There are few things worse than believing you are compliant with the law, but quickly learning you are not. Even more concerning, when the crime involves the possession at an airport of a "loaded" firearm or gun that you believe is properly secured with the ammunition removed, things can look bleak very quickly. Unfortunately, this is the exact scenario a client of the New York criminal lawyers at Crotty Saland PC faced.
Our client, an individual involved in marketing with publicly known clients, had visited New York for only a few days. An avid sportsman, in terms of going to the range, our client brought his pistol to New York City during his stay. Although our client never used the weapon and kept it in a hard sided case with the ammunition stored separately inside, our client unwittingly violated New York Penal Law 265.03, Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree. In fact, while a reasonable person would believe he or she was in compliance with the law and kept the gun unloaded, the New York criminal law has much more liberal definition of when a weapon is armed. That is, if the weapon is capable of being loaded, such as where the bullets are in the same carrying case, the firearm is loaded for the purpose of a New York weapon arrest and prosecution. As a result, when our client checked his bags and notified airport staff at John F. Kennedy (JFK) Airport (the same would occur if this transpired at LaGuardia Airport) that he had an unloaded firearm, he was detained and arrested.
Despite the mandatory three and one half minimum term of prison that our client faced upon conviction of possessing a loaded gun without a New York permit at a NYC airport, we promptly appeared at our client's arraignment at 12:30 am. More importantly, despite the $15,000 bail request by prosecutors, our criminal lawyers secured our client's release without bail. Because there was no legal defense to the crime (remember, ignorance of the law is no defense and it is clear that the client did not have a license to carry a loaded firearm in New York despite his out of state permits), our criminal lawyers immediately implemented a mitigation defense.
Over the next few weeks and couple of months, Crotty Saland PC was able to secure a dismissal of the charges against our client. Queens prosecutors agreed to move (offer) our client an ACD where after six months of no new arrests the case would be dismissed and the record would be sealed. Certainly an atypical resolution, this disposition is one that Crotty Saland PC has obtained for multiple clients facing gun crimes in this jurisdiction in the past. While this particular result is no guarantee for future results, it is a testament to the diligence and effort put forth for our client's defense. Fortunately, our client will not have a criminal record and can walk away from a horrendous experience.
To educate yourself about the degrees and types of New York weapon crimes, follow this link or the link above. There you will find information on crimes ranging from switchblade and gravity knife possession to possessed of loaded guns at New York City airports and on the streets. Further, numerous blog entries found in the NewYorkCriminalLawyerBlog.Com will provide information on other statutes, legal decisions and case results. Sometimes, education is one's best defense.
Crotty Saland PC is a New York criminal defense firm representing clients in firearm cases throughout the New York City region. Prior to establishing the criminal defense practice, the two founding New York criminal lawyers at Crotty Saland PC served as Manhattan prosecutors.