JFK Airport Firearm Arrest Ends in Non Criminal Violation: Accused Avoids 3.5 to 15 Years on NY PL 265.03 Conviction

Who ever thought legally owning a firearm, licensed handgun, revolver or other pistol would land you in jail? Your airline carrier didn’t tell you when you called or searched online. JetBlue, Delta or American airlines didn’t stop you when you checked it before you flew into New York City. There was nothing on a website dedicated to LaGuardia or JFK Airports that properly advised you. Even the TSA website proved useless. Believing you were compliant with the criminal and firearm laws of New York State, what did you do? You got arrested for checking your broken down, unloaded firearm properly locked in a hard side case before boarding your flight home. Sadly, the nightmare began when the gate agent called the Port Authority Police, without giving you any indication of your wrongdoing, as you waited with friends or family to get your boarding pass. Never suspecting you would need a New York firearm attorney or New York criminal defense lawyer, your life went from being a “regular” person to an accused criminal arrested and charged with violating New York Penal Law 265.03. Twelve, fifteen or even twenty four hours after sitting in Central Booking, you finally saw a Criminal Court Judge in Queens count who may even have set bail on your charge of violating Second Degree Criminal Possession of a Weapon. Whether you were released or not, the three and one half to fifteen years you now face is rightfully terrifying.

The above scenario is unfortunately not atypical for many registered and legal firearm owners who visit New York State with their pistols, revolvers hand gun or similar weapon. Certainly, your Second Amendment right is very real and alive, but New York State strictly enforces the laws that require an out of state firearm owner to have the proper licenses, permits and registration within her borders. Fortunately for a recent client, the New York criminal defense attorneys and weapon possession lawyers at Crotty Saland PC secured a resolution that not only avoided incarceration, but both a felony and misdemeanor conviction. Simply, what was a life altering criminal offense was downgraded to a non-criminal violation after extensive materials and communications were provided to and had with the Assistant District Attorney prosecuting the case. Because this particular client had no criminal history, like most legal firearm owners who fly through JFK or LaGuardia Airports in Queens County (NYC), the client not only was able to keep a clean record, but the client was not terminated as a civilian pilot and contracted employee with the United States Air Force.

Other than a select few violent crimes, possessing an unregistered and loaded gun outside the walls of your home or place of business is one of the most serious crimes in the State of New York. In fact, while selling crack or heroin as a first time offender could be mitigated with judicial intervention or court programs, the law does not provide the same protection to out of state licensed firearm owners unaware of New York’s strict laws. Instead, if you are convicted there is no escaping the mandatory minimum prison sentence of three and one half years. “Choir Boy” or not, such incarceration is unavoidable if a judge or jury finds you guilty.

While no attorney can roll back time, in the event you plan on traveling to New York, think long and hard before taking your firearm. Even without that gun being loaded, it is still a crime if that firearm is not registered in New York or you do not have the proper license or permit to possess it in New York City. Keep in mind that under New York law, your firearm is still considered loaded, and therefore a more significant offense, even if the ammunition is not actually in the firearm and is secured outside it.

No New York criminal defense attorney or firearm lawyer can guarantee a particular result in an arrest for NY PL 265.03, Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree. Do past results point to a particular future outcome? Absolutely not. However, when searching for your counsel make sure he or she is able to identify and explain the materials and information he or she will need in order to put forth your best defense and greatest opportunity to avoid a criminal conviction. Assess your lawyer’s experience representing clients like you in PL 265.03 arrests. Never be afraid to ask questions. Will you avoid a criminal conviction or a “scarlet letter” hindering your career and future? Only time, and advocacy, will provide the answer to that.

To research New York firearm laws and crimes relating to Criminal Possession of a Weapon, review the links found in this entry or go directly to Crotty Saland PC’s New York Weapon Possession information page. There you will find analysis of New York’s criminal laws as they related to firearms as well as a link to relevant blog entries.

Founded by two former Manhattan Assistant District Attorneys and staffed by attorneys who served as prosecutors in The New York County District Attorney’s Office as well as the United States Attorney’s Office, Crotty Saland PC represents clients in weapon and firearm crimes throughout New York City and the region.

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