The NY Misdemeanor Weapon Charges & Crimes

Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Fourth Degree is considered a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail regardless if you were arrested in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Westchester County or Queens. There are two primary versions of this crime that most New York criminal lawyers handle. The first is the per se offense, by which possessing a weapon is automatically a crime, regardless of how the owner intends to use it. The second occurs when an object is used as a weapon, whether or not the object would otherwise be considered a weapon.

Switchblades and Gravity Knives - New York Penal Law 265.01 (1)

If you are found to be in possession of a switchblade knife or gravity knife (a knife that snaps open using the force of gravity) – even if you are using the knife purely for work purposes or for self-defense – you may be charged with CPW 4, pursuant to New York Penal Law 265.01 (1). The same charge applies to blackjacks, billies, bludgeons, metal knuckles and metal knuckle knives, sand bags and sand clubs, electronic stun or dart guns, chucka sticks, shirken, slingshots, slungshots, pilum ballistic knives and “Kung Fu stars.” For further definitions of some of these items, see below.

"With intent to use" – New York Penal Law 265.01 (2)

The second statute of CWP 4 deals with the intent to use dangerous or deadly instruments against another person unlawfully. Although the statute specifically mentions razors, daggers, stilettos and fake pistols, this statute is more about the intended usage than the actual weapon in question. It also applies to any object or instrument that is used as a weapon. You may be arrested or receive a Desk Appearance Ticket (DAT) for this crime if you are accused of assaulting or threatening another person with an instrument that could cause harm. A broken bottle, baseball bat or piece of rebar, for example, if used in a threatening or assaulting manner, could fall under this statute.

Additional statutes – New York Penal Law 265.01 (3-8)

Although they are less commonly used, the other statutes of this charge are all considered Class A misdemeanors punishable by up to a year in jail. They include the possession of:

  • A firearm on the grounds of an educational institution without the written permission of the institution.
  • A rifle or shotgun, if the person has been convicted of a felony or has been certified by a physician to be unable to possess a firearm.
  • A "dangerous or deadly weapon," if the person is not a U.S. citizen.
  • A bullet that contains a substance designed to explode on impact.
  • Armor-piercing ammunition, if the person intends to use it against another person unlawfully.

Our law firm serves clients in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens and Westchester County. Call us at 212.312.7129 or contact us online today to speak with our New York attorneys and former Manhattan prosecutors about misdemeanor weapon crimes.

In depth information on weapon crimes, statutes and laws is located on Crotty Saland PC's New York Criminal Lawyer Blog and its weapon crime section.