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Fourth Degree Criminal Possession of a Weapon: NY Penal Law 265.01(2)

Each and every subsection of New York Penal Law 265.01, Fourth Degree Criminal Possession of a Weapon, has the same potential punishment and sentence. While additional crimes, both felonies and misdemeanors, will influence an offer from an Assistant District Attorney or judge, the cap on a conviction for PL 265.01(2) is one year in jail. Whether you live in or are visiting New York City, whether you are sentenced to a few days, a couple of months or one year, incarceration is on Rikers Island. If that isn’t reason enough to hire the best criminal lawyer for your Fourth Degree Criminal Possession of a Weapon arrest, then nothing will likely galvanize you to deal with your criminal case other than the fact that a weapon crime will no doubt negatively influence future employers, your immigration status and professional licensing.

Stepping back from the penalties, punishment and sentencing for a PL 265.01(2) arrest and conviction in NYC (or anywhere in New York State), before even addressing possible sentences you and your criminal lawyer must ascertain whether you committed the crime of Fourth Degree Criminal Possession of a Weapon. According to the New York Penal Law, you are guilty of PL 265.01(2) if you possess a dagger, dangerous knife, dirk, razor, stiletto, imitation pistol, or any other dangerous or deadly instrument or weapon and you do so with the intent to use it unlawfully against another person.

What should be clear with this particular subsection, as opposed to PL 265.01(1), is that the object or weapon you possess is not illegal by default. You would not violate the first subsection of Fourth Degree Criminal Possession of a Weapon in you had a razor or dangerous knife in your pocket or hand without any other conduct. Clearly, if a dagger or imitation pistol by itself would not violate PL 265.01(1), then how could you be arrested and charged with a crime for having a machete, screw driver, baseball bat, chair, iPhone or any other object?

New York Penal Law 10.00(12) and 10.00(13) defines “deadly weapon” and “dangerous weapon” respectively. A “deadly weapon” means any loaded weapon from which a shot that is readily capable of producing death or other serious physical injury may be discharged or any of the “per se” weapons listed in PL 265.01(1). A “dangerous instrument” is something quite different and is defined as any instrument, article, or substance which, under the circumstances it is used, attempted to be used or threatened to be used, is readily capable of causing death or other serious physical injury. Keeping this latter definition in mind, one can see how if used in a violent manner all of the instruments mentioned above and even others ranging from shoe laces to a bottle of wine, can be deemed a “dangerous instrument” in the eyes of the law.

If you are charged with a Fourth Degree Criminal Possession of a Weapon crime in New York pursuant to PL 265.01(2), it may seem excessive and flimsy or obvious and clear as well. Regardless, your defenses will likely share many similarities. Why didn’t the police recover the alleged dangerous instrument? Did you ever actually possess anything? What independent evidence exists you not only possessed some otherwise non-criminal instrument and threatened its use? More generally, can the police and prosecutors confirm and establish the legality of your arrest, search, seizure and any statements you made that might inculpate you further?

Whatever your best defense is, no matter whether you are charged in White Plains, Scarsdale, New City or Brewster or you find yourself sitting in a police precinct somewhere in Manhattan, Queens or Brooklyn, the crime you face and consequences you may have to deal with are not merely the same, but distressing as well.

Educate yourself. Get ready to fight for your rights and future. Find both the best defense and criminal lawyer to guide you through the system. Know that if you fail to take the proper steps today, you may compromise your ability to exculpate yourself or minimize the life altering ramifications of a criminal conviction.

Call us at 212.312.7129 or contact us online today to speak with our New York attorneys and former Manhattan prosecutors.

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