weapons charges. Our team of lawyers has a deep understanding of NYC’s complicated and often unfair gun laws and penalties—and a deep understanding of the strategies that can help you escape those penalties.
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New York City Gun Laws
New York State Penal Law Section 265 lists the guns and firearms that are subject to regulation. This list includes:
New York City has exceptionally strict gun laws, even stricter than the rest of New York State. It is extremely difficult to obtain a permit to buy a gun, let alone a permit to carry a concealed gun within the five boroughs. Open carry is illegal throughout New York State. In almost all cases, it is illegal for gun owners to carry firearms or ammunition in or out of the city, even if you have a license from upstate or another state.
Even if you have a license in another state, if you enter New York City with a firearm or ammunition, you are subject to its laws. People are frequently arrested for weapons possession at LaGuardia Airport, JFK Airport, Port Authority Bus Terminal, and other entry points to NYC for carrying guns and ammo without understanding the city’s stringent laws. It is not uncommon for travelers to be wrongfully arrested for possession of a weapon even if they are in full compliance with federal law.
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Weapons Possession in NYC
Many weapons charges do not just apply to guns, but to knives, swords, clubs, and other items. Although NYC does allow for the possession and carry of some types of knives, they must be concealed, and the blade cannot be more than 4 inches. Additionally, it is illegal to carry weapons in subway stations, on the train, on busses, or in/on any other MTA property.
Devices that are illegal to possess and/or carry publicly in NYC include:
Simply the possession of some of these items, even if you do not use them, is enough to receive up to a year of jail time.
Additionally, any item can be considered an illegal weapon if it is intentionally used to harm or threaten another person. Under these circumstances, the use of an everyday item such as a fork, bottle, or rock can lead to a weapons charge.
Criminal Charges for Weapons and Firearms Possession
Weapons and gun charges can be misdemeanors or felonies depending on the type of weapon involved; where you were arrested; whether the weapon was being used or simply in your possession; whether the gun was loaded or not; and whether you have a previous criminal record. Misdemeanors are less severe and, in some cases, may require only probation and payment of a fine. Felonies, especially violent felonies, are the most severe crimes with the harshest penalties.
Common weapons charges in NYC include:
Penalties for Gun Possession and Other Weapons Crimes
In many weapons cases, prison sentences are mandatory for both first-time offenders and defendants with prior criminal histories. The most serious felonies may come with determinant sentences, meaning that if you are convicted, the court must sentence you to a minimum sentence that cannot be reduced under any circumstances.
Typical sentences for gun and weapons charges include:
- Class B Felony: 1 to 3 years in prison, with a maximum of 25 years
- Class C Felony: Probation or a maximum of 15 years in prison
- Class D Felony: Probation or a maximum of 7 years in prison
- Class A Misdemeanor: Up to 1 year in jail and/or up to 3 years of probation
- Class B Misdemeanor: Up to 3 months in jail and/or up to 1 year of probation
The use of a weapon during another alleged crime can also “enhance” your sentence and turn a non-violent felony into a more serious violent felony. For example, a charge of robbery (a non-violent felony) typically comes with a 1-to-3-year prison sentence. If a loaded firearm was used during the robbery (a violent felony), it could result in a determinant 5-year prison sentence. Even pretending you have a weapon (when you don’t) can lead to enhanced sentences.
Defending Yourself Against Criminal Charges
The best way to defend yourself against weapons charges is to contact a lawyer as soon as possible. There is always a way to challenge criminal charges, and an experienced criminal defense attorney will begin working immediately to identify the best defense for your circumstances.
Common defenses to weapons and gun charges include:
You did not intend to fire the weapon, nor were you acting negligently.
You had a reasonable belief that you or another person was in imminent danger of grave injury, and you took measures to protect yourself. Note that NY is not a “stand your ground” state, which means lethal force is only legal under specific circumstances.
You did not know the weapon was on your person, in your car, or on your property, and therefore you did not actually possess it.
The police illegally searched you or your property without a warrant or probable cause. Any evidence found during an illegal search may be suppressed and cannot be used against you in court.
Charges may be dismissed or reduced if police engaged in wrongful or illegal behavior, such as racial profiling or false arrest, or the police manipulated you into committing a crime you would not have otherwise.
Charges and sentences may be dismissed or reduced if the prosecutor tries to sway the jury to wrongfully convict you or impose a too-harsh penalty.
NYC’s Top Weapons and Ammunition Lawyers
Being accused of possession, sale, or use of a deadly weapon is overwhelming, and with good reason: these crimes are usually felonies that can lead to years of prison time. Without the help of a lawyer who is skilled at the defense of weapons crimes, it is highly unlikely that anyone can beat this type of charge.
Santana Law Firm founder Jaime Santana has more than two decades of legal experience, first as a Brooklyn prosecutor and then as a criminal defense attorney. He and his team will fight to minimize the damage of a criminal charge and reduce your chances of being incarcerated, whether that means proceeding to trial, negotiating a plea deal, or getting charges dropped entirely. With extensive experience handling gun cases of all kinds, from all angles, Santana Law Firm can help you get your life back.
Contact our office today for a confidential case evaluation, and we will start working immediately to preserve your innocence.